Its good to do new things right? as a photographer, shooting something that provides a real challenge can not only teach you that you have more to learn, but also inspire you. Some friends of mine were bowling in the USBC open championships in Reno, so I offered to shoot them. I figured how hard could it be, compared to my sons basketball games. The bowlers are restricted to a specific area, and I assumed that the same no flash rules and capturing action would apply. The USBC has a no tripods rule so I had to shoot handheld.

USBC 2011As with shooting any indoor sport the biggest challenge was the lack of light. You need to freeze the action (at least thats what I wanted to do) so a shudder speed of at least 1/200 was needed. I was not as worried about the background being in sharp focus so I shot in the widest open aperture I could for each of the lenses I used.  To get the images as close to a decent exposure as I could I had to crank the ISO which of course led to noise in the final images.

USBC 2011My primary goal was to get the camera dialed in, balancing shudder speed and ISO. It was then when I just started shooting that I realized that shooting the reacitons of the bowlers after their ball was thrown is as important as the act of throwing the ball.

Not to make excuses, but rather to put this photo into context (this is Joe) the lighting over the lanes is very bright while the bowlers area is extremely dark. While they were throwing the ball it was all good because they were in the lighed area of the lane, but as soon as they walked back towards me they stepped into the shadows. To get a properly exposed shot here I would have needed to slow the shudder speed to get more light on the bowler. Overall I learned a lot about shooting bowling, visually it was of course a challenge, but having my subject in a defined area was very nice. Not having to scan all over the court for a running basketball player  was a nice change of pace for me. As always my wife was a huge help keeping me on the action and letting me know when I was about to miss something.

Many thanks to the guys for putting up with me shooting them, and the USBC staff who were very accomodating and helpful.