Thursday night I travelled up and stayed overnight with a friend halfway to Sheffield. The next venue for the FINA World Diving Series and my first visit to Ponds Forge the Sports Centre there. I arrived on Friday in plenty of time to become accustomed to the surroundings and was pretty impressed with the set-up and the way the facility looked. Especially as the whole area had been decked out and branded with up to 10m high banners made from my photo’s of some of the divers in Rome last year. They looked (although I say it myself!) pretty awesome.
It was great to bump into and chat (annoy) Rogan Thomson again, a great guy and photographer who is gonna go far in the sports photography arena. The action was brief but hectic with each afternoon semi-final being over in only 15mins or so. This meant getting into position and then shooting with no real chance to move about. As I have become accustomed, the background to the divers is invariably cluttered and its difficult to get separation from it. Light also is difficult and I guess this is a normal problem for sports ‘togs generally, but very much so indoors with minimal external light. We were shooting at 2000 iso and shutters of around 1/1000th sec which, believe it or not is not really high enough for diving. My 7D however just gets too noisy above this iso and therefore a compromise needs to be reached. I was also test driving a hired 300mm f2.8 which made for better shots but much harder camera skills were required. Most of the pro’s there were shooting with Nikon D3s and they are unquestionably less noisy than the Canon’s at those levels.
The evening session didn’t start until around 6ish and when Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield collected their excitingly won 10m Synchro Gold Medals the time was already 9:30pm. My friend and Diving’s High Performance Manager, Kim White was suitably delighted and the attending dignitaries suitably impressed. Well done to him and to Tom and Pete for an exceptional performance. The event was dominated generally by the chinese who do not fail to impress with their skill, precision and utter dedication.
On a side note it was also wonderful to see Monique (Gladding) looking so determined and excited to be getting back. Steve, Mon’s Coach and more importantly, husband, is easing her back gently but encouragingly and it seems it won’t be long before we see her on the competition trail again. It was great to see her carry the flag for the British team at the opening ceremony.
I got back to Oxford where I was staying almost dead on midnight and was glad to enjoy a steaming hot meal and smile when I got in!!