#234 Sport photography and student success!

Recently I posted a note about a past student, Yan Huckendubler, and his experiences shooting at the Pan Am Cup in Chile. Yan has kindly sent an overview of his photo and web work at the Pan Am Cup with tips and ideas from shooting an international sports event.

Some photo notes from Yan shooting from the sidelines:

Pan American Cup of Field Hockey

I have been involved for a few years as a volunteer with the Pan American (field) Hockey Federation. Recently, I was appointed “Communications Officer” at the Pan American Cup in Santiago, Chile where I was able to focus on the PAHF web site, the only source of information on the competition for the “fans back home” throughout the Americas.

Pan Am Field Hockey

Our web site  provided the results, standings, statistics, official game sheets, video-clips of post-game interviews, and a report I wrote on each game. A large number of good quality pictures taken by a team of three photographers supported the site. My role was to manage our team of volunteers, centralize all the material and post it on the site. As always, I had my own camera with me “just in case” and was indeed called into photographic action!

Not surprisingly, I particularly like to shoot the games of our Canadian Team. I know the players well, and they always appreciate receiving action pictures after a competition.

Weather & Photo Equipment

The weather was sunny and hot (+30C) throughout the competition, tough conditions for the players but ideal for the photographers. Santiago is slightly at altitude and the surrounding Andes were a stunning backdrop to the pitch. The air was dry, making for intense light and crisp colors. I have a Nikon D200 and had only brought my Nikkor 80-400mm 1:4.5-5.6, and the maximum aperture was very sufficient in these conditions.

Pan Am Field Hockey

The Photographers

I enjoyed working with photographers from various horizons and backgrounds, picking up tips on material, techniques and software. Our main photographer, a young guy from Bermuda, specializes in wedding and social events photography. He had no interest in sport until his sister was selected to the Bermuda Team and begged him to come and take pictures at a recent international event. His work was so appreciated that the Bermuda Hockey Federation invited him to Santiago for our event and we jumped on the opportunity to add him to our team.

His two pro bono gigs were certainly a good investment: he has now been contacted by the International Federation to work at future international competitions and some of his pictures have been purchased by media outlets for magazines and even a book on field hockey.

Pan Am Field Hockey

Sports Shooting Styles

It was also interesting to see his different approach to shooting the games. Most “sport photographers” tend to document the action on the pitch; some, such as me, know the sport and the players well enough to even anticipate play: if #13 is left alone in front of the goal, you know that the ball will reach him soon and that something will happen there! 

Alex, our wedding photographer, had a different eye for the game. He was of course shooting the action on the pitch but always kept an eye on potential shots behind the action, in the stands, around the pitch, with original angles, etc…

On my workshops with Harry Nowell, he insisted that we cover the whole event, not just what was on the field – but so often the advice of our teachers only registers when we see practical evidence!

Pan Am Field Hockey

The Results

Our web site received 3.5 million hits during the 9 days competition and our Canadian Team came back with the Trophy after a dramatic overtime win in the semi-final over Argentina and another overtime win in the final, this time against the USA!

This victory qualifies them directly for the 2010 World Cup in India and I have started to research the flights for New Delhi!

Yan Huckendubler, Chelsea

Nice work Yan – thanks for the report and photos!


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