Saturday, June 30, 2012

USA Gymnastics Olympic Trials in San Jose, CA - Women's Day 1

Today was a first for me in many regards. It was the first time that I have photographed gymnastics, and it was the first time that I have photographed a real event with the Canon 1Dx. It was also my first day shooting the USA Gymnastics Olympic Trials in San Jose, CA. It wasn't the first day of competition, but I was traveling out of state and could not return until last night, so today was day one for me. I missed the first day of the men's competition but will be there for the finals of that tomorrow. So...on to the pictures.

I photographed most of the competition from the floor level, but made a good decision to head into the stands to shoot some wide shots to set the scene. I waited for this gymnast to position herself in the middle of the floor so that I could get the name of the competition in the background. 

Honestly, I found that many of the gymnastic events were challenging to photograph. Even with an amazing camera like the 1Dx which captures 12 frames a second, it was tough. Keeping the focus on the athlete as they move quickly around the venue is a challenge.
Here is Nastia Liukin performing on the parallel bars. I remember her from the Beijing Olympics, but after her performance this evening, it does not look like she will be heading to London.

I spent most of my time photographing the gymnasts on the balance beam. I have always been amazed at what these kids can do on this small plank of wood. Crazy, but beautiful!

Most of the photographers (Sports Illustrated, AP...) were on the other side of the beam, but I preferred to have my own spot to try and get something different.

Did I mention that these girls are crazy? :)

Although not the best photo of the night, I really liked this image with Gabby Douglas peaking through her hand.

As you can see from all of these images of Gabby, she provided some great expressions when she was on the balance beam.

Here one of the gymnasts loses her balance.

The floor exercise was fun to watch but difficult to shoot. Again, it was very difficult to track their movement without having the camera focus on the background. I will work on this in the next couple of days to see if I can improve my percentage of sharp photos.

Gabby gives us another great smile after she nailed her performance.

The crowd was really into the competition, and as always, I was looking around to get shots of them.

Then, when the day of competition was over, it was time to head back into the press room to get shots of all of the gymnasts. I did take portraits of each of them, but always enjoy taking pictures which include the press, to show what happens behind the scenes. OK - time for bed. Look for images from the men's competition in the next blog post.

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