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Archive 2013 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

A victory and a loss tonight for Utah as they won the meet but lost their most senior star to an Achilles injury during floor warm-ups. I worked the high-wire by shooting floor with my 200/1.8. I think I'm on the positive side of the costs-benefits analysis. Here are 13 images from just under 1700 taken (and HERE is a gallery on the University website):














Feb 02, 2013 at 07:54 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

These are outstanding to say the least! My favorites are 2, 5, 7, 9, 12 and 13.

Feb 02, 2013 at 12:12 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Congrats on the victory but very sorry to hear about Corrie, Russ. That's a big loss to the team.

Love em all this week, as usual, although this wouldn't be my favorite beam angle. Not sure why. Rockin' the bars though!

It seems that you and the 1Dx have completely mastered vault (in the other gallery). Great shots there as well.

I agree with your cost:benefit analysis of the 200 1.8. It' s limited and it's magic.

#10 needs more context, perhaps.

Feb 02, 2013 at 12:45 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Hey Russ,

Yup the 200 1.8 still sings well! Got to admit the 35mm has really grabbed my attention in this grouping. You have done a masterful job with it creating some really outstanding results


Feb 02, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Rick VB
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Outstanding stuff as always. They are all great but 4, 6 & 9 are fantastic.

Feb 02, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Fish On
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Great images as usual. #'s 5, 6, 7, 12 & 13 for me. Thanks for sharing them.

The link to the other photos points me to a different site(Eliot Management Group)?

Feb 02, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

scorpio1: Thanks for your comments and selections.

Many thanks, Larry. I appreciate the application of your gymnastics-keen eye to my images. Definitely a huge loss to the team. Corrie is the best all-arounder and a team leader. So sad when you know how hard these girls work and how much of their lives they devote to their sport. Regarding beam, I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on the angle. I'm always looking for a different perspective so I'm open to your ideas. I do feel I'm getting better at capturing some decent vault images and a good deal of credit has to go to the AF system of the 1Dx. It's still very challenging to achieve focus initially, but I've got one approach working well. I'll have to see where I can go from there. As for #10, yes, there's no way to know she is dismounting from beam and that anchor should be part of the photo. Couldn't make that happen, so this is a shot I posted knowing full well an important (and perhaps necessary) element was missing. That's how hard it is to find good shots! Thanks again, Larry, for your thoughtful feedback and continued support.

Hey Matt, the 200 is a champion race horse that has spent too much of its life in the stable. It's crazy good, with me as its only limitation. You also are right about the 35L. Only challenge is getting close enough to the action to make the 35 viable, and I'm sure I was close enough to bars to be obnoxious (still would rather have been closer!). Thanks for your comments. Glad you liked 'em.

Rick: I appreciate your choices and comment.

Hey thanks, Jerry. Sharing them is the fun part. I'm not sure why that link isn't working. When I try it, it's still going where it should be going, so there isn't anything I can think to do to fix it.

I wanted to post two images at a larger size just to better demonstrate what the 200 and 35L are capable of.

14. This image taken with the 200 demonstrates for me how well my subject can be separated from a background that has definite distracting elements. They're still there and still have the potential for being distracting, but while I don't have an image taken with the 70-200 f/2.8 zoom to put beside it, experience tells me the 200 prime is notably better.


4A. This is just a re-do of #4 above--slightly tighter crop and larger. Taken with the 35L. I can't recall another time when the athlete's eye color has been evident on a bars shot. Blows me away (as does this athlete's grace on bars).

Feb 02, 2013 at 08:21 PM

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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Fantastic set, as usual, but I do pose one question: I believe the past couple of sets I've seen from you there have been one black and white processed image within a set of 10+. I'm curious why do you choose to BW one image as opposed to all of them/none?

Feb 02, 2013 at 08:26 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Love the intensity in 9 and 10, and 2 is cool with the audience in the BG.

Thanks for sharing, a fine set for sure!


Feb 03, 2013 at 03:00 AM

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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

another incredible set of gymnastic pics !

Feb 03, 2013 at 11:54 AM
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

WOW, nice surprise. Check out FM on a Sunday morning, go to "Sports Corner" and there's Russ with another update!!!

Love # 5, timing on #13 - Perfect, I guess that's called, being at the right spot at the right time.

Great job Russ, thanks for posting

Feb 03, 2013 at 01:43 PM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Great set Russ. All very well executed. Too difficult to pick a fav. Well done.

Feb 03, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Frank Lauri
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Russ....I think I remember that you posted a while back something along the lines of not just showing the same type of shots and angles from event to event. Either way....you are certainly mixing it up and giving different looks. 4, 5, 6, 9, 12 & 13 are my favorites.

Really great work here Russ. Also....PM is working out nicely....still learning but I like it. Thanks for you help on that.


Feb 03, 2013 at 03:45 PM

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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State


Your shots are just from a different world by comparison to what I normally see. Your recrop of #4 with the 35L makes it look like they would have had to step over you if they needed to step in for a spot. It looks like you were basically under the bars. Great shot


Feb 03, 2013 at 06:20 PM
dj dunzie
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Yawn. Amazing.

In seriousness, Russ, once again I come away stunned at how you shoot this sport. You have angles down to an art form, and I think that's what separates your work most times. You have a knack for getting the expression and even harder yet, you capture the beauty and athleticism in the sport at the same time without the kind of images that would make the athletes cringe. Many kudos my friend.

Feb 03, 2013 at 06:51 PM
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

yeah - what DJ said. This is an amazing program in an amazing area.

Feb 03, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Gymnastics: Utah vs AZ State

Thank you, quitalig1. About the single B&W image, I can't say I've thought it through. I do like the effect but wouldn't ever apply to all my images. Just seems that usually there is an image in my final set of potential posters that I like but I feel is missing something, so I'll try it out in black and white to see what I think. I don't have much more of an explanation than that.

Thanks, Paul. It's nice that the seats are filled when they end up in the backgrounds of the images. I agree it also is cool when the crowd is visible enough to be able to see all the eyes on the athlete.

CW100: Thank you.

Hi Bob. Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed them and I appreciate the feedback.

Thanks, gvg45.

Many thanks, Frank. Yeah, I like to mix it up a bit while at the same time trying to assure I get the basic stuff I need each time out. Unbelievably, only 3 more meets to the season! I'm glad to hear that PM is working out for you. I've been using it for many years, but my recollection is that once you get the settings/preferences to where you want them, it's a rock-solid addition to the workflow.

Bill: Haha. Yeah, during the 3-minute warm-ups prior to competition during that bars rotation, I definitely was underfoot since there are a bunch of people adjusting the bars, moving springboards in and out, spotting, etc., all at about 15-second intervals to give every competitor a chance to get up on the bars a couple of different times. Once the competition began, things settled down, and close as I was, I wish I could have been closer. Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the images.

Hey deej, thank you for the very kind words, my friend. I appreciate 'hearing' about what you see as special in the images. I assure you I have plenty of shots that would make the athletes cringe but I do my best to stay away from those. And I agree it's all about that combination of incredible skill, strength and beauty. When I look at that fourth image (or 4A) and think about how high she is, the position and (perfect) form of her body and how she's moving, and then notice that her hold on that bar is so light, just barely enough to keep her from flying out of the arena altogether--that brings it all together for me in the way you describe. This always will be my favorite sport to shoot.

Thanks, Dan. You're right about it being an amazing program with incredible support. Good stuff!

Feb 03, 2013 at 09:54 PM

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