Nicki Douglas-Lee is a professional photographer based in Devizes and gave the club a Zoom presentation showing the various sports events that she photographs both locally and further afield.
Nicki explained that it is not easy being a professional sports photographer and it requires knowledge of each sport, dedication, commitment and often long hours!
With any type of photography, you need to get to know as much as you can about the subject in order to capture the best images. Nicki herself has had experience of many sports and has played rugby, canoed, been involved in equestrian sports and has her own motor bike so has first-hand knowledge of a wide range of sports.
Starting with a local annual event, Nicki showed images of the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race which she has photographed for a number of years. She showed images of individuals and pairs that take part and being a portrait photographer as well, that helps her capture expressions and the concentration on participants faces.
Nicki’s sports photographs are often published in local and national and international publications. Usually there is a very short turnaround so editing has to be kept to the minimum.
Knowing the sports well, she can often anticipate what might happen and capture the moment which may be good look of triumph or it can be bad moment such as a capsized boat or a fall from a horse.
Local ladies and men’s rugby matches are well portrayed showing the action and sheer determination on the faces. Nicki captures the dramatic action and the essence of the game and the interaction between players.
Next Nicki showed us some of the equine events that she photographs starting with horse trials where dramatic images can be captured as the horses negotiate the fences and water jumps. The superb looking horses used for racing and eventing make wonderful images and often the special harmony between horse and rider is portrayed. Nicki says it is all about observation – get in the right place and wait for just the right moment to press the shutter.
Next Nicki showed images of a different type of horse power – this time with wheels! Trail riding where riders have to slowly negotiate a very difficult course over rough terrain and then the fastest sport – drag racing where the bikes and cars can go at 300 mph and you need a very high shutter speed to catch the action! Seeing the variety of specially enhanced vehicles that take part and some very atmospheric night shots was amazing.
To go onto the track, you need special permission and insurance but good photographs can be obtained from behind the barriers. See Santa Pod Raceway for events if you would like to have a go yourself.
Thank you Nicki for giving such an interesting insight into taking images of the sporting world and you have probably inspired others to have a go themselves. PM