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Categorized | Articles, Roy Ramsay

Photographer’s Lifestyle — Giving Back (full story)

Story by Roy Ramsay
Photography by Roy Ramsay and Mike Gamble


I’ve spent the better part of 30 years photographing everything from weddings and portraits to landscapes and wildlife. What originally started as a hobby grew into a profitable business that also grew my passion into what it is today. I’ve been very fortunate over the years to be able to branch out into publishing this very magazine you’re reading now. With all the activities I now do with and for photography, I thought it was long overdue that I give back in some way.

©Roy Ramsay
Goalie action during medal round play.
Gear/Settings: Canon 7D Mark II, 100mm focal length, ƒ5@1/800 sec., ISO 160

There are many ways to give back, such as volunteer work, dedicating your time to helping the less fortunate, providing mentorship to young people who can really use a positive role model, or all of the above depending on how involved you wish to become. For me, it came in the form of volunteer work for the Ontario Special Olympics as a photographer to cover the Summer Games. My neighbour, Mike Gamble, introduced the idea to me and together we volunteered our time and covered these athletes as they competed through several events over four days. There were over 800 athletes competing at track and field, softball, soccer, bocce ball and golf, with over 30 volunteer photographers to cover them. Mike and I covered softball and soccer over two days, including the medal presentations. The athletes had prepared all year for these events, training and mentally gearing up for competition, and they did not disappoint. The level of concentration and determination was palpable, but through all of that, the sheer joy of competing was written all over their faces.

©Mike Gamble
One of the athletes heads the ball during a medal round match.
Gear/Settings: Nikon D7000, 155mm focal length, ƒ4.5@1/1000 sec., ISO 400


©Roy Ramsay
Temperatures reached the mid-30’s during the day so keeping cool was both refreshing and fun.
Gear/Settings: Canon 7D Mark II, 100mm focal length, ƒ5@1/800 sec., ISO 250

Photographically speaking, there are some challenges to consider while covering these events. We were the official photographers for the games and therefore were allowed direct access to the athletes and the play areas during competition. Knowing where to position ourselves on field to capture the action while simultaneously blending in took some planning. When photographing the action of softball, for example, I found by positioning myself on the third base side when bases were empty allowed for some great action shots at first base as well as second base. With runners on either first or second, changing my position to the first base side opened up the possibility of action rounding third and at home plate. Capturing batters at the plate can be shot from either side depending on whether they’re left or right-handed hitters. Capturing the action of the game is necessary and vital to the coverage, but what I enjoyed most was capturing the candid moments with the athletes deep in thought, preparing themselves for battle, celebrating a great play or just being playful.

©Roy Ramsay
Safe on first base and dancing to celebrate.
Gear/Settings: Canon 7D Mark II, 400mm focal length, ƒ5.6@1/800 sec., ISO 500


©Mike Gamble
The level of concentration on the athlete’s faces was palpable.
Gear/Settings: Nikon D7000, 155mm focal length, ƒ6.3@1/1000 sec., ISO 800


©Roy Ramsay
An athlete mentally prepare for competition.
Gear/Settings: Canon 7D Mark II, 142mm focal length, ƒ5@1/800 sec., ISO 400

I’m incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of something special this past summer. It allowed me to connect with myself in a way I never thought possible, and was very rewarding. Was it hard work? Absolutely. Was it draining? Incredibly so. Would I do it again? You better believe it!

To read more of this issue please pick up a copy of the Fall/Winter 2017 issue or to never miss an issue SUBSCRIBE NOW!

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