SportyMags

Hey sports fans!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am a self admitted “rink rat” so a lot of this blog will be about figure skating and hockey, however as an ex-figure skater, ex-varsity athlete and a sports fan in general, I usually have thoughts and opinions about alot of different sports I follow, so visit often!

Yuzuru Hanyu: My First Experience with Sports Photography

So, professional photography runs in my family, but I was always more focused on playing sports, and so I ended up being a “point and shoot camera” kind of girl.  But, recently Yuzu has inspired me to try my luck and see if I have any talent with taking pictures like my dad and my sister.

Since I do not have media credentials, and the rules about cameras differ from one arena, and one skating event to another, I decided to play it a bit safe and purchase a camera which would allow me to get some decent sports photography photos and still play within the rules (no professional gear, interchangeable lenses etc).

So, I went out and bought a Sony RX10 Mark II camera.

http://www.sony.com/electronics/cyber-shot-compact-cameras/dsc-rx10m2

While it does not have an interchangeable lens, it has a 24-200mm F2.8 lens which is pretty impressive in of itself as a “hybrid” camera.  I laughed when I was told that this camera gives me “street cred” amongst those that know about cameras.  (Ha ha).

I bought the camera about a month before Worlds, and was eager to start practising so that I would know and understand all the settings I would need for the start of my sports photography journey.  I took my new toy to a couple of NHL hockey games.  This helped me understand the manual settings I needed for NHL arena lighting.

So, armed with my new camera, extra batteries, extra memory cards, and a few short lessons about speed and aperture, I headed off to Boston and TD Gardens!!  I was still quite nervous, so I had a friend from home on stand by to answer any questions by text message if I ran into issues.  I also found an app that allowed me to send pictures from my camera to my phone wirelessly during the event so that I could text photos to my friend for adjustment advice. I was prepared!!

Worlds!!  By the end of this event, I looked down to see that I had taken over 8,100 photos. That’s what happens when you give a girl a camera with continuous shot mode!! They say that sometimes a person needs to take hundreds of photos just to get one perfect money shot. Well, in my case, it was definitely true!!  I took a ton of pictures just to get a few of what I would call excellent ones (I am my own worst critic).  Even the ones that aren’t super crispy clear are still wonderful because they are of Yuzu.  I think I did pretty well, but I had to keep reminding myself to stop comparing to other peoples’ photos that had professional gear. I am still very competitive in that sense!  Like Yuzu, I am aiming for perfection!!

The first day of practice, I thanked my lucky stars that Yuzu was not in the first group so I got to practice a bit on Patrick and Nam before Yuzu arrived.  By the time it was Yuzu’s practice group, I figured I was ready.  My only worry was about my ability to control my heart rate so that my hands would not shake.

Here are some of my favorite Sportymags photos!!  Please do not re-post anywhere without credit or a link to this post, I would sincerely appreciate it!

Note:  I am uploading my photos “as is”.  I have NOT done any post processing of any photos, no adjustments to lighting/colouring, no zooming or cropping, no crispness enhancement, as I simply don’t know how to do that yet.  😊

Nam: This shot was taken mid-quad toe.

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Patrick: First practice, combination spin

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Mao: I have frame by frame shots of quite a few of Mao’e triple Axel attempts.  Most of them in practice were successfully executed.

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Mao: This is one of my favorite photos I took of Mao.  Her Biellman spin is gorgeous.  I wish I had taken it in portrait mode but as you will read in my “lessons learned” I haven’t mastered the quickness to flip from landscape to portrait yet.  At least I did not cut off either of her skates!

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Savchenko/Massot: I wish I would have had this zoomed in a bit more for this shot but the first time I tried to capture this photo fully zoomed out, Bruno threw Aliona right out of the frame. Oh well, I’m learning.  Incredible height!!

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Weaver/Poje:  Just a stunning move, and a neat spin.

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Volosozhar/Trankov: This was on the last day of practice for pairs.

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Duhamel/Radford: taken a bit farther away

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Sui/Han: This was the easiest photo – they weren’t moving!

