World Championships London

15 02 2010

Some observations from the  World Championships for Artistic Gymnastics held in London during October last year. I have been covering gymnastics now for over twenty years and this was one of the best major championships that I have attended. Both the written press and photographers were well looked after.

I was lucky enough to be allocated a position inside the podium. Being close to the action meant  I could use a Nikon D3 and a 200 f2 AFS Nikon lens.This proved to be a great combination.The light was good.I was getting 1/1000s at f2 1600.Using a Nikon D3 at this film speed produced virtually grainless photos.

I was primarily shooting for British Gymnastics,so during the early part of the Championships I was concentrating on Team GB.What progress our gymnasts have made in the past 10 years.Competing with the worlds best,winning Gold and Silver medals,both on individual  apparatus and in all round competition.Beth Tweddle pictured at the top of this page is truly a world class gymnast and an inspiration to anyone wanting to take up the sport. Pictured above is Daniel Keatings another GB World Class gymnast.Daniel took all round silver at these Championships.

The Championships last for seven days,second to the Olympics in Athens,this was hard work.Twelve hour days are common.Photos have to be filed quickly after the event if they are to make the daily papers.I use the following equipment to file the photos to various picture desks.

Mac Book Pro with a 15 inch matt screen

Firewire card reader(quicker than a USB)

Photo Mechanic to browse,caption and select the photos

Lightroom to make any adjustments

Mobile Broadband to send the photos

Camera equipment for gymnastics includes the following:

Two Nikon D3 camera bodies

Nikon 200 f2 AFS Lens

Nikon 300 f2.8 AFS Lens

Nikon 70-200 f2.8 AFS Lens

Nikon 28-70 F2.8 AFS Lens

Shooting these championships from inside the podium can be an advantage.No scrummaging with other photographers to get the best positions and free access to almost anywhere on the floor area.No excuses then to get good images.

One of the things that never fails to amaze me is the sheer athleticism of top class sportsmen and women. Just look at the height of this gymnast as she performs a split leap on beam. Taken with a Nikon D3 with a 200mm Lens at 1/000 second at f2.I bought this lens Nikkor 200 f2 AFS after the Athens Olympics.It is a super sharp lens and one of the best I have used. It is ideal for indoor sport.The image above represents a ‘peak of the action’ photo.

This following photo shows a different moments from the Worlds.The photo shows American gymnast Rebecca Bross who was beaten into second place in the all round finals by fellow American Bridget Sloane. Rebecca was leading the competition with one piece of apparatus to go.Here she waits to go on floor knowing that she only needs to perform without any major errors to take the title of all round champion.

All in all a great championships and a good test for the 2012 Olympics which will be held at the same venue. Images from the event can be viewed and purchased at the following link:

http://www.photoshelter.com/c/u0000fpbizfqgfes/gallery-collection/World-Championships-London-2009/P0000ZgBJtb98zEA

Alan Edwards  www.f2images.co.uk



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