A Leap of Faith
Gymnastics is a tough sport. You practice long hours in the gym learning the basic skills. Then you put those skills together, again during long hours in the gym, to learn simple routines.
If you stick with it, then you try the simply skills and basic routines out while trying to maintain your balance on a 4" wide (100mm) piece of suede covered wood.
Trying to photograph a gymnast is like using a camera for the first time. You may try really hard, but wind up without a lot to show for it.
Gym meets are usually held in poorly lit spaces. Spectators are typically kept toward one end of the gym, it would seem as far from the competition as possible. No flash is allowed. The action is fast, and often unpredicatable, and even the best camera equipment is of little help.
This photograph is one of the "best of the worst" from about 400 shots I took at the "Winter Blast Invitational Gym Meet", held this past weekend in Woodstock. GA.
This was shot using a Canon 20D, ISO 3200 (I told you it was poorly lit, right?), 1/400 and f2.8 using a Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS/USM lens, handheld. Oh, while apologizing to another dad and two moms for blocking their view. See, there are 3 others events going on simultaneously (bars, vault and floor).
The good news is hard works pays off, at least if you're a gymnast. GizmoGrrl placed 2nd in this balance beam event and went on to win "All Around Champion" for this gym meet -- for earning the highest total score for beam, bars, vault and floor exercise.
There are 5-6 other gym meets this season. The next meet is in Tucker in February. Let me know if you want to go take 400 or so shots of totally unpredictable, fast moving action, in near darkness.
It's fun. Really.