I spent over two decades covering the goings-on of my local area. While my interests may have been in the arts, and we fortunately lived in close proximity to both the Blyth and Stratford Festivals, I also found myself at cattle shows, political meetings and sports venues. Immersion is an excellent teacher, of course, and through time I was comfortable writing news articles on any of these subjects.
Photography, on the other hand, was a different picture, at least with sports events. Grip and grin I could handle with ease. Setting up a shot to tell a story was something my creative mind enjoyed, But being at the right place at the right time to get that split-second moment was generally elusive.
Having entered the job with a basic understanding of a camera, it was a challenge to cover that fast-paced world and come away, not only with a shot that wasn't over-exposed, under-exposed, or blurry, but action packed. Knowing where the play would be, having the camera focused with the shutter and F-stop set properly took knowledge and experience. Thankfully the latter eventually saved me from spending too much time in the darkroom.
Then we got digital cameras and the game began all over again.
The thing is, you don't need to be a sports fan to recognize a great sports photograph. They bring you to the thrill of the game. You feel the tension and excitement. Actually being behind the lens to take one must be an incredible feeling.
Here are some links that should help you and your camera get in the game:
photo.tutsplus Tips for Taking Sports Photos Like a Pro
Samsung Take Great Sport Photos
photo.net Sports Photography
DigitalPhotoSecrets How to Take Photos of Fast Moving Sports
Photo Technique Action and Sports Photography
DPS An Introduction to Sports Photography
The Globe and Mail How to Take Great Sports Photographs