synchronized skating

Thirsty Work

A few weeks ago I was asked to photograph a synchronized skating practice. Its a bit of a different assignment as the goal isn’t necessarily to get perfectly composed and beautiful photos. Its more of just getting some pictures. These shots are then pored over by the team and coach to see where they…well, aren’t in sync, because if they aren’t, they lose marks. But I’ve mentioned that before.

I used my Fuji X-T1 with its new autofocusing magic and the 16-55 f2.8 to grab a bunch of images.

It was a longer practice with lots of review and instruction. During one of the breaks in the skating, I saw and shot this photo of the line of water bottles. I will shoot from the player’s bench side of the rink – typically in the penalty box – because there is no mesh that gets in the way of the focus, so all I had to do was lean out. Thanks to the LCD view, I could extend my arms a bit farther out and still see what I was composing.

XT014560

Synchronized World

I have mentioned before, that my girlfriend is a synchronized skater. A team of between 16-20 skaters basically dancing on the ice.

Last weekend was the world synchronized skating championships in Hamilton, Ontario. Being only a short hop down the 401 from Ottawa, and my hometown of Dundas (meaning a place to stay), we took it in. Now, I watch the amateur competitions each year, and am very impressed with what I see. So imagine how it was to take in a world class competition. It was awesome.

I brought along my X-T1 and my longest lens, the 60mm in hopes of catching some of it. I don’t have anything extremely telephoto, which is a good thing, because they wouldn’t allow big lenses in. The 60 did a good job. Getting shots at ice level is tough enough, but in the stands even more so. All photos were processed and cropped in Lightroom.

The costumes are always interesting as a part of the interpretation of the music. I don’t recall which team this was, but I’m feeling Latvia.

XT013093

XT013113

I think a lot of the spectators were synchro fans and skaters. When team Canada came out, the crowd went crazy. They knew the team and the costume.

XT013121

There were two Canadian teams. I don’t recall which one this one was, but they did a fantastic job in the short program.

XT013150

The United States had two teams as well. Hamilton being fairly close to the United States, there was a decent contingent of American fans on hand.On the Saturday for the long program, one team did a fantastic performance. It brought my girlfriend to tears of emotion, and a standing ovation from the Canadian spectators. Sadly, then didn’t end up with a medal. It was an outstanding set. The photo below is their stance at the beginning of the long program.

XT013203

In the end, the home team won by fractions of a point, followed closely by the Finnish team, and the Russian team.

XT013219

I can’t think of many other things that raises ones pride in their country than a sporting event when there is a large crowd waving flags and cheering. It was great to see not only the Canadian fans, but the Americans, and a large contingent of Finnish fans as well as others.

And it was fun as we left the venue, to see the various team skaters trading flags and mementos of the weekend. Particularly the Russian skaters as they collected Canadian flags, and begged for red and white scarves and hats.