A long gap between posts is usually a sign that I’ve been busy. Quite a variety: I’ve been on an expert panel assessing the relevance of environmental research carried out by university professors, preparing a memorial lecture on the contribution of chemical engineering to the NZ pulp and paper industry and, finally, covering the national gymnastics championships as their official photographer.
You may have seen in earlier posts some of my efforts in the lead-up to this event. I have been training at the local gym (photographing, not tumbling) and covered a regional competition here in July. But this was the main event: 500+ gymnasts competing over 4 + days. You can see a few thousand of the images here. Here’s a brief selection:
For you photographers: the lighting in the relatively new ‘Lines Stadium’ in Blenheim was even worse than in our local stadium here in Nelson, tired lights which were cycling terribly. You can see that in the colour variation in some of the shots. Massive colour and intensity swings between shots just 0.3 sec apart! I was using f:2 or f:2.8 the whole time, with the ISO set to 6400. Even then, the shutter speed sometimes had to drop below 1/500, giving some motion blur. I tried to stay at 1/1000 or 1/800. Thank heavens for the D700! I have provided some customers with prints as big as A2 (24×16 in), with good results. There’s some noise present, but it is tolerable.
For several apparatus where it was hard to accurately track the gymnast the whole time, autofocus was difficult to use. For the uneven bars, for example, I pre-focussed on the lettering on the front edge of the apparatus, then took a step or so forward. I chose a 50mm lens for those shots, which gave me a depth of field of about 1 m at f:2.0. I felt it was better to have to crop the image later to gain the advantage of an extra stop (my tele is f:2.8).