Friday, March 25, 2011

Shoot: TGR The Gymnastics Revolution

TGRIn my former life I was a competitive gymnast. What that means is that even after you have completed your journey through the different levels of the sport, it always remains a part of you in some way. For me, the sport remains a part of me in several ways. I teach an adult class once a week at The Gymnastics Revolution (TGR), I encourage my kids to take part in the sport, and still work out to the level that my body will allow.

As much as I miss the old days of competitive gymnastics, one advantage of retirement is that I now have the time to pursue other passions like photography. In an effort to bring my two passions together and also help out the gym that treats me more like family than just some former gymnast who teaches in exchange for a chance to workout, I decided to photograph the gym owner's son. I proposed to make some quality images and print one of them as a large wall cling to display on the gym wall. We would also offer this to other parents in the gym with part of the proceeds benefiting the gym. She loved the idea. Now we had to set up a time to come in and do the shoot.

Iron Cross

The problem was to find a time when I could bring my equipment in without disturbing the classes that are constantly going at the gym. I offered a Sunday shoot, but they didn't seem too interested in that. The solution was to do the shoot on the same day they were shooting video for a TV commercial. So, on that day, I came in with my strobist gear and fired off some images.

The image at the top of this post was made to show off the gym logo. I wanted to exclude his face but include the shaped muscles in his arm and chest. The idea is to send out the message that anyone could look like that by training at the gym.

The Iron Cross image above was the final shot I took that day and it was rather rushed. The video crew was coming to rings and I had to get out of the way. I had an umbrella to camera left and a bare flash behind to give him that glow around the edges. It took very little convincing for him to take his shirt off. Come to think of it, I think it was his idea!

To get the straight on angle, I had to stack some mats up and climb on to the high bar directly in front. Unfortunately I did not line up the mats and the rear flash right, so it showed up in the shot as the flare on the right side. I had no time to fix the lights as the video crew was ready to shoot some rings footage. Fortunately he and his mother liked the flare.

The shot used for the wall cling was done on the pommel horse. I had a main light to camera right in an umbrella and a bare flash on left and behind him for rim. I used a fast shutter speed (1/200 sec) to make the background go dark. This makes it easier to isolate the subject and cut him out for the wall cling. I think it was one of the best shots of the day. He certainly loved it and told me it was the best picture ever taken of him.

That's the kind of feedback that keeps me going!