Sports photography is simultaneously something I loathe and enjoy. It is a frustrating process of anticipating movement and quickly adapting to changing conditions. The process relies heavily on instinct because there is no time for thinking a shot through. I must survey my environment before the action, determine lighting and from there set the aperture and shutter keeping in mind that to freeze a runner in relay or dash requires higher than 1/250 of a second. These are the aspects I dislike, but the challenge is what I like.
My first sports event was the Sertoma Classic last August, and though I fought with my camera, fell victim to an out of bounds tackle, and felt distant from the subjects in image, I thought for an initial venture it went pretty well. Basketball was worse; so much so that those pictures have remained hidden from public domain. And this past weekend, I was assigned track and field at the Sandlapper Classic hosted by West Ashley High School.
I was excited to photograph pole vaulting, hurdles, and high jumps, but of course complications arose. I was there to photograph the Wild Cats, but I discovered that some events held preliminary rounds, meaning in some cases, no Wild Cats participating or that perhaps no one on the team participated in those events. Another issue was just finding the Wild Cats. Usually, I can spot them due to their royal purple uniforms, except two other teams had the same hue and the Wild Cats’ A and B team had different lettering on their jerseys. By the end of it, I was a bit frustrated having only relay, dash, and stretching images from their team. Though I submitted 50 images to the publication, my favorites may never be published since they’re of other teams.
Though sports photography is high paced and requires quick action, a part of me likes the challenge of achieving good images in tricky or more complex settings and circumstances. I never want to crumble under the pressure of environmental changes in the midst of shooting, and feel that revisiting this type of photography will assist in strengthening my adaptability and confidence in my photography instincts.