Photographing College Swimming: The Purdue Invitational

Photographing Purdue Swimming

This is one of the first sports where I really cut my teeth in photography. It is a sport with limited access though so it always seems like I am making the same photos over and over. I do enjoy photographing swimming though so I take any chance that I can get to do it. My job Thursday was at the prelims though so it was a little more laid back than a normal meet. With whole heats with none of my athletes swimming I had time to think about the next photo. That worked both for and against me.

Photographing Indiana State Swimming Again

When Purdue did not have anyone in the pool I made a few photos of the Indiana State swim team. Early on in the history of the program I photographed them, and it has been amazing to see just how far they have come in such a short time. Just a couple of years ago I was at their first home and away meets. This was all new to everyone. Now they are building some steam, and they will be a handful for the rest of the MVC.

The Camera On The Ground

I have been experimenting a lot more lately with using the flip screen on my Sony cameras to help me achieve a lower angle. In the pool it lets me get down to nearly water level. As I said at the beginning my photos almost always seem to look the same to me so this is a big deal. When I first started making sports pictures I was in the stands. The photos seemed so easy to make up there. You quickly realize that more gets in your way as you move down to the playing level. In swimming the lower camera angle is great until it isn’t. As you get lower each water drop becomes a potential focus stealing drop. When it worked though it was a little cooler photo than what I normally make.

More With A Slow Shutter

When the 500m freestyle comes around I can take a break or make some artsy photos. When it comes at the start of the meet I always feel like I have to make photos of it. At the beginning of the races I would make my normal photos, and then I would switch my camera over to drag the shutter a little. This is one sport where you can do this very easily. For the most part the athletes stay in a straight line. Here I was at 1/30th of a second. I love the way that they water splashes turn almost into fireworks. The water smoothly swirling around the athlete is nice too.

A Great Moment

Thursday morning was capped off with a ceremony where the Navy seniors would find out where they were going to be stationed after they graduate. This is a huge deal for them as it has direct bearing on the rest of their lives. I knew that it would be fun to photograph, but I didn’t realize how much fun. They really got into the moment, and the actual announcement was great. When they returned to their teammates though was when the emotion really came out. After I was done photographing the moment a member of the Navy thanked me for making the photos of the young men. I always have trouble with those moments. Here are a bunch of kids ready to go out and risk their lives so that I can sit here and type this. I will say now what I told him then. The thanks goes to all of them. Thank you for doing what you do. It is my pleasure to capture moments like this.

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