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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2012-10-01

Fall sports means prep water polo!
By Jennifer Maher

Photo by Jennifer Maher

Photo by Jennifer Maher
September couldn't come soon enough!

You're probably thinking that I'm talking about football, but I'm not. It's all about water polo! There's just something about shooting water polo that I love. It's the one sport that I will always volunteer to shoot even when I'm not assigned to a game and it sure can make for some great images!

Now, I don't mean to "beat a dead horse," but the thing is, most people think great images can only be made at "major" sporting events such as football, basketball, soccer and so on, but great images can be made anywhere and I think some of my best sports images are made shooting high school water polo. I think I've entered and placed in yearend contests with water polo entries more than with any other sport.

When I was first contacted about writing a story about my thoughts on shooting water polo, I had no idea what to write. The first thing that popped into my head was something a former staffer said to me the first time I went to shoot the sport. He said, "It's like shooting fish in a barrel."

But it's more than that. To me, it's kind of like a ballet. It has it's dream-like moments, such as the players treading water, waiting for the whistle to blow at the start of each period, the fast-paced movement of the ball being passed around and blocked from player to player, ending with an almost choreographed jump out of the water by the goalie trying to deflect the goal attempt.

I generally try to avoid the obvious "guy holding the ball looking to pass" shot. If it's boring to me, it must be boring for the readers, right? Of course your sports department will want you to make sure you get the ball in the shot, peak of action, blah, blah, blah, but then there are other factors about the sport to remember, like the water.

The water is what can make the shot more interesting, at least for me anyways, and I always try to work it in somehow. I like the way it arcs around the player when he tries to pass or make a shot and a well placed droplet or two can make an everyday shot that much more interesting. Blocking is also key. You think basketball fouls can be painful, a hand block to the face looks pretty bad as well. I've even seen blood drawn at a game or two and that's just above the water.

So, don't look over water polo waiting for football to start because it may just give you the type of images you're looking for.

As for the specs, I travel light. I usually shoot the games with a 70-200mm with a 1.4 extender. Nothing fancy. Afternoon games are the best, especially in an east/west facing pool in an open area.

I'm thinking of following one of our local teams through the 2012-2013 season, so you can follow me on Twitter @jcmaherphoto or at
http://www.dailybulletin.com if you're a water polo fanatic like me. Or, if not, do it anyways!


(Jennifer Maher is a staff photographer at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. You can see her work at her Sports Shooter member page:
http://www.sportsshooter.com/members.html?id=3364.)


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