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Gymnastics photography tips

Laurence Power is off-line
29 August 2014 17:01
LaurenceJPower
Photographer
LaurenceJPower
Location
United Kingdom
Surrey
Esher

As somebody who is now a professional sports photographer albeit specializing in equestrian events (both indoors and out) I would dispute the suggestion to take as many images as possible, certainly using "motor" drive does not guarantee that the peak action will be caught, practice makes perfect, go to some low level events take some shots and find out exactly when the shutter release must be pressed so that the peak action is caught.

Re shooting position, you may not have a choice, if you do, look at where the pros are and copy them, then decide whether to move and where to, a pro knows that the perfect, unique image is great, but we have to get the bread and butter image in the bag to ensure that the client has at least got something usable.
Laurence J. Power


Mike Rhys is off-line
31 August 2014 07:12
tob
Photographer
tob
Location
Europe
Germany
Hamburg

From my personal experience in shooting ballet on stage I can give you the following advice:
- Use a camera that has a really good autofocus and is able to focus with low light, e.g. Canon 1Ds MKIII / Canon 1D MKIV / Canon 1Dx / Canon 5D MKIII or a Nikon equivalent.
- Use lenses with an open aperture of 2.8 or better, 24-70 / 2.8 and 70-200 / 2.8 IS are really good for most situations
- Depending on the available light you might need to choose ISO up to 6400 to get a decent image
- Use shutter priority at e.g. 1/125s or less and disable safety features that prevent taking the shot if it seems to be underexposed
- Use the exposure compensation and select a negative value (depending on the situation it can be -2 to -3) if the overall light is rather dark.



marlham is off-line
31 August 2014 07:32
marlhamphoto
Photographer
This member has been reset to pending
marlhamphoto
Location
United Kingdom
Kent
Canterbury

Quote from tob
....Use the exposure compensation and select a negative value (depending on the situation it can be -2 to -3) if the overall light is rather dark.


That certainly wouldn't produce desirable results with my Nikon. Nor would I expect it to with a Canon...


Neil Anderson is off-line
31 August 2014 09:00
stolenfaces
Photographer
stolenfaces
Location
United Kingdom
London
West London

Quote from tob
From my personal experience in shooting ballet on stage I can give you the following advice:
- Use a camera that has a really good autofocus and is able to focus with low light, e.g. Canon 1Ds MKIII / Canon 1D MKIV / Canon 1Dx / Canon 5D MKIII or a Nikon equivalent.
- Use lenses with an open aperture of 2.8 or better, 24-70 / 2.8 and 70-200 / 2.8 IS are really good for most situations
- Depending on the available light you might need to choose ISO up to 6400 to get a decent image
- Use shutter priority at e.g. 1/125s or less and disable safety features that prevent taking the shot if it seems to be underexposed
- Use the exposure compensation and select a negative value (depending on the situation it can be -2 to -3) if the overall light is rather dark.





There may be some situations where this would give you passable results, but normally it would (as you say) under-expose the whole image. This might work if you have spotlights on the subject but if you have backlight it would be a complete disaster and probably pretty terrible with balanced front/back lighting.
I would have thought that gymnastics or any other indoor sports would be lit fairly evenly and constantly lit (however bad the lighting) and that you would normally get the best results by shooting on manual with settings which suit the particular type of shot you are shooting and the limitations of your camera and technique.
However good your focusing system it will be much easier if you can shoot fast moving subjects from side on so the subject to lens distance is constant.
Like any dealer he was watching for the card that is so high and wild he'll never need to deal another...


Mike Rhys is off-line
31 August 2014 14:00
tob
Photographer
tob
Location
Europe
Germany
Hamburg

I agree it depends on the situation. As always you need to know how to handle it to make the best out of what you are provided with.

Just to show that an exposure compensation of -2 EV works, the stage had a black curtain in the background and a rather dark surface:
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B27_L_KVf5rdMUUxam5URDJEVUE&usp=sharing

There is no correction applied to the images except of white point, everything else is just a straight raw conversion with Capture One 7.
In this case the negative exposure compensation had helped to close the aperture a bit and to keep the ISO between 1600 and 3200.
All images were taken in AE mode. mostly with 1/125s and without flash.



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