Sports Photography

December 11, 2010

I've embarked on the volunteer assignment to serve as an official photographer for my son's wrestling team. I've been taking pictures of my sons wrestling now for about 9 years, but this time I'm trying to capture all the team and tell a story for the end-of-year slideshow.  The first meet I was at last week had a commonly used lighting scheme of a single overhead spotlight that leaves the gym dark except for the wrestling ring. I think it is meant to enhance the intensity of the experience, and maybe intimidate the other team, but it presented some challenges to me as a photographer. I don't want to have a flash going off in the boys eyes right at the edge of the ring, so I have to use my settings to get enough light. Fortunately, I have my super-fast 70-200 f/2.8 so I knew I could get great close-ups and action, but in that hideous light, I still had to ramp my ISO all the way to 6400. So, I'm going to run with it and just love the grainy, newspaperish look that these photos have. Today's meet was lit normally so I have all sorts of shots that are much brighter.  By comparison, even though the first ones are grainy and dark, they can't be matched for drama and interest. The bodies become the story and the shadows create an intimacy that the more typical ones do not have. So, it will be good to have a combination, even though it will stretch my camera to its limits.

 What I learned from these shoots:

  • Wrestling photos aren't necessarily going to be beautiful to anyone but a wrestler. Those singlets. Those body positions. I know.  I'd like to take at least a few shots that can transcend the esoteric nature of the sport and be self-explanatory and of interest to anyone. 
  • I will need to use wider apertures to be able to lower the ISO a bit and get better quality. I will be able to de-noise some in photoshop, but I don't want to lose detail. So, I'll need to get better and better at quickly finding my focus and being precise even with a limited focal plane. 

1 comment

  1. My bro almost exclusively does sports photography, and seriously, I wouldn't know where to begin. I think I might do some races with him in the summer, but indoors? Yikes. These look great! Good luck!


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