Commack High School Varsity Wrestling vs. West Babylon
Commack started their wrestling season off with a win against West Babylon. Way to go guys.
Here are a few tips for photographing wrestling:
- First, get down low. Really low. During a match most of the time the wrestlers will be on the floor with their faces toward the floor. If you're up in the stands you're going to get lot of backs.
- Second, wait for the wrestlers to face you. Unless something really acrobatic is going on (see photo 156) , photos of wrestlers rear ends are not going to get you lots of awards.
- Next, and this is a good thing, you may not need as fast a shutter speed as you think. I'm not saying a fast shutter speed isn't a good idea, but if the light in your gym is not great you'll still be able to get some decent shots. Wrestling is one of the few sports where the movement can almost stop at times allowing you to grab a photo.
- This goes without saying but, as with other sports you should be shooting in continuous focus mode and your camera's drive mode should be in continuous mode also. I prefer to use a single focus sensor and place it on the face of the wrestler I'm photographing. If you use zone focus you risk the chance of your camera focusing on a wrestlers arm or leg and getting the face out of focus. Unless you have really good light you're going to be shooting with a wide aperture which means a very shallow depth of field of just inches. You need to make sure your wrestler's face is under the sensor rather than letting the camera decide what to focus on.
- If your gym's lighting is like mine, you're going to need to post-process your photos to at least lighten the shadows. We turn out all of the peripheral lighting and only use the lights directly over the mat. Back in the "old" days ( two or three years ago) we had giant honkin' vapor lamps. They put out some incredible light but you could see the electric meter spin when they put them on. They've since been replaced with fluorescent tubes, as have the lights in most high school gyms. Much more cost effective but not nearly as bright. So basically, I'm shooting wrestling at ISO 6400, 1/250 sec. @ f/2.8. Now, 1/250 sec. is definitely not where you want to be when shooting sports but, as I mentioned above, you can get away with it in wrestling. You won't get as many decent shots, but you'll get some assuming your match lasts a while. Also, this is the time to use your lens' vibration reduction feature.
- Which leads me to my last tip - don't stress over missing shots, or entire matches for that matter. Wrestling is one of those sports where a match can be over within seconds of the handshake (which is why I always try to at least get a shot of the handshake). If your wrestler gets pinned immediately and they're not facing you you're coming away with zero photos and there's not much you can do about it. As always, take lots of photos; if you're shooting anywhere near 1/250 you're going to have a lot of blurry photos. Plus, you're going to be waiting for wrestlers to face you for a lot of the time. Just remember - everything looks good on the back of your camera. Don't trust your camera's LCD to determine the sharpness of your photo. Also, don't zone out during those matches that seem to go on forever. Guaranteed, as soon as you stop paying attention something interesting will occur.
That's it. Have fun!