Thoughts from the 2015 Mac Meet

When Ms. Maggie first asked me to photograph the Mac Meet and possibly donate part of what I made to the Mac Crutchfield Foundation, I did not hesitate to say yes. I would’ve gone to shoot anyways and now this just gave me even more reason to shoot around coaching sessions! I was a little nervous however. Photographing sports in low light is challenging for even the best photographers with pro gear: balancing exposure and stop-action with image quality is a constant battle between you, your equipment, and the available light.

Having shot the FSU v UF meet from the grand stands in the Leach Center, and then a little bit from back on the pool deck where I wouldn’t get seen and ejected, I knew roughly what settings I wanted to use. However, I still wasn’t happy with those pictures…they were too dark and they were grainy. But as I practiced a little more, I got more confident shooting without burst so I could nail focus, and when I nailed focus, I found that the pictures appeared less noisy! In addition, when you can move around freely on deck, you can fill the frame so that cropping ceases to become necessary, and image quality degrades even less.

AF-S 80-200 f/2.8 wide open, 1/640s, and ISO 3200 were my primary action settings, and I was pretty doggone happy with the results. Not amazing, but fairly good! Of course, not nearly as good as the daytime outdoor shots around f/3.2-3.5, 1/4000s, and low ISOs, but overall it pleased the parents and the swimmers, and that’s all one can ask for when pushing the settings on one’s gear.

I haven’t sas many photos as I thought I would, but on the upside, I think I will get to shoot an upcoming synchro meet inside at the same pool, and I will be prepared with a vendor’s agreement so that I can promote myself even better.

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