Commack High School Varsity Wrestling vs. Sachem North
Congratulations to the Commack varsity wrestling team on their win over Sachem North.
Here’s the basic strategy for photographing wrestling:
One of the good things about wrestling is that the wrestlers can’t move too far. It’s not like a field sport where players are all over the place. The bad news, at least in our school, and probably many others, is the lights are turned down to give the venue a more dramatic look. You can use that to your advantage but it means using a high ISO and a low shutter speed.
For wrestling at Commack the perimeter lights are out so you’re left with five banks of lamps directly over the mat. It’s not much light. I’m shooting at ISO 8000, 1/250 sec. @ f/2.8 using a 40-150mm lens. For the wide shots I’m using a 10-24mm lens at ISO 12,800 @ f/4. So … you need to take lots of photos because most will suffer from motion blur. And you need to take them quickly because some bouts are over in an instant. But, the good news is even with a shutter speed as low as 1/250 there are times the wrestlers are almost motionless so you can get some decent shots.
The upside is the light is very dramatic. The spectators are outside the perimeter of light so they fall off into darkness. To enhance the light and give the photos an arena-style feel I’m using Fujifilm’s Eterna film profile, which is actually a cinema profile, and I’m boosting the contrast quite a bit. I really like the effect.
A few more tips - try to get a shot of the wrestlers at the beginning and end of each bout. They used to shake hands at the beginning but they don’t anymore for some reason, so you need to shoot quickly to grab that first shot. Also, in this match the wrestlers were positioned perpendicular to the crowd at the start of the bout so, unless they were at a slight angle from each other, sometimes all I could see was the back of the opposing wrestler. At the end, try to get the handshake and, if your wrestler won, the lifting of their arm. That may or may not be easy depending on the positioning of the opposing wrestler. As usual, don’t forget the coaches; they can get pretty animated during a wrestling match.
That’s it for this post. Next up is Winter Concert III. Hope you’re having a great holiday and some time off. Have fun.