Shooting A Group Gymnastics Competition

Slave To The Rhythm

Attended a gymnastics competition last weekend, the Total Gym International Gymnastics Tournament 2017 (6th Edition).  I was there on Day 2 of the competition, where my daughter and her team took part in the team competition. Unfortunately, her team did not win any medals on the day, but they certainly put up a worthy and gutsy performance, and had fun and exposure participating in an international event.

A Roaring Performance

From my experience shooting a number of these events at different venues, a key aspect I find in getting good shots of the gymnasts is finding suitable spots, getting sufficiently close and planning the shots to minimise any background clutter (e.g. unnecessary details, awkward line formations, bright light sources, etc.) which distracts the viewer from the main subject of interest – the gymnasts.

Waiting For The Cue

Another equally challenging aspect, at least for me anyway, is photographing the gymnasts when they are going about their routines with a camera which is ‘slow’ to acquire focus when the action picks up (GAS for X-T2 🙂 ); but then again, if it’s easy, then where is the sense of achievement and satisfaction of getting the shot ;). Preempting a routine’s ‘sweet spot’s, manually pre-focusing on them, and wait for the action to ‘land’ works wonders at times.

Cats

That’s how I went about getting some of the shots posted here of the competitors on the day, working the venue, understanding and working within the limitations of my gear and doses of luck :). Hope you enjoy the selection, the gymnasts certainly trained hard and gave their best in the spirit of the sport and competition, and did themselves, their team, coaches, parents and country proud, surely.

A Picture Of Concentration

Poise

Disco

Ring Balance 1

Ring Balance 2

Passe Balance

March

Pulling It Together

Portrait

Line Dancing?

Out Of Time?

Uniformity 1

Veiled

Hooped

Elegance

Cute

Uniformity 2

Ending Ovation

I learned something new on the day, Aesthetic Group Gymnastics, which was included to the competition for the first time. Aesthetic Group Gymnastics is about prominent and continuous body movement in larger teams, apparatus are not used, and stress more on physical qualities such as flexibility, balance, speed, strength, coordination and sense of rhythm where movements of the body are emphasized in the flow, expressive and aesthetic appeal.

A routine typically encompasses versatile and varied body movements, such as body waves and swings, balances and pivots, jumps and leaps, dance steps, and lifts, with the team striving for by uniformity and simultaneity which characterizes a good performance.

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 55-200 mm

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Skate and Slide

Skate and Slide 2

Riiiiide

The local Fujifilm office officially launched the X-T2 in Malaysia last Thursday at Berjaya Times Square.  As it was on a Thursday afternoon, a workday, I was unable to make it for the launch, unfortunately; but I did attend their follow-up photo walk contest event on the Sunday weekend at the suggestion of Wilson, an avid Fujifilm X-Series user who I have got to know via his blog. To convincingly emphasize and demonstrate the fast EVF and AF acquisition of the X-T2, Fujifilm marketing actually came up with the clever idea of building a complete skateboarding ramp right in front of the the Berjaya Times Square mall entrance and hire a whole bunch of skateboarders to perform their skateboarding routines while Fujifilm enthusiast set about to test drive the X-T2 AF system and give their thumbs up!

Skate and Slide 1

In the Air

Well, why are all your photos blurry then, Ken? Simple explanation, I did not shoot with the X-T2 on test, it was decided Wilson to shoot with the X-T2 for the full ~10mins to get himself better acquainted with the new beast and stand a better chance of nailing a good solid ‘motion freeze’ shot as part of the contest submission requirements (Wilson did get a couple of nice ones within the 10mins), while I kept to my X-E2 and see what I could get out of it. Just for creative fun, I went in the other direction of what Fujifilm marketing expected us to do i.e. manual focus vs. AF, a slow shutter speed vs. a fast shutter speed, to blur the motion of the skateboarders, emphasizing the speed and thrills of skateboarding, skating and sliding, along with the energetic flowing scratches the boards had marked on the ramp adding to the overall effect. Chasing after the action would be impossible given the speed the guys were moving about at, instead I pre-empted the zones where I anticipate action will occur, point my camera within the zone and fire away as the action unfolds.

Skate and Slide 3

Whooooosh

Btw,  I got to handhold and play with an X-T2 for a while, nice piece of hardware, solidly made at a solid stellar price :), very tempting indeed.

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 55-200 mm

 

Ribbon Routine

Eyes On The Ribbon

Rhythmic gymnastics is all about flexibility, strength, body coordination, poise and elegance. It’s derived from various dance styles like ballet, dance and acrobatics with expressive movements and the manipulation of apparatuses such as a ball, clubs, hoop, rope and ribbon.

Keeping It Flying With Poise And Elegance

The ribbon is a single strip of fabric, usually made of satin and attached to a stick. Within a ribbon routine, a gymnasts create all sorts of patterns with the ribbon, including spirals, circles and snakes while keeping the ribbon in motion, without it ever touching the ground throughout the entire routine. If at any point a knot is formed or the ribbon touches the floor, points are deducted from the score.

Swooooooooosh

Voila!

My younger daughter is keen on the sport, recently she passed her ribbon, rope, loop and clubs routines at a grading event to complete her level 1 grading, where I took candid shots of the event and some of participants performing their routines. The ones here are some performing their ribbon routine.

All photos: Fujifilm X-E2 with XF 55-200 mm