Recording a Swimmer

I arrived at the pool expecting the light to be awful, and it was. Swimming pools are not designed for maximum viewing pleasure - for that you can go to a sunny beach and enjoy the scenery. The pool had nearly a dozen swimmers in it, but I was fortunate that my subject was on the farthes lane - with an empty double lane the only thing on the side of him. I set up a pair of SB-800 speedlights on light stands and put my D200 flash into commander mode to fire the two strobes remotely.

The first flash I set up on the starting block one lane over (camera left) and aimed it right into the lane he was swimming in. The other strobe I set off to the side of the pool, giving a light from camera right that was lower intensity, yet would fill in the shadows of the first flash so they wouldn't be just awful black.

Gallup swimmer Gulianni Masci stops for photo during swim practice at the Gallup Aquatic Center on Boardman Avenue. Masci set a new state record on Feb. 26 in the Fly style competition.

For the action shots I played with a variety of shutter speeds, and moving the shutter speed up to feeze the action resulted in the black hole effect in the background. As I slowed the shutter down I got hints of motion, yet still a sharp image. The flash freezes the action, and then the ambient light of the room seeps in to give the areas that the flash doesn't reach some light. I like the result of a still photo that is also moving.

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