In many ways I'm just like every other parent pacing around the deck; I want my kid to go fast and get a few ribbons and make the "A" relay team. I'm happy when he hits a good flip turn and peeved when he breathes six or eight times on a 50 meter sprint. But I have an extra perk: I'm the official Rollingwood Waves Team Photographer.
What does this get me? We'll it's more what it gets me out of. I don't have to volunteer to be one of the timers or stroke judges. On the flip side, though, I have to be at every meet. I try to get at least a handful of pix for each kid on the team. I get some of them hanging with their best friends, a few starts and a few races. At the end of the season I rent a big monster digital projector from my favorite A/V company and we have a slide show at the swim team award picnic.
When I started this adventure we shot slides. A costly affair for the volunteer photographers.......
Back in 2003 we went digital and haven't looked back. Here's the truth though, the slides look a hell of a lot better. That's not a dig at digital cameras but cost effective projection technologies are still way behind the curve vis a vis film. Really. I have a couple of LCD projectors and I have a Leica Pradovit slide projector and it's Yugo versus the Aston Martin as far as I'm concerned. But we decided not to care and everyone loves to watch and giggle at each other. We also put the images up on a web gallery and they look much, much better there.
The meet started at 9 am and lasted till 2pm. The other team had legions of young kids and that always takes more time. A lot more time. But that's part of the deal. We always have to remind the teenagers that they were once "six and unders" and they didn't move any quicker than this set of six and unders.
Today was a good photo day because we had a nice overcast. Not a dark gray, English style overcast but a thinner, southern california overcast with a small layer of Texas clouds thrown in. I shot 735 images over the course of the five hours and edited down to about 600 for the web gallery. I took one camera and two lenses. A Canon 7D, the 70-200 f4 and the Canon 15-85mm. I took along two 4 gig cards and made a solemn promise to myself that, when I filled them, I'd just stop and smell the roses......or the chlorine. I was a lazy photographer today and shot large jpegs with the camera set to Aperture Prefered Priority. It all came out just fine. I watch the light and shove in plus or minus compensation pretty accurately when I need to. I didn't have to dump any files for exposure or focus issues so I think 735 out of 735 is pretty darn good.
The camera worked fine. The boy swam well. The photographer stayed hydrated.
So that was this morning. Then we went out for lunch and I came back to edit, color correct and upload the stuff to a Smugmug gallery. Now it's almost six o'clock and I'm ready to take it easy and do some stuff just for myself. I know, I'll grab a camera and a lens and go out for a long walk in downtown Austin. You know, just to stay in practice.......