Last fall, Aurora joined Cayuga Lake Seido Karate, first through her high school as a phys.ed. credit, and then later as an additional class two nights a week. Her participation has only continued to grow. Back in July, Aurora joined CLSK for their summer camp at Camp Comstock on Cayuga Lake. From the images that came back, everyone had a fantastic time. I wasn't able to swing time to photograph the summer camp experience (but you can be sure I will next year!)... so when I was invited to photograph this summer's "lake training", I knew it would be something unforgettable.
This past weekend, CLSK held their annual "lake training" event and potluck. The morning started off with an ominous drizzle which we assumed would turn into a torrential downpour. Instead, once everyone was fully immersed in the intense workout in the lake, the rain let up! Everyone stretched, meditated, did punching and kicking drills, self-defense and katas in the water. In some cases, this looked more like drowning than karate, but that was the fun part! After working up a massive appetite, the sun came out as we chowed our way through the amazing potluck lunch. Games followed afterwards, culminating in a water balloon toss that was a total blast!
When time allows, I love photographing athletes in their element. Back when Aurora played hockey, there was something so exciting about trying to capture the moment of a great play on the ice and translate that into an image. Karate is so much harder than photographing hockey. Granted, you don't have to worry about taking a puck to the head while tottering on the player's bench... but the movement in karate is so insanely fast! Trying to capture the grace and speed is incredibly demanding.
My goal with this event was to try to capture the spirit of "lake training". I was willing to trade some of my usual intimate portrait style for more of a group feeling... something that conveys the excitement, speed and FUN of trying to perform kata and self-defense in the lake, in full gi, in the summertime.
Kyoshi Robin giving a fierce kiai! What I love is that you can almost see the smiles on the kids' faces.
Kyoshi Gail...helping a brown belt cool down in the morning heat. Look at those smiles!