Commack High School Varsity Gymnastics vs. Harborfields

Commack High School Varsity Gymnastics vs. Harborfields

Congratulations to the Commack gymnastics team on their win over Harborfields.

Gymnastics is one of my favorite sports to photograph. It's also one of the more difficult ones. Like other indoor sports, the lighting is not great and, for most exercises, the athletes move very quickly. Here are a few tips to help you get some decent shots:

For the vault, you may be tempted to continuously focus on the athlete as she runs toward the vault. Depending on how good your camera's autofocus is, this may not be a good idea. Instead, prefocus on the vault pedestal then pan with the runner without changing focus. You need to be using back-button focus to do this, which you should be if you're shooting any type of sports.

For the uneven bars, try to keep your focus point on the athlete's face. I like to get a photo as they jump from the low to the high bar. If you're having a problem with a slow shutter speed try to shoot during a point in the routine when the athlete's movement is nearly stationary. Also, try to get the dismount; tough to do but makes for a great shot if you can get it.

The balance beam is probably the easiest event to photograph. There are times in the routine where the athlete is stationary and these will be easiest to get, but also try for the more acrobatic moves. Try to shoot when the athlete is facing you. The balance beam dismounts are also fun to shoot.

The floor exercise is probably the most difficult to get. The athletes move very quickly and the key here is locking focus before they start and keeping the focus point on the athlete as she moves. Not easy. This will definitely test your, and your camera's, ability to follow focus. Even though there is a lot of fast movement in floor exercises there are also periods of no, or very little, movement you can take advantage of.

As with other indoor sports, when it comes to higher shutter speed vs. lower ISO, choose the higher shutter speed. Use continuous focus and the highest continuous shutter speed you have. The more you practice the better you'll get. Questions? Use the form on the homepage to email me.

Have fun.

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