Try, Try, and Try again - Winning with Rugby
Sports have been quite the adventure in Photos; Its where I started and where I plan to stay. 3 years in and I’ve met some great folks from around the world; Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, and probably most notably, a few staff from the Club America first team, all with their own experiences to share; and for me, a Seattle Homebody, that’s a pretty exciting thing. Of course, we all have our financial goals as well. A friend pointed out to me the other day that the highest paid photographer is currently a woman, which is very exciting, and the same friend also pointed out that the riches that some of us gain are those that we have within the people we meet along the way, and with that I could not agree more.
Enter the Seawolves into Seattle sports. True to the Pacific Northwest spirit, they came in sporting green and blue jerseys, with a sport that was very popular in the area within clubs and colleges. I was astounded at the community that surrounded this team when we first crossed paths, and things only continue to grow. Whenever I meet another fan in the wild, or perhaps even on social media, I have no hesitation inviting them to wave to me on the field or come by for a quick hello. I love that everyone feels so united and so just… together. That’s actually my favorite thing about this sport, because the more I learn about it that just seems to be in the spirit of the international community, and we could all do with a bit more friendship.
For the three seasons that I’ve been with the team, I have learned a lot of things that come with shooting sports. Turns out it really does help when you are driven to improve by others who have very specific ideas of what they want as a final product. Parameters are great when shooting, visualize what you need to get the job done, and go out and get it. When you’re out on the field; know the shot you want before the game even starts. I generally get the shots I go after; because knowing where to look (this comes with a lot of repetition) is becoming second nature. Not succeeding is not really an option; there are no do-overs, there’s no ‘okay, lets go try that one more time.’ Failure does definitely happen. I know i miss moments that I should’ve been there for. I make incorrect predictions or im just not fast enough, but nonetheless I always aim for an all-encompassing, well rounded shoot.
Listening to feedback has given me the absolute best photos I’ve ever taken. I’ve even heard the phrase ‘Quinn; you really peaked with x game, i’d love to see more of that.’ Which; is actually a great thing to hear because I go back through and try and see what they saw. Were they good shots of the players as people with emotion, or were they really good peak action? Was it because the sun went away, or was it because of how I edited? Our own style of art is so important; but to go back and think critically after given constructive feedback is essential.
Being dynamic with your gear and your shot helps prepare for every eventuality. In a portraiture setting, this also applies but sports is so much more ‘on the fly’ than anything else because of the unlikely chance of recreating a scenario. Working with the Nikon D5 this season is an exciting prospect because it shoots with a lot of similar qualities that my d850 has. Smooth noiseless photos makes for easier editing, and since Starfire can be a tough one at night; I’m very happy to be able to mitigate that with a much higher ISO capability. Keep in mind I was using a Nikon d500 beforehand, but let me tell you; those are absolutely amazing cameras and if you’re in the market for a more affordable sports camera, I might have one for sale. Or I might not. I can’t actually decide.
Use of multiple lenses too really does allow for a huge range of photos. If you’re not running dual bodies, bring that wide angle with you and get good and fast at switching (been there, done that). In rugby, my most sought after shot is a line-out. In a similar fashion to a throw-in from soccer, a player is on the sidelines, tosses the ball into the air and on the field; a player from both teams are hoisted into the air in an attempt to be the first to catch the ball and therefore possession. Let’s think about this; players are HOISTED into the AIR. Line-outs almost always end up being my best shots of the game. Using a wide shot to catch ground action at this time really captures the determination and exertion that players experience, or focus in tight onto the player being lifted up which is nothing short of epic. Sometimes, much like soccer, your team just doesn’t win the ball; but the real disappointment only happens when I guess the wrong player that is lifted up. Oops.
Sports photographers will know most of this stuff already; but I don’t really know if this is specifically for them. We celebrate too, maybe not specifically a try, or a goal, or a touchdown, but we occasionally get photos that we are so excited about we’ll share with each other right there on the sidelines. High fives all around! Some real gems can happen out on the field if you look closely enough at media teams - watch for the photographer that is mere feet away from players sliding in for a try with mere minutes left on the clock. Cheer as loud as you can for them too, because that is the image broadcasted; that wonderful emotional high being immortalized and put out into the world to never be forgotten.