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Water polo
Bradley Wilson, Photographer
Raleigh | NC | USA | Posted: 4:22 PM on 08.27.06
->> Any tips for shooting high school or college/university water polo?

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Walter Calahan, Photographer
Westminster | MD | USA | Posted: 8:04 PM on 08.27.06
->> Stay dry, or bring scuba gear. Grin!
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Bradley Wilson, Photographer
Raleigh | NC | USA | Posted: 9:01 PM on 08.27.06
->> Do you have a good story about getting wet? I'm working on an article about shooting water polo and need some good tips, stories, etc.
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Seh Suan Ngoh, Photographer
Singapore | SG | Singapore | Posted: 2:38 AM on 08.28.06
->> Waterpolo, I don't have any experience, but I do have a fair experience in the next closest sport - canoepolo - which I updated in my member page.

Best advice I think that works, is to shoot from a higher angle so that the background is only the water itself. But remember, too high an angle means that you may not be able to show the faces of the players well.

For myself, shooting canoepolo is best done from a lifeguard's perch, where a 70-200 does best. I finally tried out the 1D for the sport - having switched from a 10D earlier this year, and I just love the way the top-left and top-right AF sport are positioned. If you're using a D2h(s) or D2x(s), you should have a similar AF sensor but it's better than my 1D since it's crosstype.
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Seh Suan Ngoh, Photographer
Singapore | SG | Singapore | Posted: 2:51 AM on 08.28.06
->> Oh yes. And before I forget, take NO assumptions that the ball won't fly at you and your camera when you least expect it. A friend of mine recently wasn't paying attention for a short moment because he was taking a short break, but ended up having a ball flew right over and hit his 20D + 70-200 which dropped to the ground, malfunctioning (or rather, not functioning at ALL) and resulting in a need to be sent for service. The possible shock factor is very high, and not to mention gear servicing expenditure may be higher!

It helps to have your camera that is environmentally sealed, to give you that safeguard against major splashes.
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Andrew Mo, Student/Intern, Photographer
Manhattan Beach | CA | USA | Posted: 3:38 AM on 08.28.06
->> I've found that my best experiences are when shooting at the extremes: finding a high angle such as a diving platform can clean up your backgrounds, and on the other end, "hitting-the-deck" -- shooting as close to the pool/deck surface as possible, which can help with making your images more engaging. I like to apply this to swimming as well, but as others have mentioned, bring towels.
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Rodrigo Pena, Photographer
Palm Desert | CA | USA | Posted: 4:04 PM on 08.28.06
->> Bradley, I like the ideas above. They lend to a great deal of creativity. If you want the normal stock type photos what I have done in the past is bring two camera bodies: one with a 70-200mm lens and one with a 300mm lens or 400mm lens depending on your access to both the lenses and the pool. I like to station myself low and near the goal. Doing so with the 300mm lens gets me photos of the goalie across the pool for any saves or goals. I use the 70-200mm for swimmers coming at me. I vary my positions. I like to start off by being about 4-8 feet away from the goal, a little behind and to the side. (watch out for wide goal atttempts) Think 45-degree angle from the back corner of the goal. Next, if I don't know the team very well, I look at the way the light is falling and choose a side of the goal based on the light. Sometimes I like to shoot the event backlit for the nice rim light and flying water drops. Sometimes I like to shoot front or sidelit for the extra shutter speed. (Backlit can sometimes be too dark for a fast shutter speeds depending on the light and time of day. When I went from Nikon to Canon I felt more comfortable using higher ISO's)

Sometimes I will stand up tall behind the goal because the goal itself sometimes gets in the way. If you know which side your leading scorer plays on, this will help you choose which side of the goal from which to shoot.

I have also been in the corner, flush with the goal, but sometimes the waterpolo referee gets in the way. I try not to get in the way of the referee for obvious reasons. There are other positions too, but I'll let you discover those.

I like to shoot at f/4 and sometimes f/2.8 to clear the background. If I have a 400mm lens, I might bump it up to 4.5-5.6 to get a little more depth of field.

