Last weekend was busy. Both the UIL state wrestling and swimming championships were held in Austin on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday I was booked all day to shoot swimming for 1st Photo Texas, who shoots for UIL (more on that in the next post). Friday I was assigned by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung to shoot three of their athletes at the wrestling finals.
If you’ve ever been to a large wrestling meet, you know that if you’re there only to watch three athletes, you’ll have a lot of down time. So, since I already had a pass, I asked around to see who else might need some photos. I got a call from The Facts newspaper in Clute, TX, and they needed some shots of one of their athletes, and the Statesman sent me a list of over 40 athletes they were interested in. I made a list of each athlete and what match they’d be in during the first round.
The shooting part went perfectly. I got there, got my pass and started shooting. This competition is set up with a block of six mats, so six matches could happen at the same time. Each match number is displayed on a portable score board in one corner of the mat, and the next match number to occur on each mat is displayed at the corresponding judges table.
I had to keep my list handy and my eyes open to see which match was next and where. Since I was sometimes shooting more than one match at a time, I positioned myself somewhere in the center, so I could see four matches at once. Sort of like this drawing…
I didn’t get every match that the Statesman wanted, but they didn’t expect me to. I did my best and got most of them, though.
So Ashley, let’s see some photos. You got it! Here are some of my favorites.
I stuck with my D700 with my 80-200mm f2.8 lens. The reason, other than the 80-200mm is just about the perfect lens for this situation, is that the D700 can reach ISO 6400. The lighting in the AISD Delco Center is less than ideal. So to get a fast enough shutter speed, you either need to crank your ISO to 6400 or bring in a flash on a stand. I had a lot of moving around to do, so I chose the high ISO over messing with a flash and a light stand.
After the first round for the boys and girls, I left to process and turn in my images. That took longer than expected. I guess I’m not used to working for three papers at the same time. Each paper needs something different – caption style, by-line, image routing number, etc. – so I ended up having to re-write the file info for some images several times. Thankfully, the first round ended early enough that I got all of my photos where they needed to be with plenty of time to spare.
Anyway, just in case you want to see even more wrestling, click here to see a gallery on the Statesman’s web site.
Come back Wednesday afternoon and I’ll tell you all about UIL state swimming finals.