Wednesday, July 08, 2009

US National Championship Swimming

I spent Tuesday shooting the ConocoPhillips U.S. National Championships and World Championship Trials at the Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis. It was a good time, but was reminded of just how hard it can be to stay focused when you're seriously sleep-deprived. I rolled into Indy Tuesday morning on a solid 2.5 hours of sleep and averaged about 4 hours per night for the last week or so. My assignment was to photograph and write about a couple of local swimmers who competed and to get some photos of the Olympians.



July 7, 2009 - Indianapolis, Ind. - U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte warms up before the start of the preliminary rounds on Day 1 of the ConocoPhillips U.S. National Championships and World Championship Trials at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis on Tuesday, July 7.
Photo by Chad Ryan.



I've photographed plenty of events, including the Olympic Diving Trials last summer, at the natatorium, but when I got there everything was different. It was set up for TV with additional stage lighting installed that while it was contrasty and bright, it still forced me to use high ISO settings. Generally, I will set strobes to photograph a meet, but since I was not considered a Tier 1 photographer I was not allowed to use strobes or get a straight on look at the swimmers. I had to stay to the sides. I understand completely the necessity to have these sort of tiers of importance for different media outlets, and I am not complaining.



July 7, 2009 - Indianapolis, Ind. - U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte powers through the butterfly leg of the mens 400-meter individual medley preliminaries during Day 1 of the ConocoPhillips U.S. National Championships and World Championship Trials at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis on Tuesday. Lochte finished with the top seed time then won the national championship final with a time of 4:06.40.
Photo by Chad Ryan.



The fact is pictures still have to be made, even if I can't use the equipment I want to use, stand where I want to stand or have to operate on almost no sleep. So I got done what I needed to do. I made some decent photos, but I could tell I wasn't quite on top of my game. I will try to get back to Indy later in the week for another session at the pool, and maybe this time I'll get something a shade better than the "safe" pictures.

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