These tips are for outdoor pools. I haven's shot in an indoor pool and don't know about that aspect. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Rodrigo
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Bradley Wilson, Photographer
Raleigh | NC | USA | Posted: 7:04 PM on 08.28.06
->> Canoepolo looks like the coolest sport ever.
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Steve King, Photographer
Ann Arbor | MI | USA | Posted: 10:14 AM on 08.29.06
->> I have shot both HS & college WP and found it better to stay on the deck, you have to dodge the occasional bad pass and keep knee guard/pads on (you're going to get wet/soaked), but this way you fill the frame with the players not the water.

You probably know that hardly anyone faces the net so pick your favorite spot on either side or behind one net if you want to see their faces. Some of the best expressions are found shooting the war going on in the hole (players in front of the goalie), and great pictures of shooting and saves happen on the edges. Stay wide open, f2.8-3.5, as usual to blur backgrounds. I shoot mostly with my 80-200 because I get the flexibility to shoot close or nearly across the pool, not the length though. If I had a 400 f2.8 I might use it to shoot down the length only, since the 80-200 gives me flexibilty to shoot the entire half of the pool I'm stationed in, since I don't shoot from more than 3ft away from the gutter.

Rodrigo's tips are very good since I've shot both outside and mostly inside, I'm in Michigan after all. I did shoot in Cali once and it was nice! I position myself where I do to keep the referees out of my shot, since they follow the play and move where they want to, to see what's going on. They mostly don't go right into the corner and don't go behind the net.

Depending upon which team I'm shooting I plan on staying in one end to shoot offense and then defense. The lighting or sunlight also heavily dictates what you can do since some pools have a dark end, usually away from the swimming starting blocks, or sharp shadows outside due to diving towers or buildings. I still like to stay low since it's an engaging "you're right there" kind of look, and sunlight dances off the water very nicely at that angle too. The D2X focuses so well that I don't have much to worry about including water splashes or interference either.
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Primoz Jeroncic, Photographer
Kranj | SI | Slovenia | Posted: 2:57 PM on 08.29.06
->> Shooting waterpolo from high angle never really worked for me. It's just to weird for my taste, and it never looked as good as I though it will. My favourite position is behind goal just a bit left or right of goal. You get shoots of player from straight front when shooting on goal. At least for me, these are pretty much only usefull shoots, since most of other stuff are just bunch of splashes, which don't look all that great on photos, as they do in real life. But you have to watch out for ball from time to time ;)
Another position is on side lined up with goal line. You get whole action a bit more from side and you can include goalie this way too. I bet it would be interesting to shoot from underwater too, but unfortunately I never had chance for that.
And worse thing with all this waterpolo stuff is, that at least here, it's usually in crapy lit swimming halls. And as all this wouldn't be enough, it's usually extremly hot and humid so it's suffering. So most important suggestion, don't forget t-shirt and shorts... even if in middle of winter :)
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Bradley Wilson, Photographer
Raleigh | NC | USA | Posted: 9:02 PM on 08.29.06
->> So, those of you that shoot indoors, do you set up lights?
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Dave Prelosky, Photographer
Lower Burrell | Pa | US | Posted: 9:34 PM on 08.29.06
->> As the local State school dropped their program, and I covered exactly one match before its demise, I can offer this.
The coach was nearly jumping out of his skin to see any media attention. When I explained my typical light scheme ( 4 SB-xx's on stands w/ Pocket Wizards) he was better than good-to-go.
My suggestion is to light simply, but well and make sure someone knows you're coming with a case of toys.
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Steve King, Photographer
Ann Arbor | MI | USA | Posted: 8:43 PM on 08.30.06
->> I've never set up lights since most anyone around here is very against seeing any strobe setups, unless it's for the swim meet starter, so what they don't know does hurt them, but I can't fight it. I just go for 800ISO and take it from there, the lighting at the local pools isn't bad in the best spots.
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Seh Suan Ngoh, Photographer
Singapore | SG | Singapore | Posted: 2:21 AM on 08.31.06
->> I've some some sample shots from last week's match at

Apologies for not having waterpolo, but canoepolo's more actionpacked - just try sitting on the pool deck when the guys start playing ;-)
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Thread Title: Water polo
Thread Started By: Bradley Wilson
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