THUNDER BAY -- After a life-long career at Synergy North (formerly Thunder Bay Hydro,) Guy Gascoigne turned his passion into a business by incorporating GASP Photographics with his wife Michelle. (GASP is an acronym for Gascoigne’s Action and Sports Photography.)
Despite the proliferation of good quality DSLRs, sports photography still remains elusive for most. “Sports photography is unique, and that’s why we went after that,” explains Michelle. While it is of course possible to capture an image of an athlete in action using a DSLR with a kit lens, or even an iPhone, such images are often marred by motion blur or out-of-focus subjects and are a far cry from what a skilled photographer with specialized equipment can do. The equipment can run into ten of thousands of dollars - and requires considerable skill to use.
What makes a good sports photographer? Having a passion for the sport is a must, but there’s more to it, Guy explains. “You have to anticipate what’s going to happen. You’re panning around with the camera, but your other eye is looking at what plays are developing. You have to see where somebody is on the field or ice or court, and know when this person is getting into position. You have to be able to anticipate where the play’s heading.”
GASP Photographics has taken photos of soccer, football, hockey and baseball, as well as motocross and ice racing events. “Sports photography is a passion. It’s exciting, it’s like a sports itself,” Guy says.
A unique service the Gascoignes specialize in is sports videography. If a young athlete is interested in pursuing a sport postsecondary and wants a scholarship, having a concise video showing the player’s best moments is a must. “They want your bio and stats, but also a video. They want to see your skills, and how you fit in with your team; your personality,” Guy says. He works with Michelle to get multiple angles of the player so that there will be optimal footage of key moments.
In a profession where there is so much competition, the Gascoignes believe they have found their niche market. Guy admits that if he had gotten into the photography business full time much earlier and had to rely on it as their sole source of income, he might have had no choice but to focus on quantity, not quality, but now he has the luxury of being able to devote his time to achieve perfection. “I can be fussy about the images I take,” he says. “I don’t want anybody to ever see a picture of mine and say ‘well I could have taken a picture like that.’ That would be the worst insult to me!”