Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gymnastics Photography

Good evening everyone. I know it's a late post today, but I had a really busy day. Enough about my day, lets get to some photography. I want to talk a little about sports photography, specifically, Gymnastics. The shot you see above was from a Three day event held here in Cincinnati at the Duke Energy Center. I literally took thousands of shots during this event. This being one of my favorites. This girl was a level 10 which is the last step before trying out for the Olympics. Anyway on to the technicals. This shot was done at ISO1600 f/2.8 1/350 of a second. I really like the freezing effect. All of my gymnastics work is done with the fastest glass possible. Usually my 70-200 2.8 or my 17-50 2.8.

The key to photographing the "beam" is timing. I always follow the competitor from start to finish with the camera to my eye. I start with a tight head shot when they "salute" the judges. I then have a few seconds to get to the opposite end of the beam from where they start. I find that this is the best place to get a good angle of the entire beam and they always dismount at the opposite end from where they mount so you want to be on this end to get the finish. The key shots to make sure you get are the splits in the air like in this image, and the back flip on the beam. These are the "money shots" that the parents want to see and buy.

Shooting the floor is a whole different ball game. You have to be all over the sides of the floor. Make sure to know where you are standing in respect to the judge. You never want to go in front of them. There are lots of possibilities for great shots when shooting the floor. I have found the best way to get good shots is to watch one or two routines and figure out where they will be. I use my 70-200 2.8 so that I have the focal length to get the close ups. You will undoubtedly want to try to catch them in mid air when they do their running tumbling routine. Don't bother. You won't get any usable images, and you'll waste space on your card.

The other events don't offer enough "good" shots to sell to parents so I don't bother. Stick to these two events, and my tips and you'll do well and sell plenty.

Again, that's it for me today. I'll see you tomorrow. We're going to talk about some specific photoshop tips. See ya then! Jason

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