First – my apologies. I know that I have been neglecting this blog in favor of Facebook (and most recently, Twitter). However, I had was presented with an interesting and exciting photographic opportunity this past weekend, namely Synchronized Swimming. Having been a swimmer for ten-plus years, I had always known that synchro was a challenge, and that when perfected, had the potential to be thrilling and majestic. So when I was approached by a father on the local team (known as the Serinas) about possibly shooting their two day indoor invitational, I said yes immediately.
I was not too worried about the indoor venue, as it was the same indoor pool that I shot a three-day competitive swim meet at a few weeks ago. What I didn’t know anything about was synchronized swimming. I did some online research about it, and surprisingly, the results were rather bare. So I set out to go shoot a couple of the Serinas’ practices a couple evenings, both with and without flash. I began to work out the angles I wanted to shoot, the timing for lifts, throws, and jumps, and I got feedback from parents so that I knew to focus on faces rather than the fine-art-esque shots of legs and flips.
Once at the meet, I was rather dismayed to be told that I could not use flash during the actual routines, as it is apparently against USASynchro’s rules. That being said, having shot in the venue before was a confidence booster. I still took every opportunity to use flash and a lower ISO that I could. I flashed during their pre-routine warm-ups, and I flashed before every routine while the girls were standing on the side of the pool. All in all, over the course of three days, I burned through twelve AA batteries (three flashes worth).
Then I had to cull through and edit all the images. This is the least fun and most time consuming part of photography for me. However, I am attempting to make the switch from iPhoto to the more flexible, powerful, and professional Lightroom. Lightroom was actually a life-saver this weekend, because I could set pre-sets for all of the possible lighting situations that I might encounter indoors. My only reservation about editing was that about halfway through the weekend I decided that the blue channels weren’t saturated to my liking (very important to resaturate images when you’re shooting in RAW), but I had already shared a good number of images onto Shutterfly. Live and learn. I will remember to program the presets accordingly next time. The only other odd thought I had over the weekend was that on Saturday I was getting well-exposed images with the camera set to 1/500s, f/2.8, and ISO 3200, but on Sunday, I needed to pump the ISO to 4000 to get the exposure I wanted. I’ve realized the necessity for bravery at high ISOs, because at about ISO 2000 on my camera, you start to get grain if you push the file in-post, but if you over-expose to maintain detail, you can usually smooth out the grain, and get higher-quality pictures, which was something I noticed towards the end of Saturday (I probably could’ve shot a higher ISO that is). All that being said, it just reaffirms my desire to get either a full-frame DSLR for the better low-light images, or a longer lens so I can shoot without worry of potentially having to crop later.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience getting to shoot a sport so full of passion, and athleticism, and it was also an educational opportunity as shooting sports and/or in low-light always is. If you get a moment, please take a chance and check out the link below and consider purchasing a few pictures to support the Tallahassee Serinas.