A fundamental of sports photography is capturing specific, interesting moments. It’s also a fundamental of sports photography that in many cases you have no idea when those moments will happen, and when they do you they may have passed before you have had a chance to catch them in a photo. Which is why sports shooting involves taking several frames a second, and hoping that somewhere in the captured frames there will be something worth using.
Polo is a sport where the opportunities for capturing anything are limited. There are only a few minutes of real action during an event, most of which will take place out of the range of your camera; so when the play heads in your direction you fire away and hope for something interesting. So the increased frame rate of the E-M1 II should lead to more shareable shots…
Popular among players are photos of one player interrupting another player’s shot by hooking their mallet, like this:
They like them because they give them a chance to swear at each other which is a popular polo player pastime.
Of course I can’t anticipate these moments. In fact, looking through the camera I rarely see them happening; but they are good to capture and share, and with the E-M1 II I am capturing more of these and other interesting shots. Let’s look at why.
Here is another hook shot:
And here is the forty two shot sequence that I took, which contained this photo (noted with a red dot):
Shooting at 18 frames a second, the first shot was taken at 16:03:07 and the last two at 16:03:10; so there are 42 photos covering less than three seconds of play. Of the forty two, five of the early shots had focused on a horse behind the lead horse, and two shots were out of focus, leaving 35 usable shots of the lead horse.
These were the frames immediately before and after the hook shot:
At less than 18fps, I might have been left with one of these and missed the hooking moment altogether.
And so it has been with the other interesting moments I have been able to capture, more of them and more varied than before. The 18fps electronic shutter on the E-M1 II (and the improved focus) is a major improvement for my sports photography.
At the end of the last tournament, where I had published about fifty action shots, one of the players asked me:
How is it all your shots are interesting?
Because I take 2,500 photos during an event and then delete nearly all of them.
He thought I was joking.