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Old 18th of July 2006 (Tue)   #1
staereo
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Default Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

I will be shooting a swim meet, and it will be outdoors. I was curious if I should bother with a circular polarizer, as I will be using lenses which have front elements that turn with focusing. Should I not bother with the polarizer for fear of missed shots?

Any idea of a good shutter speed to shoot swimming. Is 1/500 fast enough to stop water, or should I go even faster for that effect?

Any clue on good areas to find a spot? It seems most people choose a pool end, but I would wonder if certain types of strokes would be better shot from the side, like freestyle?

Do people tend to enjoy images taken of off-action moments in swimming?

Thanks in advance for your time in answering any of these questions, or any tips outside of my questions, having to do with captureing swimming.

Bruce
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Old 18th of July 2006 (Tue)   #2
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

1) Go try it and decide what you like for yourself.
2) See #1.
3) See #2.
4) Ask your customer.
5) No problem
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Old 18th of July 2006 (Tue)   #3
staereo
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim
1) Go try it and decide what you like for yourself.
2) See #1.
3) See #2.
4) Ask your customer.
5) No problem
Bleh.. what i'd like is a better lens, but my wallet seems to never keep my money away from my bills.

The answers would be easy if I had better glass.... I'm just concerned of my delay in fiddling with a circ pol would sacrifice moments that would outweight the nicer images found by using one.

Furthermore, I'm concerned about having to resort to noisier images to achieve an acceptable image using a telephoto with water.

I havent done swimming before. It is an informal job, being done for a friend as a mutually beneficial experience. I get to put some time under my belt at the pool, and he gets to have a photographer at his meets. The images will be available for prints at a discounted rate (being im new to swimming, or any watersports), and small web images available for download with my watermark. So it's not like I'm trying to make money off of this shoot.

I was more or less hoping to just put some time in... But I would like to get a little advice before stepping into the shallow end....

And Im about 2 or 3 months out from a 70-200 2.8L. So I was hoping someone may have thoughts on dealing with my current situation with my less than spectacular lens.

Bruce
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Old 18th of July 2006 (Tue)   #4
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Hopefully someone can be more helpful than me, but seriously, if you can try it out beforehand give it a try. A circ pol might cut down on reflections and get you better photos. Then again it might not.
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Old 18th of July 2006 (Tue)   #5
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

very true... i imagine, as you said, its something ill have to try. I imagine the location alone would have a lot to do with it, along with time of day, etc... Probably something Ill have to try at a few different pools.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this and help out...
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Old 19th of July 2006 (Wed)   #6
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Don't bother with polarizer. Polarizers are hard to use for sport shooting with "normal" lenses already. With your lens it will have no effect at all, since it will be turned wrong, or you will be bugging with turning it right and have out of focus photos. So just forget it. Shooting water doesn't mean shooting with polarizer
As far as other question goes... best position for most of swimming is on end of pool so you get swimmers coming at you. But for freestyle I usually go on side of pool.
Times can vary from 1/10 and up. It depends what kinda photo you are after. But you should be able to freeze water with 1/500 or just to be on safe side go with 1/1000. When being outside, you should be able to get 1/1000 without much problems.
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Old 19th of July 2006 (Wed)   #7
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

The polarizer will also bring out the colors in the persons skin. So if they are white, they might turn redder.
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Old 21st of July 2006 (Fri)   #8
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by staereo
I will be shooting a swim meet, and it will be outdoors. I was curious if I should bother with a circular polarizer, as I will be using lenses which have front elements that turn with focusing. Should I not bother with the polarizer for fear of missed shots?

Any idea of a good shutter speed to shoot swimming. Is 1/500 fast enough to stop water, or should I go even faster for that effect?

Any clue on good areas to find a spot? It seems most people choose a pool end, but I would wonder if certain types of strokes would be better shot from the side, like freestyle?

Do people tend to enjoy images taken of off-action moments in swimming?

Thanks in advance for your time in answering any of these questions, or any tips outside of my questions, having to do with captureing swimming.

Bruce
First off I'm not a pro, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night

j/k. Anyway, I was the team photographer for our local swim club this summer. I used my 70-200 with a circular polarizer for most of the season.

I positioned myself at the end of the pool deck for all but freestyle. Freestyle was a pain in the rear because you had to shoot from the side and most of the blasted kids would only breath out of one side and it was just not fun.

I was around 1/1000 most of the time depending on where the harsh Colorado sun was at the time.

As far as parents buying pictures... once they figured out I was taking pictures for the team, I was the only person with a camera at the events.

I've sold 160+ prints (all 4x6) to parents and the orders are still rolling in. Parents love the "action" shots AND the out-of-the-pool shots. I have found the parents from our swim team love close up shots best. Doesn't matter if the child is in the water or out. Just fill the frame with the child and they can't wait to buy it.

By mid season, I had parents requesting photos from specific events.

On average, I took about 500 photos per meet (big swim team).

