Well, that was … embarrassing!
I did my first Team Relay Triathlon Championship last Saturday at the National water Sports Centre in Nottingham and couldn’t walk the next day.
The embarrassing bit is that I was only there Photographing it!
The whole weekend was something akin to Glastonbury meets Athletics and says hello in passing to ‘It’s a Knockout’! There was a carnival atmosphere with people in fancy dress, comedy commentators and …… well, hang on while I find the organiser’s ‘blurb’. Ah, here it is:
“A total of 660 Teams took part in the relay x 4: 500m, swim – 15k, bike and the 5k run. Started in 1991, this event is just legendary; there is truly nothing else like it. In 1991 with just 120 competitors, 2012 saw over 2000 lucky athletes join in the organised chaos of the Club Relays.
The event is now not so much about the swim, bike, run elements, but obviously these are very important. We like to think this whole weekend of fun is triathlon’s answer to the Glastonbury Music Festival. Yes, there’s the headline stage – over the years we have had Olympians and World Champions taking part but this weekend is also about the apres triathlon. Where else can you find close to 1000 triathletes all camping and partying together!“
I’ve seldom met so many happy, wonderful, knackered people in one place.
The venue is a photographer’s dream as the swim, bike and run and all the transition points take place in and around the National Water Course.
For more pics go see my website: http://www.drewsmithphotography.co.uk/Sports/National-Club-Triathlon-Relay
It was 5:40am in the morning. It was a little chilly with some rain in the air but not an uncomfortable amount. The meadow I stood in was part of a large farming and shooting estate in the Nottinghamshire countryside.
I scoped out the location for the best angles and backdrops with the sun over my right shoulder and double checked my camera settings again. 6am arrive and I was still on my own. Then 6:15 and still no sign of her. 6:30am came and went and still nothing.
It was at this point I began to think she might not show at all. 6:45 and still no sign.
The sun broke through clouds at 7am and its golden rays lit up the field and hedgerow in front of me. A perfect setting… and here she came, hunting down the hedgerow!
I’d seen her at this location on numerous previous occasions, so I was fairly sure she’d show up!
I settled in to my ‘hole in the ground’ in the middle of the meadow, checked my camera settings one last time but when I looked back up she’d disappeared! Oh no!
I scanned the top of the meadow but no sign of her ….. but as I looked up something caught my eye to my right and behind me….. and there she was! Coming down the ‘wrong’ side of the meadow this time!
I had to screw my head around (owl styleee) to get a shot off before she disappeared behind the trees. As you can see in the picture, she’s hunting down the hedge row.
Now, this is where I start making excuses, okay! I have a really bad habit of shooting in Manual all the time and I’d metered the shot I wanted to be against the hedge row with the sun to my back. I’m figuring that I need to get lucky to have her cooperate but hey, this is the way I’ve seen her hunt in this field. So what happened next is me making a rookie wildlife mistake.
She reappears from behind the trees at the foot of the meadow and perches on a fence post. I have the shot but she’s a speck; I’m using a 70-200mm 2.8 and it feels like I’m miles away from her.
Now, consider this, I’m dressed in camouflage trousers and jacket with a dull green beanie on my head. The only thing that looks like a rabbit’s tail and/or ears is my stupid Canon lens!
Her head swivels around and she suddenly takes to the air flying directly towards me. I’m thinking ‘she hasn’t seen me’ and started shooting the speck as she comes toward me. As she gets closer, and still closer, never moving off a direct line towards me, I suddenly realise that she HAS seen me – or at least my lens, and thinks it is something edible!
My little heart is beating so fast as she zero’s in but … crapolla .. she’s above the hedge line and I’m hunkered down in the grass so I’m shooting up at her with a clear white sky behind her, not a lovely green hedge.
Then suddenly she realises her mistake; it’s not a rabbit or a vole but some ass-hat photographer in her meadow, and she lets out a screech and pulls up and violently to her right.
I made several return trips to the meadow as the spring moved in to summer but she never really gave me the chance to get too close again. Although she did grace me with this shot on my last day with her.
I’ll be back this winter when the snow has fallen to see if I can capture a shot of her in her winter finery.
… I prefer reflectors.
Having lugged a portable outdoor lighting system (2 stands, umbrellas, flash lights and power) about with me over the past few weeks I have recently discovered the joys of reflected light.
What took me so long?
This week I invested in a 42″ reflector (white/silver/gold options) and yesterday got a chance to try it out.
A stroll down one of our village country lanes afforded us the opportunity of trying out this new bit of kit. It was around 7pm and the sun was just dipping behind the trees to our right. The light was being reflected back from the left on to the model’s face.
It was great fun using this bit of kit and it proved very easy to use, in fact the most difficult bit was folding it back up to put away!
So it is set to be a ‘must take’ piece of kit whenever I’m shooting on location from now on.
Collective terms are up for grabs. You won’t find any hard and fast rules about what can and cannot be a collective noun. You can basically make them up as you like.
For example; there is a ‘murder of Crows’, a ‘parliament of Rooks’ and an ‘unkindness of Ravens’. No, it’s true.
So if we can have a ‘Clutch of Car Mechanics’ and a ‘Flutter of Nuns’ what would the collective noun for photographers be? A ‘focus’? a Montage? A Composite? Or …
… a ‘Chimp!’
… stop logging in to the Forums and go and do something more productive instead!
With apologies to the TV show ‘Why don’t you…‘ that ran during my adolescent years. But it applies here; just say ‘no’ the next time your fingers twitch toward your favourite internet Forum bookmark. Think of all the things you could be doing instead.
When it comes to Photographic forums I’m guessing that they are no different to any other forum. They are populated by people who sometimes seem to spend more time typing about their enthusiasm for photography than actually practicing it.
Then there are the ‘gear head‘ sites, where people enthuse about the latest lens or camera and ask and answer countless questions about why piece of equipment ‘A’ is better than piece of equipment ‘B’. Each to their own of course, but if you are keen to progress and improve your photography then shouldn’t you be out taking photographs?
… or else you just might upset Harlan.
There’s a lot to be said for making sure you don’t work for nothing. And of course, there are times when you need to consider what working for ‘free’ might get you.
But watch out that somebody wasn’t taking a picture of you when you least expected it.
… safely negotiated. I don’t think people make the same effort that they used to when we were kids (you know you are getting old when you start using phrases like that). And all that the BBC could manage was the announcement of 3D Radio. Laugh? I almost started.
That 3D effect is something that we as photographers are always striving for. That special something that really lifts the image.
And any photographer worth his salt will tell you that it’s all about the light! That wonderful golden hour at the beginning and end of the day. But that one hour window at the start and end of the day isn’t really that narrow. The light an hour or so before and after can also do wonders for your photography.
Taken as the light began to fade
Of course depending on the weather conditions and the available light, capturing fast action sports can require some more dedicated equipment. The shot above was taken with a fast f2.8 telephoto lens and a camera capable of high ISO settings without introducing too much noise.
When photographing sports action it isn’t usually possible to dictate the time and place, but hanging some knowledge of the sport and the best locations on the course will pay dividends, and then it’s simply a matter of waiting for the light fantastic.