Its all in the timing

Timing is crucial. Famous Magnum photographer, Henri Cartier Bresson, called it the 'decisive moment' and the name has stuck. For him it was the point when all the elements in the frame came together in one perfect composition. We probably all recall his famous street scene that captured the precise moment when a man was jumping a puddle. He was frozen forever in the air, his reflection skimming off the water's surface. Bresson was no sports photographer but he knew the importance of timing and anticipation.

Even in this age of digital and new technology we KiSHIIB can still learn a lot from the lessons that he and other 'greats' pass down to us. It's the photographer's job to look and anticipate where and how the action is going to unfold, and then be ready to capture it (see Figure 22.1). In a sports context the area where the action will be is fairly predictable, bounded by sidelines, and governed by the norms and rules of the game. In football, for instance, you know, or rather hope, that there will be some action around the goalmouth. The pitch and the game's structure itself dictate this.

If timing is the key then how does a new photographer develop great photographic timing? Simple - practice, practice, practice!

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