Professional photographers are trained and talented people who capture amazing, startling and breathtaking moments. However, even with a natural eye for good photos and years of preparation, photogs sometimes happen to snap a pic in the right place at the right time.
Sports photographers are no exception. Check out these astonishing pictures that can only be chalked up to perfect timing.
Motorcycle Racers Go Down Like Dominoes
Motorcycle racers can hit speeds of more than 200 mph. Zooming around corners on Spain’s winding Angel Nieto circuit in Jerez de la Frontera can prove treacherous, as shown in this picture. The photographer captured Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia falling as he rounded a corner, and the two riders behind him had little choice but to go down with him.
Water Won’t Stop a Bull
Bous a la Mar is celebrated in the port city of Denia in the province of Alicante, Spain. Literally translated to “Bulls in the Sea,” participants lure bulls down the main street and into the sea, as captured in this photo. The bulls are then rescued by special boats.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Super Goalie
A goalkeeper’s job is to stop the opponent’s ball from hitting the net. Although this flying soccer player made a valiant effort, he did not succeed. The photographer caught the goalkeeper perfectly horizontal in mid-air but ultimately missing the ball in a match between FC Barcelona against PSV Eindhoven.
Surfer Didn’t Sign Up for Parasailing
If you have ever wondered why surfers wear surf leashes, this photo provides a vivid explanation. A wave sent this surfer flying high into the air during the Da Hui Backdoor shootout at the Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii. Not only does the leash prevent the board from hitting others, but it also keeps the board close to the surfer, so he can get back on right away.
Pistons Fans Got a Front-Row Seat
For many basketball fans, getting courtside seats is a way to get up close and personal with the players. However, we’re betting these enthusiasts didn’t have this in mind — a player landing nearly into their laps. A photographer caught this image seconds after Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons dove for a loose ball and crashed into the seats. We wonder if the fan saved that drink in his hand!
Table-Tennis Player Kept Her Eye on the Ball
With the ball positioned dead ahead of her eyes, this table-tennis player might look as though she is waiting for just the right moment to give the ball a whack. In fact, Chinese table-tennis player Chen Meng had just served when the photographer captured this moment. The perspiration on her face might have been due to this being a gold-medal match.
He Felt It Before It Happened
Have you ever experienced a fall in slow motion? You know you’re going down and it’s probably going to hurt, but there is nothing you can do about it. Pretty sure that’s how Arizona Wildcats player Ira Lee felt in this pic when he fell attempting a dunk and his feet got out from under him.
Did He Jump That High?
We’re not sure whether someone was thrown, somebody jumped or something else altogether happened here. What we do know is that somehow, Tim Membrey of the Saints tumbled over Caleb Marchbank of the Blues. A photographer caught the two Australian footballers in a tangle.
He Almost Nailed a Cartwheel
In this soccer match in the United Kingdom, two players were scuffling before this photo was taken. As they let lose of each other, one casually jogged away, but the other player took a tumble, and the photographer captured him heading face-first to the field.
Diver’s Level of Concentration Is Fierce
To become an Olympic diver, you must have focus and determination. Acrobatic skills are required, and you have to learn how to splash just enough to please the judges. Perhaps this is why photographers capture photos of the top divers with interesting expressions, such as this one — tongue out, eyes closed, eyebrows raised.
She Definitely Saw That One Coming
Sometimes life hits you right between the eyes. Even tennis champs have to face this sort of thing. For instance, a photographer got a shot of a ball coming right for Romania’s Simona Halep at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, and by the look on her face, she knows it’s heading straight for her head.
A Game of Twister Got Out of Hand
Wait, is that my arm? These basketball players found themselves nearly in a knot. Their tangle was captured by a photographer during the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
This Court Has a Built-in Levitation Circle
If this image doesn’t prove magic is real, then it’s got to be excellent timing. Four basketball players appear to float in midair as they reach for the ball or block one another. This spectacular shot was recorded during the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional.
Apparently, Queen Elsa Was Here
The Boston Red Sox really let it go during this game. A photog snapped this of Christian Vazquez being doused with Gatorade after hitting a game-winning walk-off two-run homer during the 10th inning of a game. Thanks to amazing timing, it appears as though the liquid turns to ice as it flies over the ballplayer.
He Must Be Pinned to the Wall
Catching the ball is a feat in and of itself. Hanging against the wall long enough for someone to take your picture is another. The photographer nabbed this shot at the ideal moment.
His Bat Was Once a Broomstick
When a batter is struck by a pitched ball without swinging, he gets to go to first base. One caveat of that rule is that the batter must try to avoid being hit. In this great shot, Terrance Gore of the Kansas City Royals jumps to avoid the ball, but the timing makes it look as though he was flying.
Do pirates play golf? Maybe not. But this shot of pro-golfer Lexi Thompson looks like she’s sporting a colorful eyepatch. The photographer perfectly captured the moment when Thompson completed her swing with her driver thrown over her shoulder, covering her eye.
Does She Have a Bowling Ball for a Head?
Son Yeonjae is a rhythmic gymnast and a former member of the South Korean national gymnastics team. She placed well in multiple events during the 2016 Olympics, including the ball event. A photographer caught this image of Yeonjae holding the ball between her arms with her head flung back during that event, resulting in a somewhat humorous image.
She Has No Head At All
At least Son Yeonjae’s photo looked like she had some sort of head. In this picture, Olympian rhythmic gymnast Celeste Darcangelo of Argentina performed with a hoop, taking a great leap with her head back and tossing the hoop overhead. The timing and angle result in the appearance of a headless gymnast.
Did Tiger See His Shadow?
What do PGA golfers do when they want to know how much longer the season will last? They wait until Tiger Woods comes out of his hole, of course. This shot of Woods peering over a deep bunker’s lip was timed just right to make it look like Groundhog Day on the green.
She’s Head and Shoulders Above The Others
Some runners are just raring to go. These competitors were waiting to start the Women’s 1 Mile in London in 2018. The photographer snapped just as the fourth runner sprung into the air.
The Force Is With Him
Tiger must have seen his shadow, as he is still swinging. It has been said the golfer has something special, and perhaps we know his secret. Either he learned to master the Force, causing his putter to levitate in the air, or this photo was grabbed at the ideal time.
Is This an Australian Blob Fish?
No, and it’s not the creature from the Blue Lagoon, either. It’s Australian swimmer Andrew Rice coming up for air, and the water has distorted his features. The photographer snapped a pic during the 2017 Australian Swimming Championships.
Cloudboarding Is Trending
Talk about getting some air. This snowboarder really ramped it up during previews ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. This action shot of the rider soaring through the air, where there happens to be a whisp of cloud in the background, makes it look as though the board is sliding down the cloud.
Sorry, This Is My Last Stop
A horse and its rider are one during competitions, such as show jumping. That is until they are not. In this shot, the horse had just decided that making this jump was out of the question. Unfortunately, the horse didn’t let rider Jan Kuf know until the last minute, sending the rider flying over the jump without the horse.