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Old Feb 26, 2010, 12:02 PM   #1
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Default What strategies / approach for Gymnastic meet?

Hello, help!


What strategies / approach can everyone suggest to shoot at a Gymnastics meet?


My daughter is going to her 1st Gymnastic meet in April.

I want to try to take some pictures.

We went to a meet earlier this month so that she could see how they operate. And there I watched a couple of guys taking pictures. There, no flash was allowed.


Here is the list of equipment I've gotten ready:

1) Nikon D70s
2) 28-105mm f2.8
3) Handheld Light meter
4) Monopod - although its not really that tall

Just about to order / get:

1) 45 degree - split focus screen



Any help greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
Glen
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Old Feb 26, 2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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I'd say skip the focusing screen, and get a Nikon 85/1.8. You'll be in low light and you'll need a fast shutter speed. The 85/1.8 will let you take shots at much faster shutter speeds than your 28-105/2.8 will give you.

I think the D70s's built-in light meter will be fine, but I'd get an 18% gray card for metering and for setting a custom white balance. Indoor venues usually use sodium vapor lights which have a yellowish light and AUTO white balance generally doesn't handle them well.

I think the monopod won't be necessary. The shutter speeds will (have to) be fast enough that you won't need to steady the camera, and pivoting on the monopod is tricker than pivoting without it.

I'd also shoot in Continuous Drive mode so you get lots of shots and can afford to discard the ones that don't flatter your daughter. Of course, you'll also need some large, fast CF Cards to store the images on.

Is there any chance you can practice for it during one of her training sessions?
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Old Feb 26, 2010, 2:22 PM   #3
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TCav,

Thanks for the reply.

I don't have a Nikon 85/1.8, and I don't have the money to get one. But I do have a manual Pentax 50mm/1.7 lens for my Pentax. I was think of taking that just in case.

Good point about the grey card. I never even thought about that. I'm adding it to my list of things to take.

Good point about asking about the training session. I'll ask this Sunday.

Thanks again!

Take care,
Glen
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Old Feb 26, 2010, 3:48 PM   #4
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Your D70s maxes out at ISO 1600, so with your lens' maximum aperture of f/2.8, you'd probably need all that ISO in order to get shutter speeds fast enough to capture the action.

You should shoot in A (Aperture Priority) Mode (page 81 of the D70s Manual), and keep the aperture wide open. Use Spot Metering (page 75.) Shoot JPEG Fine (page 41) Large (page 43). Select Continuous shooting mode (page 62) and AF-C (Continuous-servo autofocus) (page 64).Get an 18% gray card and use a Preset White Balance (page 52).

And get in as many practice sessions as you can. Shooting sports is tough, and you may need to make some adjustments to your final setup before the meet.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 3:11 AM   #5
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Hello TCav,

Thanks again for your help.

RE: Max ISO 1600 - Yeah. I'll just have to see how much light there is. (Kinda got it in the back of my mind that if its not fast enough to underexpose a bit and live with the noise.)

I actually just got this camera back, and when I did, I actually scanned through the manual again. But I'll definately make sure to go over those pages.

I'm going to a party for a friends daughter's birthday tonight. And of course I'm taking my camera. But I'll play around with A-mode, changing metering mode and preset white balance. At least get comfortable with the camera again.

Thanks again!

Take care,
Glen
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 4:45 AM   #6
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I use something like this for setting a preset white balance. It's easier to manage than a card, and it does double duty.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 4:54 AM   #7
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You are in a touch situation as as most gym lighting is pretty poor where gymnastic events are held. If you are working at f2.8 and ISO1600 then probably expect 1/60s to 1/125s if you are lucky.

I usually need to shoot at ISO6400 and f1.8/f2 to get 1/800s which still gives some blur in tumbles. I'm guessing by the sound of it that your daughter is quite young so the speed will be a lot less which is going to help you out for now. Try to capture her during balances where there isn't any movement to worry about.

Shots like this will work.






But if you want the ability to shoot something like this then you need higher ISO and fast glass (bright and fast to focus).

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Old Mar 1, 2010, 1:10 PM   #8
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Hello Mark1616,

Thank you for your suggestion!

I hadn't thought about going for the poses.

I will definately be thinking about that!

Thank you!
Glen
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Old Mar 1, 2010, 1:11 PM   #9
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Hello TCav,

I checked out that link. That is pretty neat!

Thanks again!

Take care,
Glen
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Old Mar 1, 2010, 4:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacticdesigns View Post
Hello Mark1616,

Thank you for your suggestion!

I hadn't thought about going for the poses.

I will definately be thinking about that!

Thank you!
Glen
You're welcome. I've shot a few competitions and found that the best sellers are the start/end address to the judges as well as any balance. It is only at the higher levels is the form good enough in a tumble that they want to have a shot of that.
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