We had a little family trip to the FINA World Series Diving at the London Aquatics Centre yesterday. It was my daughter’s idea. She bought the tickets as a birthday treat for my wife who had enjoyed watching Tom Daley et al on TV competing at the Olympics two years ago.
I decided to try my hand at taking some photos of the diving. As an amateur, of course, from the public viewing area. No special access, no use of flash, no special equipment.
My attempt to update my camera failed a few weeks ago when I ordered an Olympus OM-D E-M10. The kit I received came with the wrong lens so I sent it back and have not yet sorted out re-ordering it. So I still had my old Sony A100, which suffers from some controls only working intermittently, and the 18-250 lens.
The latter provides reasonable reach on APS-C; the full frame equivalent of 375mm. But the maximum aperture is poor at F6.3. The enemy was always going to be insufficient light.
The solution was always going to be finding the best compromise, particularly between shutter speed and ISO setting. The sensor on the A100 belongs to a past era where even at ISO 400 you are starting to invite noise and I normally regard 800 as the absolute limit. In this case I had no option but to go for a very optimistic ISO 1600 in order to squeeze out a shutter speed of 1/640 s. I really wanted 1/1000 to freeze the action but was never going to get there.
It was very difficult to get usable shots given the light levels, my distance from the action and the limitations of the equipment. When I did get my RAW images into Lightroom I went straight to the noise reduction sliders, used a liberal dose and gritted my teeth.
Not a day for a bumper crop of great shots, but one or two made it worth the effort.