Last night I had the opportunity to photograph (or a least attempt to photograph) the Universityof Arizona Women's Gymcats in action against Washington. Sports photography is always challenging. As a photographer you need the equipment, patience and timing to do it right. I have the first two - need to work on the last one.
Gymnastics is particularly demanding - these girls move fast. You are not allowed to use flash for obvious reasons - and the venues where this sport is practiced have cluttered backgrounds of bleachers and fans, and are usually poorly lit with ugly harsh overhead lights - just bright enough so that you have to use fast lenses (< F/2.8), high ISO's (> 1250), and fast shutter speeds (Faster then 1/320 sec) if you want to have any chance of stopping the action.
Timing is critical - even with a Canon 1D Mark IIN running @ 8 frames a second - it was tough to get a decent action shot. My 5D Mark II was more or less useless unless you knew exactly when to push the trigger - timing - its all timing. . .
Here is my first attempt (I get another chance on March 12th). All shots were obtained with either a 70-200 F/2.8 or a 300mm F/2.8 lens - wide open and ISO 1600. Shutter speeds ranges from 1/250 to 1/400 of a second.