Taking photos of people doing any kind of sport always has its difficulties. However, it’s often very rewarding. Water sports are normally my favourite and I think that’s because the water plays an interesting role in the aesthetics of the image. Water shapes itself and picks up colour really dynamically, while at the same time it’s impossible to predict what it will do, so very often you get images you wouldn’t expect.
In this case we were in Trafalgar, in the south of Spain, with wind gusts of 80km/h. The conditions for the windsurfers were ideal, as for the photographer; just put on three layers of clothes, including a winter coat, and I could just about deal with the weather. Despite usually being a warm area of the country, the wind can be very cold here, decreasing the apparent temperature greatly.
Windsurfers were sailing closer to the shore, and on the way back into the sea they would pick up speed and jump over the incoming waves, using them as a ramp. As with any sport, everything happens really quickly, so if you don’t want to miss any potential images, you need to have your camera ready to shoot at any moment. This means that when something ‘amazing’ is happening you need to trace your subject in the viewfinder and keep focusing on it. Anything could happen at any time and you don’t want to miss it.
Focus, shutter speed are the key for getting a sharp image.
I always have in mind that focusing on the sport is really important, and this time wasn’t an exception. Because the subject is moving towards you, or further away from you, so fast, the time between when you focus and when you actually press the shutter button can be crucial. Leave 1 second between focusing and taking the photo and your subject will be out of focus already. Bad.
Also, using a fast shutter speed will help you. To freeze the subject and the water here I was making sure I was shooting at at least 1/800th. In sport, things always happen faster than you might think.