Sports photographer Arthur Ward led a photography workshop in Regina on Saturday. (Photo by Arthur Ward)
Aspiring sports photographers had a chance to learn from a seasoned veteran at a workshop in Regina on Saturday.
“Sportrait” specialist Arthur Ward was on hand at the Saskatchewan Science Centre, schooling interested parties on the ins and outs of what makes a gripping sports photo.
Exposure: in camera and on the field.
Ward’s prowess with a camera is rooted in a lifetime of experience, though not all of it has been behind the lens.
“I’ve always had an interest in sports. Growing up, I just loved going out and being active,” Ward said.
Ward competed in track and field for 15 years and recently did a five-year stint at the University of Regina with the Cougars.
“It was actually when I came to the U of R, that’s the point when my love of sports and my interest in photography merged,” he said.
Ward photographed for the university newspaper The Carillon. Eventually, given his love for sport, he gravitated to shooting the Cougars teams, he said.
Sports photography is rarely a static exercise. It’s fast-paced work, but requires more than a long lens and a machine-gun shutter, Ward said.
“You have to be patient,” he said. “It’s easy to go after the action. It’s easy to follow the ball. It’s easy to point your lens in the direction that everybody’s looking.”
“But if you’re patient and you know what you’re looking for, you can get the magazine cover shot, so to speak.”
Often times, the best photos are the ones none of the other photographers saw, he said, noting that exclusivity adds value to an image.
Taking a risk
He recalled Cougars men’s basketball game a few years back. The game was coming down to the wire in the fourth quarter. Regina was trailing by a few points and the players on the bench were full of emotion. Ward decided then that he’d forget the game and just focus on the bench.
He knew it was a risk.
“When you decide to do something like that, it’s like the universe is working against you,” he said, recalling the anxiety he felt as he missed shot after shot on the court.
Finally, a home-team player sunk a three-point shot and the players on the bench went wild. Ward’s camera immortalized the moment – a victory on both sides of the lens.
Getting to know the athletes is also a part of what Ward does, and he likes to chat with them about things other than sport, he said.
“Believe it or not, by just knowing little things that appeal to them and what makes them click, you can sort of read their minds,” he said.
“It sounds a bit far-fetched,” he admitted, but said that knowing the athletes helps him anticipate their movements on the field.
The workshop was designed as a “collaborative event” where students could take the lead and teach the group about their own approaches and techniques.
“I find, within the field of photography or most creative fields, it’s all about collaboration,” Ward said.
“That’s how you grow as an individual in photography.”