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Thread: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

  1. #1

    Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    Hi I am going to my granddaughters gymnastics event tomorrow. I have a D7000 and 18mm-105mm kit zoom lens and a 50mm 1.4. What would work best and no flash is allowed? Some of the event is at the farthest end of the gym. What setting would you use? I am thinking ISO 3200 to 6400. 2.8 and 1/640 speed.
    Thank you

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    The settings you use are totally dictated by the lighting you find in the venue.

    With your lenses you're probably not going to get close in on a lot of the action. Don't arrive and go straight into shooting. Look around and check out what options you have for locating yourself in order to get the best shots. Don't just be thinking about close-up actions shots. Think about context shots - wider angles, shots of the people watching, the coaches, etc. Think about shots of your granddaughter at more middle distance and in amongst her children.

    Think about backgrounds. Try to get an angle that's not going to give you cluttered backgrounds.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    I would think that lower-level (high school, etc.) gymnastic events might be one of the most difficult venues in which to shoot because of the speed of the action and the generally terrible lighting in which the events take place.

    You will probably be consigned to the stands or viewing area and thusly will not be able to get up close to the action.

    If I were going to shoot a venue like this with the equipment you have at your disposal, I would not try for fast action shots. The 50mm will simply not get you close enough for decent shots and the aperture of your 18-105mm lens will not allow for a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action.

    We often do not have a choice regarding equipment at our disposal but, we always have choices regarding what images we decide to capture...

    There are a lot of shots you can get of female gymnastic events without requiring a high shutter speed. The balance beam has many moments when the athlete is completely still, yet is usually in quite an attractive pose. The dance routine also has occasions in which the dancer has stopped and virtually posed. Shooting the vault is probably the most difficult event to capture however, usually after the vaulter lands, she usually strikes a pose.

    IMO, getting nice portraits of your granddaughter in the still poses would be better than unsuccessfully attempting action shots which might very well be blurry due to a shutter speed that is too slow.

    If you can beg, borrow or rent a longer f/2.8 zoom lens (80-200mm) or the 180mm and 200mm f/2.8 prime Nikkor lenses, they might be just the ticket. However, I don't know if these lenses are fast focusing in lower light levels.

    If, I were going to select a Canon lens for gymnastic events from the stands, I would likely select the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii lens. However, since I don't own this lens, I would shoot with my 70-200mm f/4L IS lens, boost the ISO and select shots when the athlete is stopped and posing. If I were going to rent a lens, I might just select the 200mm f/2.0L as my choice.

    One bit of advice... Get to the venue as early as possible so you have the choice of seating. Select a position in which the background might not be too busy and conflicting. This is pretty difficult since the events of gynbastics usually happen in different areas of the gym or auditorium...

    Finally, using a monopod will stabilize your camera/lens greatly and allow for sharper images with slower shutter speeds...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 10th February 2013 at 10:38 PM.

  4. #4
    kris's Avatar
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    Re: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    With the D7000 and a 18-105 (27-160mm on a 35mm) you can take good pictures. As already said most depends on the environment, how close you can get, lighting conditions, how much you can move around to come close to the action etc. Clearly close you can go better the results. I would try to avoid too overcrowded shots.

    About camera setting with the D7000 you can safely push ISO up to 1600 or 3200, with a still acceptable level of noise. I also suggest you to use a manual setting, the metering can be confused if one or more sources of light enters into your composition. Beside, if there is a lot of diffuse light the subject usually is underexposed. My settings, the one I use, is a Manual setting with a speed between 200 and 320. This is enough to have an image not blurred. As f-stop you can set 5.6 or 6.3. This gives you a decent DOF, and a good sharpness.
    Set your camera to continuous high-rate frames shot, and focus on Continuous C mode with 9 active points.

    You should shot RAW, so you do not have to worry if your images are a little underexposed, you can fix the exposure later in PP. Nor you have to fix a good white balance from the start, rather difficult with different types of light sources, e.g., daylight and artificial light. You can fix WB later in PP.

    One more tip, when you frame, always try to put the eyes in focus. If the yes

    I hope this will help you.

    Andrea.

  5. #5

    Re: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    Thanks guys I appreciate it very much. I did get a couple good shots. I need a lot more experience for sure.
    Teresa

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    Re: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    I think a lot of the suggestions you received are great and I hope you post an image or two so we can see what lens and settings you used. I think with limited light and some fast action, it can be useful to use shutter priority. Using this mode, I can play with discovering the exact shutter speeds that I can get away with: 1. to freeze action as much as possible and 2. because the camera will typically select a wide open aperture to get the fast shutter speed. The open aperture will often give the subject a nice pop against a blurred background (as much as possible with a slow lens). Sometimes, noise is unavoidable especially with underexposure. If the noise is not too intense, noise reduction after the fact can really help. So, don't be afraid to find out your high iso limits. I will rarely go as high as 1600 but I have an older camera in the D90. You should be able to do better or at least cleaner at 1600. One more thing: if you are not shooting raw, it is important that you select a decent white balance before the shoot. There are many strategies to accomplish this and it is worth doing some research in this area. Artificial lighting can be tricky. Shooting raw enables you to adjust the white balance to your taste after the fact. You will probably have a lot more chances to play with settings and perfect your approach. Good luck!

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    Re: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    Quote Originally Posted by NewYorker View Post
    Thanks guys I appreciate it very much. I did get a couple good shots. I need a lot more experience for sure.
    Teresa
    Dear Teresa,

    if you have a couple of good shots as your first "gymnastic report" it is a appreciable result. Yes, once you have worked them out it would be nice to see them. Maybe I can show some of mine so we can compare.

    Cheers
    Andrea
    Last edited by kris; 15th February 2013 at 05:23 PM.

  8. #8

    Re: Help for shooting a gymnastic event Please

    Andrea I don't seem to be able to put photos on here. I read the instructions. I will try again.
    Thanks.

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