Hope this helps
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Old 24th of July 2006 (Mon)   #9
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

TUGGNET - how do you handle the photo sales? I do similar things with soccer but getting one or two printed then finding the parents the next week turns out to be a real time buster
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Old 26th of July 2006 (Wed)   #10
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

I am wondering about that also(photo sales). How much were you asking for the
4 x 6? Where you using something like smugmug?

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 26th of July 2006 (Wed)   #11
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

I shoot kids, horses, equestrian events. I charge $10 per sheet... if they want (1) 8x10, or (2) 4x6 or (8) wallet, it's still $10 per sheet.

Most of my orders come in via snail mail, or handed to us personally.

We deliver the finished pictures back to the barn where they can pick it up on their kid's next lesson.
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Old 30th of July 2006 (Sun)   #12
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Staereo - My wife and I have done a couple of out door swim meets. We used a 30D and a 100-400 L is withOUT a circular polarizer. The focus on the kids was great and the water on their skin only had a small glare that made a great effect - it helped to show the motion. We have not tried with the polarizer yet - but will try it in the coming weeks.

We shot from the end of the pool for fly and breast and from the side for back and free although we did get some good shots on the turns from the end of the pool on backstroke as they were surfacing and bubbles were coming from their noses.

As for selling photos at the meet - make sure you have permission from the pool owner. If you wish to sell only 4X6 you can use one of the small Canon or HP dye-sub printers. They crank out the pictures quickly and only cost about $0.30 each. Also the dye-sub printing stands up better to water drops (at a swim meet) These printers run $100 - $150 each. If you want to go bigger than the 4X6 then it will cost more and there are not that many printers out there

Good luck and have fun
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Old 8th of August 2006 (Tue)   #13
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by copper
I am wondering about that also(photo sales). How much were you asking for the
4 x 6? Where you using something like smugmug?

Thanks for the tips.
Our swim team requires all parents to "volunteer" for four tasks during the season. My one and only task was team photographer. (no hotdog sales for me)

Anyway, the team set the prices for 4x6 prints at $0.29/print which is a $0.08 profit per print. They didn't want to charge too much because they felt swim team was expensive enough.

I set the price for larger prints and keep any profits from the sale.

I do use smugmug and it's been working fine for me. All the feedback I've received from parents has been very positive.

Cheers
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Old 20th of August 2006 (Sun)   #14
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Hiya

I currently cover swim meets in my town, had an awefull experience yesterday with an indoor pool (rainy weather added ontop of that) there were a few hundred people jammed into the 1m space on either sides of the pool so finding my spot was a waste of time!

As said in other replies i goto the ends of the pool for breaststroke and butterfly and the sides for freestyle and backstroke. If you have to choose one position for the whole day (power, chair etc) i normally go to the center of the pool on the side if its a 50m pool

I mostly sell action shots and out of pool shots while they are waiting by the starting block (just watch out for the flags that hang a quarter down each end of the pool for false starts - not sure if they use those at your pools ) Medal presentation shots also do well, just try and get all 3 swimmers to look into the camera (quite hard when there are 5-10 other parents taking pics aswell hehe)

If a parent comes up and asks us to take pictures of their child, we normally have a small sticker that they put onto their swimcaps so that i can identify them

We normally have an agreement with the club/body organising the event where we give them 10-15% of revenue from the day and online sales - this helps when you want to sit by the officials or get space to setup your printing

I hope that helps you

Last edited by depach : 20th of August 2006 (Sun) at 18:10.
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Old 20th of August 2006 (Sun)   #15
staereo
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Default Re: Swim meet questions, circ. pol. etc

Wow, thanks for all this advice. I ended up shooting 2 meets, with complete honesty that they were my first time shooting swimming. Worked out well, and ended up earning more than I needed to break even.

http://www.bruceobryan.com/albums/svsl/

My first time shooting swimming. The first date was shot between 630pm and 830pm. The second date was around 430pm until 8 or 830pm. All outdoors. I ended up really having to push my equipment as it got closer to night. I have been asked to do fall sports AND winter swimming already, which surprises me because those shots were far from great.

Please feel free to continue with the comments and advice, because I'll be doing it again this winter, this time indoors. Last week I purchased a EF 70-200 2.8L for fall sports, and so I will have that for the next run of swimming I do.

Boy, those cross pool markers were REALLY irritating, I was soaking wet from knees down from trying to get low enough to capture across the pool, and I had to be RIGHT over the water shooting, because of how many athletes and others cut right in front of my lens. Even as close as a foot, and they preferred to 'hop' over the pool corner than walk behind me. ROFL.

Comments on my images are welcome, though I've also learned a lot from seeing them myself. I've also learned a lot about sports in general since then by reading gmen's sports shooting interview.

Thank you all again, this is all very informative, I'm learning a lot!!
Bruce
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Last edited by staereo : 20th of August 2006 (Sun) at 18:53.
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