Sunday, July 25, 2021

The first game for the men's team of USA Water Polo, and it was a nail biter!

Today was the first game for the men of USA Water Polo as they took on the home Japanese team. It was much closer than I and many other people thought it would be, with the Japanese taking a three goal lead mid way through the game, only to have the Americans make a big comeback in the 4th period. 

I shot this image before the game started, using the still water of the pool for some reflection at the bottom of the frame.

Unlike the women's team, the men have a tradition of grouping up in the middle of the pool for a pre-game talk. I liked this shot with the goaltender, Drew Holland relaxed and smiling.

They started off a little rusty, but so did I. I forgot that the settings on my camera that I use for the women's game do not work for the men's game. Why? Because the men come up higher out of the pool, and so I need to shoot servo focus with the focal point lower on the camera. This allows me to capture the athletes in focus, but also gives me head-room for when they come high out of the water and raise their hand with the ball.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, there are come challenges photographing in this venue, but overall the lighting is quite good, with nice backlighting on the water.

Ben Hallock peeking out over the water.

When photographing the Olympics, I try to get low enough to include the logos in the background. Let's face it, if I captured tight images of the athletes with only the pool showing, this could be any other tournament. 

I have photographed many water polo games in the past 8 years and it never ceases to amaze me, the power of their legs to kick themselves so high out of the water.

Look everyone, it is the headless water polo player. This made me laugh when I saw it on my computer screen. But I know that this is Hannes Daube because of the tattoo on his right arm.

I love shooting this sport with the Canon 200-400mm lens, because I can zoom way in for tight shots, but also pull back and get wide shots like this.

Marko Vavic coming high out of the water. It is situations like this where I need that focal point low and I need to zoom out enough to catch the people and the ball in the shot.

When shooting for the team, I don't just look for images of them passing or shooting, I try to follow ALL the action, even with the team coming up the pool on the attack.

I am really lucky to be shooting with these newer Canon mirrorless cameras with super fast frame rates. This allows me to capture more high-quality images than ever before. It was a split second where the water curled off of the ball right into the Olympic Rings. (It also means that I have a ton more images to go through once the game is complete, but I am OK with that if it means that I have more good photos for the team.) I ended up taking more than 2000 images from today's game. Crazy, but true!

Drew Holland started off a little rusty in net, being tested with a lot of penalty shots. But he warmed up later in the game, coming up with some clutch saves at the end.

Here is Alex Obert taking a hard shot at the Japanese goal.

Here is a photo of Drew making a save with his head at the very end of the game.

The team came back from the 3 goal deficit and ended up winning 15 to 13, and the guys on the bench were excited for the first win of these games.

Right now, I am in a press bus heading to the USA vs France basketball game. (Yay for Wi-Fi on all press buses!) Partly for fun, and I may even take some photos. I will let you know.


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David Newey said...

Great work, thank you for taking the time to post.

Namiddum said...

Thanks for your insight and coverage again!

I hope the games continue to work in your favor.

Chuck said...

Love your coverage. Sharing your blog with my entire photo club. Thanks for doing this.