Gold for Daley in Edinburgh

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 3 Apr 21st

Haven’t posted properly since the last diving event well over a year ago – in fact only ever seem spurred to post diving events despite working shooting stuff all the time so now it’ll be much more regular! Flew up to Edinburgh this past weekend for a 3 day stint covering the FINA/Midea Diving World Series at the recently refurbished Royal Commonwealth Pool (affectionately known as ‘the Commie’). A good venue to get a feel for as it will be used for the Glasgow Commonwealth games next year. Tom Daley tends to be the main draw for both fans and the media at any diving event in this country and this was to be his first taste of Senior international competition since the Olympics….. he didn’t disappoint, ending up with a Gold Medal.

Tom’s competition was on the final day and truth be told, with only 4 entrants, the Mens 10m Platform was quite disappointing. It was Tom’s to lose really with Qui Bo, the diving machine from China, not present, nor Olympic Gold medallist David Boudia from the USA. There were however two strong divers from Mexico and Russia who provided a stern test in the final. Tom was beaten by both in the first 2 of his 6 dives but nailed his 207b with over 100points and then his difficult 109c (front 4½ somersault tuck) and went on to win from there. As is common now there was a full crowd of screaming teenage girls and the event was live on Sky Sports for the first time which just goes to show the interest in Diving is only growing with Daley as a figurehead. It’s a strange crowd because their interest in the sport seems overshadowed by their interest in the man but bums on seats is good wherever they come from!

In terms of images, as with all UK diving venues, it was a struggle! These places are really dark and with the speed the athletes rotate in the air 1/1250s shutter speeds are an absolute minimum… at f2.8 that was giving an ISO of 5000 or 6400 depending on the board in use. The only saving grace was a black drape – give any sports photographer a black background and we’re in heaven! Trouble was you could only use that as a background for the 3m springboard and the 10m platform backgrounds were really, really horrid. I saw Tom go for single practice dive on the 3m and manically got the right lens on and in position to get the above shot. Away from diving action theres a big demand, particularly in the Chinese market, for shots of Tom Daley basically standing around. It’s the sort of work I feel a bit awkward doing because its when I feel at my most intrusive as a sports photographer… we’re not Paparazzi after all! I say most intrusive because you get these images when the athletes are training or waiting around between sessions, and essentially you’re trying to position yourself in the line of sight and shoot away looking for quirky looks, nice details in the face etc. It’s a very psychological spot and you don’t want’t to be getting in anyone’s personal space. You just hope the athletes understand why you’re doing it! It helps their profile too at the end of the day. Again in Edinburgh we were very lucky with the black drape to get some nice stuff of Tom against a clean background posing with his Union Jack chamois. This stuff is gold (and its so important to make images that pay the bills). The clean background is rare at a pool and as close to studio work as you’ll get of the guy now he’s so commercially valuable and his image away from competitions so tightly controlled.

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 3 Apr 21st

Away from Tom and the 10m Competition there was a strong British team. In the Women’s 3m competition Hannah Starling set a new British Record to get a 4th place in a good quality field…

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 1 Apr 19th

This came after Rebecca Gallantree and Alicia Blagg claimed a very impressive Silver medal in the Womens 3m Synchronised competition… The pictures of Synchro were poor because the only shooting position that gave the crucial clean background left too much distance between the divers. During competition the photography positions are very controlled so we’re not seen on TV too often and don’t distract anyone mid dive…

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 1 Apr 19th

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 1 Apr 19th

The Mens 3m pair of Nick Robinson-Baker and Chris Mears also medalled this time collecting a Bronze…

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 1 Apr 19th

In the Mens 3m individual Jack Laugher sadly had a bit of a torrid time of it but as far as I know he’s been working on increasing the difficulty of his dive list so with time and experience I think he’ll get there. (He’s a fellow Harrogate man so all the best to him!). Chris Mears on the other hand did very well to make it to the final but narrowly missed out on the medals. Before his final a few photographers were put backstage in the divers holding area (so as not to be seen on tv – yawn!) and when the female organising staff all gave Chris a kiss top Getty aquatics photographer Clive Rose proclaimed “what about us” to which Chris replied “lets do this,” jumped up and hugged the photographers…… quite a funny moment before his final. Like a bit of banter!! This one’s a Multiple Exposure for a bit of fun (on my second body – D3 – so noisy as hell and totally unusable but hey ho).

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 2 Apr 20th

Here’s Jack Laugher pulling a funny face whilst the spray from another diver kicks up…. thought it was a nice effect

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 3 Apr 21st

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 1 Apr 19th

Oh and the lovely Tonia Couch who managed a 4th place in her Women’s 10m platform final. Great effort considering she wasn’t even taken to the Olympics in this event (harshly!)

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 3 Apr 21st

And finally Tom Daley again with his medal . He’s an absolute pro when it comes to this stuff. When theres a group of photographers trying to get a medal/trophy shot etc you struggle for eye contact but Tom will always take the time to one by one look down the barrel of each lens. Don’t know if it’s conscious or not but its appreciated either way!

2013 FINA/Midea Diving World Series Edinburgh Day 3 Apr 21stLong weekend but although I shoot lots of diving compared to most, that still only equates to a handful of events a year so its always a refreshing challenge in between the steady work in rugby and football. Some of the British divers are onwards straight to Russia for the next World Series Round and then all of them will be going to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and then two rounds in Mexico…… hard life eh?! My next meeting with the sport will more than likely be Barcelona in the summer as long a some deals come together soon to fund the trip. Fingers crossed – it’s a dream assignment… Literally. It’s the most iconic Diving venue in the world and a picture I just want! The pool is outdoors (ideal), overlooks the whole city, and, well, it’s Barcelona 🙂

Rogan

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