Ryu: Day 3 Figure Skating – Gala

Finally, it’s all over.
3 days of patinage artistique and I feel like I’ve been thoroughly emasculated.

To wrap this baby up, here are the images that I’ve uploaded (the latest start from the lower right corner):

Trophee Eric Bompard 2011 – Day 3

My gala (a fancy word for “exhibition” in the fancy world of figure skating) cherry was popped today and I must say I enjoyed it a lot. Wow, that didn’t come out right. The actual performances were quite lame as I could see that the skaters couldn’t really be bothered and were glad to collect the paycheque. But as you can see from the images, the lights were fantastic. Gone are the monotonous ice and come on down and vomit me some pantone. So much so that I forgot to use my tilt shift. I brought it for 3 days and the only time I used it was to take it out and put it back into the bag. Damn it.

The other important thing to remember is that the performances are quite short and therefore if you want to change positions, you are running around between the performances. I guess I was moving so fast that I dropped my D3 and 12-24 down the stairs, which will allow me to donate more money to NPS than I ever have to any other charity organisations.

For the shoot, I concentrated on keeping things very simple. Capture the action (without blur) and combine it with a striking background. As you can see from the photos (again), there were lots of patterns projected on the ice. There were different backgrounds for each performer(s) and I had to find out exposures, angles, and general tactics. First couple of performances, I shot and checked if the exposure was the one I wanted. Having lights everywhere, but not enough compared to the competition, made things rather difficult. I was hovering around ISO 3200 to 4000. It was a about 4 stops darker than the first two days. Whilst I was trying to figure out the exposure, I noticed that some lights were stronger than the others on different areas of the rink. This gave me an idea to wait for the skater to get to these parts of the rink, making me feel extremely coy and intelligent. I’m so cool.

At ground level, things were different. Quite simply, shooting with the mortals was rather tedious and boring. You don’t really see the patterns on the ice compare to what you can see from the heavens. All you get is an up close shot of crappy lights on the skaters. I shot several of them this way, including the Russian 14 year old. She decided that she was too good for the gala, demonstrating her teenage angst by falling for the first time in 3 days. Simply put, it’s better to shoot from above.

Honestly, that’s about it. If you have followed me for the past 3 days, please go find something better to do. If there is another multiple day event like this, I will definitely love to share with you my awesome egomaniacal experience.

Now, let me get some sleep.


*Please Read Below*
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3 thoughts on “Ryu: Day 3 Figure Skating – Gala

  1. Great series of posts and photos, Ryu. I enjoyed following your daily diary and seeing how you adapted your shooting plan each day. Reading about what shots you were going for made it easier to visualize how the photos you posted were created. Seeing how you worked to get creative in these photos makes the things that you and Matt push us to do in the Training Ground segments come to life. I would not have imagined myself shooting figure skating, but now I’m thinking I’ll go to one of our outdoor public ice rinks this winter and get creative with some night shots and gelled flash. Thanks for the inspiration!

    (Sorry about your camera crash, too. That really sucks.)

  2. Al,

    Just out of pure douche baggery with the guy who owns blackrapid.com, I will NEVER use their product. My D3 has run its course and this repair will be his last. Will wait for D4 to come out and then I will bid my farewell to D3.


    Figure skating is very interesting. I was “What? Figure skating? Pansy sports!”, but then I’m a pansy and therefore it was match made in heaven. I get sick of shooting dudes all the time. There is the elegance in figure skating that you don’t get with men in shorts. And I believe this type of sport warrants something creative and beautiful. That’s what I see in sports photography. Some might agree, some might disagree. But hey, I’m a pansy. What do I know? :)

    In any case, it’s always good to try shooting new sports. You can hate it after you try it, but give it a go. But always think angles with this sport as they go a lot faster than ice hockey. If you managed to get same group of skaters, likelihood of them doing the same routine is high. Memorise where the jumps and spins are and also places where they tend to make mistakes.

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