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It was my first time attempt at sports photography and what I learned was:

  • Yuzu skates wayyyyy faster than everyone in practice!  He is the hardest shot to get!! But when I did get good ones, my heart did little axel jumps!!
  • I quickly learned to adjust my zoom for jumps as some skaters jumped out of my picture frame!!  (calling Yuzu and Boing Boing)
  • I also learned that it takes a LONG time to go through 7,000 photos of Yuzu! Haha. Yes, the ratio of shots I took was 7,000 Yuzu to 1,000 everyone else.
  • I have to practice taking shots with the camera in portrait position too.  I was concentrating so hard on getting the shot that I kind of forgot that I could turn the camera myself.  Ha ha, oh well, that will come with practice I’m sure.
  • Some of my pictures are a bit darker which could be lightened up with some editing magic but I almost prefer the original because it hasn’t been tampered with.
  • It’s hard to adjust aperture and speed settings on the fly but I’m sure that will come with experience. Everything happens so fast that I didn’t even have a chance to review any shots and adjust while the sessions were happening.

OK, now for the Yuzu highlights of my experience.  It was super hard to pick out my favorite Yuzu photos, but here are just a few:

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Yuzu was doing his combination spin about 150 feet away from me.  I will get in closer next time!!

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I got this picture with the help of continuos shoot mode.  When Yuzu started his combination spin, I pressed the shutter and held on for dear life until he finished the spin. I love how the camera did all the work for me!

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This next picture is very similar to one by @Ninny which is circulating out on the internet (she must have been sitting close to me).  Her photo is a lighter than mine and I could probably fix this one a bit later on.  But, if you ever try to take shots of Yuzu, you would know how hard it is to even get one like this.  I was very proud of myself when I saw this one on my viewfinder.

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Such a nice pensive, thoughtful Yuzu.  That, or he was just catching his breath!

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I will continue to take my camera to the next skating events that I attend and hopefully my shots will get better and better, like Yuzu!!  I have to remember that my camera does have limitations since it is not full professional gear, but the experience of trying this was so much fun, maybe an upgrade is something to consider in the future!!

My wish is to become as good as Danielle Earl, or Ninny or Saya.  Their photos are amazing!

I hope you have enjoyed my photos.  I have a lot of Yuzu action shots and will try to write a post about that in the future.  But for now….

 

Go Yuzu Go!!  Doki Doki!

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Please note: the cover photo for this blog entry was NOT taken by me but was just the perfect photo of Yuzu to introduce this blog entry.

All other photos in this blog entry have been taken by me.

 

 

 

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9 comments on “Yuzuru Hanyu: My First Experience with Sports Photography

  1. Jo De Souza
    May 17, 2016

    Wonderful pictures! Have loved your texts for putting me closer to Yuzuru , now it all comes packed with photos , how wonderful!
    Needless to say I’m ecstatic with the photo of Yuzuro -shirt that physical !
    Thanks for everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Meliss
    May 17, 2016

    Hi thank you for the photos!! Keep up the great work! Love the Yuzu pics so much =]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the50-person
    May 18, 2016

    Awesome photos! 😀 You’re pretty good! Just curious, if you were to rank the top men in skating speed and skating flow, how would you do rank them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      May 18, 2016

      Thanks!! Wow, great question….I have to think about that for a bit…I would like to write up my answer as my next blog entry…because its not an easy one to answer….

      Like

  4. Gabu
    May 18, 2016

    You certainly feel the composition and you’ll get used to all the settings stuff! 😉 Great work there! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Danielle Earl
    May 18, 2016

    You are too sweet!

    Honestly, you did a fabulous job! You’ve clearly done your research on basic camera settings and you know what you have to do to improve. Keep going to those events and shooting – practice makes perfect. You’re off to an awesome start! I look forward to watching you grow as a photographer!! (PS If we’re ever at the same event again, come say hi!!)

    xoxo Danielle

    Liked by 1 person

    • sportymags
      May 18, 2016

      I will definitely come say hi!! Thanks so much!!! ❤️

      Like

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