Commack/Northport Girls Varsity Swimming vs. Smithtown

Commack/Northport Girls Varsity Swimming vs. Smithtown

Commack/Northport has a pretty big team this year and they even have divers. I haven't photographed Commack divers in quite a few years.

This swimming meet was held at the Hauppauge High School pool. It's a pretty typical high school pool. Vapor lamps around the perimeter and what looks to be fluorescent or LED tubes over the center of the pool. Large vertical windows at the end with the starting blocks let in lots of daylight. So ... you have a lot of mixed temperature light to deal with.

The biggest problem with photographing swimming is the water. I'm not talking about getting your camera wet or falling in, although that can definitely ruin your day. The problem is the water will play havoc with your camera's autofocus, white balance and exposure meter. Here's how to minimize those problems.

First, the water spray will cause you to become a victim of technology. Your camera's autofocus is so fast that it will quickly focus on the spray in front of the swimmer rather than the swimmer. The result is that your swimmer is out of focus. The only way around this is to take lots of images and keep refocusing as you take them. Don't trust your camera to lock onto a perfect focus on the first try. Keep refocusing as you follow the swimmer.

Next, if you set your camera on auto white balance your images will be too warm. This is because your camera sees all that blue light reflecting off the water and wants to neutralize it by warming up the scene. In a case where the lighting is fairly even over the pool (I've never run into that situation but if you have, good for you) you can set a custom white balance with a gray or white card or just eyeball your white balance using live view. If you have mixed lighting, like at most pools, just do your best to get close in-camera and then fix it in post.

Finally, if you're using any auto-exposure setting most of your photos will probably be under-exposed. This is because your camera will pick up the bright reflections from the spray and attempt to over-compensate. This is one of the few sports where it's essential to use manual exposure settings. Take a wide shot of the pool and use it to set your exposure, then just go with that for the rest of the meet.

Have fun.

Commack High School Boys Varsity Golf vs. Elwood/J. Glenn

Commack High School Boys Varsity Golf vs. Elwood/J. Glenn

Commack High School Girls Varsity Cross Country

Commack High School Girls Varsity Cross Country