Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Getting the right angle in shooting Wrestling

Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world and certainly an interesting one to take pictures of. I find it gets kind of hectic when you're shooting at a tournament when there are two or more mats set up with action going on all at the same time. I normally try to use at least two camera bodies, one equipped with a 24-70mm, another with a 70-200mm, and if possible a third body equipped with a 300mm f2.8, that way I have all my focal lengths covered. When shooting, I try to get story telling shots of most of the matches, the winning, loosing, happiness, you know the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Guess it's all those years of shooting sports for newspaper and magazines that has taught me that capturing the reaction after the action is just as important.

I try to get vertical shots of takedowns and escapes and then zoom closer, filling the frame to get pinning combos and closer action. Sometimes the ref in the photo will also tell an important moment in the action.

 Be careful, when you're near the mat you start to develop a six sense to know when to drop the camera from your eye and either duck or move. I once had two heavy weights land on top of me. I hurt the better part of a week.

Here's some images that might give you an idea. I shot these inside a gym with decent lighting at 320 sec. at 2.8 with an ISO 1000. Normally, when they set up a single over head flood light for the championship rounds, I set up two or three Canon 550 EX speed lights and use a Speed lite transmitter ST-E2 to fire them.