QUINN’S FAVOURITE THING TO SHOOT IS WATERSPORTS WHERE HE LITERALLY LIVES AND BREATHES THE ACTION. SO WHEN THE HEAVENS OPENED DURING THE RECENT PHILLIP ISLAND MOTOGP THE GETTY SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER WAS THE LAST ONE DUCKING FOR COVER.
Nikon D5, Lens 600ml, F4, 1/1250sec, ISO 400. Photography by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Had Quinn Rooney been able to determine his future, he would have been the subject in front of the lens and not the man behind it.
But while his hobby as an amateur athlete floundered early, the 39-year-old’s career as a professional photographer has gone from strength to strength.
The visual arts have always been an interest for the Quinn, who studied photography in high school before going on to complete an Associate Diploma of Photography at Melbourne’s School of Art and Photography.
Shooting professionally since 1996, Quinn started as a freelance photographer contributing to sporting magazines and clubs landing his first paid job working for the Melbourne Football Club as their official photographer.
“In the early years I shot anything I could from weddings, functions and real estate but I kept persisting with sport on the weekends,” he says.
Nikon D5, Lens 600ml, F4, 1/1250sec, ISO 160. Photography by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
In 2003 he was approached to shoot for Getty Images on a casual basis and just three years later was offered a fulltime position.
This year Quinn celebrates his 10th year on staff at Getty. “My grandfather was a photographer and I have always been into art and graphics, I do feel this tends to influence the way I shoot sport. I am always looking for very creative images, clean backgrounds and lines.”
Fortunate to be able to travel all over the globe for his work, Quinn has shot many international sporting events from Winter Olympics in Canada and Russia, Summer Olympics in London, China and Brazil.
This year alone Quinn has covered the Asian Beach Games in Bali and Thailand, golf in Fiji, Olympics in Rio, AFL Grand Final, Moto GP in Phillip Island and Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne.
Nikon D5, Lens 400 2.8mm, F10, 1/40sec, ISO 100. Photography by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
A relatively new convert to the world of Nikon, Quinn first trialed the Nikon D5 in April this year and loved it. He officially changed in July just prior to Rio Olympics.
“Because I mainly shoot sport, most jobs start with me using the 400mm on one camera and the 70-200mm on the other. However, one of the great things about my job is every day is different, so the lenses I choose may change from day to day depending on the sport. I often have another D5 to use for remote cameras.”
Quinn says his favourite thing to shoot is water sports. Swimming, triathlons, lifesaving and surfing being particular favourites.
Drawn to the effects water creates “from reflections and water droplets to splashes, there is always something new and unexpected to work with”, his experience held him in good stead when shooting for at the Phillip Island MotoGP this year.
Nikon D5, Lens 400 2.8mm, F3.5, 1/1250sec, ISO 640. Photography by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Despite nine prior attendances, Quinn says the 2016 event was one of the hardest years to cover due to the unseasonable weather conditions with gale force winds, driving rain and even hail impacting all photographers covering the three-day event.
Ever the professional, Quinn fired off more than 2000 frames per day and came up with some stellar images that have since appeared in print and online all around the world.
“The plus side to this is the riders also had to deal with these conditions, which meant more drama, action and spills. Therefore, my colleague and I spent more time concentrating on the main areas where riders crash. It is a very big track to cover with just two people, so we usually take an end each and usually try to cover at least two different corners each session to provide a wide variety of action for media outlets to choose from.
“The poor weather conditions made it much harder to do creative shots like pans because the wind was so strong it was hard to hold the camera still in slow shutter speeds.”
Quinn says heading into the event his past experience had taught him where the best spots are and what time of day is best to shoot from a light perspective. However the hardest corners are where most accidents occur.
Nikon D5, Lens 400 2.8mm, F16, 1/60sec, ISO 100. Photography by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Quinn admits he’s not a “big motorsport head” when it comes to four-wheel action but concedes he does enjoys motorbikes.
Fastidious with his preparation no matter the brief, when covering any sports event he likes to keep an eye on the other races throughout the year, checking the points standings to see who is challenging for the championship and who is leading the series championships.
All of which means Quinn has some serious work to do in coming weeks with his punishing work schedule incorporating A League soccer matches, NBL basketball, Cricket and the World Cup of Golf to attend before Christmas and the Australian Open tennis in early 2017.
“I think with whatever sport you are covering the more knowledge you have the better. It’s very important to know what the stories are, who to focus on, who is challenging for the championship and what the newspapers, websites, magazines are looking for from every event we cover.”
To see more of Quinn’s work, follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/quinnrooney13
Words: Tracey Porter