Sports Photography & Michael VargaThursday, June 22, 2006
Sports photography has never been one of my strong suits. Luckily I was never asked by any magazine to shoot indoor basketball. I believe it must be extremely difficult. Magazines have assigned me in the past to shoot female rugby games, golf and hockey many times. It was the great American sports photographer Neil Leifer who best explained the problem. He pointed out that he had access to any kind of equipment including some special Canon cameras with motor drives that shot at 15 frames per second. Leifer said, "I noticed that the best picture was always between frames." Leifer understood that you have to be familiar with the game, its peak action and know instinctively the shutter lag of your camera. This is the period of time between the pressing of the shutter button and the exposing of film or sensor. The photo I include here came about because of advice from my friend Michael Varga who has been a sports cameraman for the CBC for at least 34 years. He is the best there is. When I ran into him at a hockey game at the Canuck's Coliseum (this one taken in 1983 has Roger Neilson at top left)I asked him where photographers never went. He looked up into the rafters.