Superimage Media's Weblog

Category: Swimming

SA Senior Nationals 2010

From tomorrow till 19 April I’ll be covering the SA Senior National Swimming Champs at Kingspark Pool in Durban. Seeing that Swimming is my favorite sport to photograph I’m looking forward to the event and will post a few images later this week.

Here a few of last years photos.



George du Rand

George du Rand smashes the 200m backstroke world record today (7 November 2009) in a time of 1min. 47.08sec in Moscow Russia at the Fina/Arena World Cup Swimming event.

The old record was held by Markus Rogan of Austria. His world record time was 1min 47,84sec.

Here an image of George that i took at the African leg of the Fina/Arena World Cup swimming on 17 October 2009 in Durban.

George BlogGerhard

FINA World Cup Swim 2009

16-17 October 2009 Durban hosted the South African leg of the Fina World cup short course swimming champs. Therese Alshammar of Sweden was the big star with two world records to her name in the 100m IM and the 50m Fly events.

I went to the event with the attitude to really try and took as many shots that isn’t the normal straight forward action shots and really got away with some amazing images. These image can be viewed on

Here an image of Jessica Pengelly, South African swimmer. i used a shutter speed of 1/40 sec to get the result.


A documentary image of photographers Anesh Debiky, Christiaan Kotze and Steve Haag. I don’t know what the difference is between normal images and documentary images but know when i see it. Maybe it is the story telling effect .


Sometimes even something getting in the way can produce some interesting photos.


Here the  TV camera Crew in action at 1/30 sec.


More images on


Two new world records in five minutes

Cameron  vd Burgh and Roland Schoeman sets up new world records at the SA National Short Course Champs in Pietermaritzburg today the 8th of August 2009.

First Cameron won the 50m Breast stroke in a time of 25.43 sec and right after this event Roland won the 50m Butterfly in a time of 20.30 sec.

After his second world record for the night in the 100m breast Cameron had this to say;

“When I swim in the FINA/Arena World Cup series I get US$ 10 000 every-time I break a world record, so I am actually making life difficult for myself by taking so much time off the world marks here in Pietermaritzburg, but it just proves that I swim for the passion and its not always about the money,” said van der Burgh.

“It’s not like athletics. I can’t raise the bar a centimetre at each event. I can’t control speed according to fractions of a second. I just have to race as fast as possible.”

“I am in good form now having come to KwaZulu Natal straight after the FINA World Championships, and with the African leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup happening in Durban from October 16-17, I will have to see how my form is then. But the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durban is more conducive to fast times.”

“The swimming pool there has touch-pads on both ends of the pool. Here in Pietermaritzburg, there are touch pads only at one end, and I am slipping a bit on the wall when I do the turns at the other end which probably costs me around 0,2 secs in a race.”

Here images of Cameron and Roland celebrating their world records. Photos taken with a Nikon D3 and a 400mm F2.8 lens.

Cameron Blog-20

Roland Blog - 20Gerhard

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Don’t lit it all

Joe McNally wrote in his book “The Moment it Clicks”  that one way to keep a persons interest when looking at your images is not to expose the whole photo with the same amount of light. He also wrote that “if the light falls let it  fall in your favour” Well this is much easier said than than. Most of the time one must make use of strobe lights and all sort of tricks to sort it out. 

But sometimes mother nature just helps you a little bit. In the next image of Kerry Mullin at the SA Short course Champs in Pietermaritzburg a beam of light shines through a opening in the roof and just gave this little beam of light on her face.

Taken with a Nikon D3 and a Nikon 400mm F2.8

Mullin BlogGerhard

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Jessica Liss – SA Short Course Champs 2009

I took this image of Jessica Liss today at the Telkom SA National Short Course Swimming Champs in Pietermaritzburg. To get this effect of speed and motion in photography one must use a slow shutter speed on your camera. The type of sport,angle and how much movement one wants in the picture determine the shutter speed. To get the effect you want you must just play around and experiment till you get it right. I used a Nikon D3 and a 400 mm F2.8 lens to take this shot.

When taking the photo one must move the camera very smoothly with the action and press the shutter while moving the camera.

