February 28, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

In light of the IOC decision to rethink whether wrestling will remain a competition in the Olympic Games, visiting the Rural Provincial Wrestling Tournament held in High River this past weekend made me wonder where their heads are. I've always enjoyed an event that brings kids together in a positive environment like this. Isn't this so much better than hanging out at a mall all weekend?

As I said in my last blog, being familiar with the event one is planning to shoot and familiar with the equipment you plan on using is very helpful. My daughter was a wrestler in high school so I had been to a few tournaments and felt I had a pretty good understanding of the sport. I am still learning about my camera, however, and was unable to make necessary changes as quickly as I would have liked. Although I felt I was familiar with the sport, I soon learned that shooting wrestling is decidedly different than watching it from the stands.

Wrestling is an incredibly intense sport and it was to capture and share a sense of that intensity that was my objective with this shoot.

looking for controlDSC_1083










During the times competitors are grappling with each other, wrestling could lure you into thinking it is a slow moving sport. Don't let looks deceive you, it is anything but slow. The times when combatants are vying for position are a battle of will and patience. Then BLAM, there is a flurry of action and the entire match can be over. You have to be ready at all times because when there is action, it is intense.


How to get out of this?DSC_1044 Wrestling is interesting in that it is a solo sport participated in with your team. You could end up competing against someone from your own squad. DSC_1008 There is a place for everyone on a wrestling team who is willing to learn and train. No one is too big or too small, there might be a smaller number of competitors in a weight category but there will be a category that fits all sizes.


There's no one to pick up the slack if you make a mistake, you screw up and you are most likely pinned. Game over.













A wrestler better have a pretty high pain tolerance because it looks like it could get painful out on that mat.










DSC_0953 DSC_0973





















Matches consist of two rounds of two minutes each. That may not seem like long but even though these competitors are highly trained you can see the exhaustion appear in their eyes as a grueling bout winds down. Sometimes you can see the defeat appear in their eyes as well due to the sheer exhaustion of it all.





















Preparing mentally for a bout can be equally challenging.


QuotesDSC_0992 I enjoyed the quotes many wrestlers wore on their clothing. It says to me that the mental game or the motivational tactics a coach employs may be an important element in a wrestler's preparation.

VolunteersDSC_0993 No tournament is successful without a body of volunteers. This young man was absorbed in the action, better not miss the points signaled by the official!













This shot quickly became my favourite of the day. I loved that I was lucky enough to catch his eyes looking at the ref, "Do I have the pin?" He seems to be asking. Does he?















Gym lighting is certainly one of the major challenges in a shoot like this. I boosted my ISO as high as I was comfortable with and kept the aperture wide open to get as much light in to the sensor as possible, of course then I had a shallow depth of field. I thought the faster shutter speeds that afforded me would help produce good, sharp, stop action images. While that was the case in some of the shots it did not always work out that way.  The shallow depth of field was problematic when I got a blurry elbow or foot but also beneficial when a busy background was rendered less distracting.  I expected a bad colour cast on these images due to the lighting but the camera (Nikon D600) did a really good job with the white balance. There seemed to be a pinkness to many of the images that needed to be toned down in Lightroom.

No one seemed overly concerned that I was walking around taking pictures and I didn't bother to obtain model releases. It was a public event after all but I guess I should have been prepared with them in case I got a shot that was one of those one in a million clicks. Another lesson to take to another shoot.

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time Happy Shooting.

Ta for now, Cathy


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