Settings on the Camera:

Shutter: F14

Speed: 1/40 sec

ISO: 400

Jessica BlogGerhard

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Cameron vd Burgh – 26,67 sec.

Cameron vd Burgh won the 50m Breastroke in a World Record time of 26,67 sec today at the 13th Fina World Swimming Champs in Rome Italy. Cameron described the moment as the greatest of his life and said that he new he had the gold from moment he dived from the starting blocks.

Here a photo of Cameron that i took in Durban three weeks ago during the Speedo Prestige Gala. I used a Nikon D3 and a 400mm F2.8 VR lens.

Cameron blogMore images of Cameron on


Lyndon Ferns – 51,69 sec.

On 12 July Lyndon Ferns set up a new SA record in the 100m Butterfly event at the Speedo Prestige Gala in Durban in time of 51,69 sec. I got a few shot during the race at different settings.

The first image is shot just after the 50 m turn which show a classic Fly photo. Taken with a Nikon D3 and 400mm F2.8 lens set on aperture priority an the settings were as follow.

1/800 sec.


ISO; 5600


After this i switched to Shutter priority to get the next pan shot as he passes me. The settings were as follow;



ISO: 400


Then i switched back to Aperture Priority get some celebration shots after the race. The settings were the same as the first photo. Just one tip. Set the shutter speed at which you want to shoot at when you Switch to Shutter Priority before the race because there won’t be time during the race for that.

You can use this technique in any sport to get free zed images and panned photos in the same race or movement. On the D3 it’s very easy. When you’re in aperture priority just press in the mode button and turn the main command dial one step to the right or anti-clockwise. It will then be in Shutter Priority. If you press in the mode button and turn the command dial one step to the left or clockwise it will be back in aperture priority.


Then i made this layout in photoshop to add a bit of flavour.

Speedo-01 blog


Speedo Prestige 2009

The Annual Speedo Prestige Swimming Gala started today. All the big names in South African Swim like, Gerhard Zandberg,Cameron vd Burgh,Kathryn Meaklin,George du Randt, Chad Ho and all the rest are here putting in some last preperations for the World Champs in August in Rome.

Here a image of Gerhard Zandberg during his warmup. I went up to him and ask him if i can take a couple of shots. He took two starts and i came away with this image taken with a Nikon D3 and a 10,5 mm F2.8 Lens.

Gerhard Zandberg01

This image of Mike performing with his Air Guitar during the opening ceremony. Mike is the owner of the Tuck Shop at the Kings Park Swimming pool and a real legend in swimming circles. Air Guitar by the way is a massive art/sport over seas and they also got a world champs being held every year. Photo taken with a Nikon D80 and a 17-55 mm F2.8 Lens.

DSC_0015BlogSwimming galas not only produce nice action shots but there are also opportunity’s for great portraits.  Here a image taken before a race when the swimmers waiting for the race to start.

2409 003The next photo i took after a race. When a event got overhead starts the swimmers that finished the previous race have to hang on the lane ropes till the next race have started before they may get out of the pool.

2413 331bEven lane ropes with the right lighting can make nice photos.

2415 002At the Kings Park Swimming Arena in Durban there are a lot of glass windows which let in some available light. At certain times of the day one can get some special effects from this by using it as a spot light or even as backlighting. Here such an photo taken at the start of a race.

2415 004Another image taken with some available light coming through a window. Legendary Sports photographer Walter Looss Junior once said that his best photos he didn’t took at the Olympic games and at World Cups, but rather at small events or even in Mexico taken pictures of kids playing soccer and softball in the streets.

2415 019


Fly Photos

The fly event in swimming are always a challenge. In the first place your timing have to be spot on. There is only a fraction of a second where the hands of the swimmer are out of the water and his or head is up so one can see there faces clearly.  

What concern the angle it is a matter of taste.  The most common angle is the one right from the front where i prefer a angel slighty from the side which prevent the photo to become to much a panoramic tipe of photo.

The photo below i took on 7 March 2009 at the SA primary Schools Aquatic Champs in Germiston Johannesburg. I used my Nikon D3 and a 600mm F4 lens.