Action – Kickboxing

Last weekend saw me going to a kick boxing tournament nearby, to support a local team at their first tournament. Back in my distant youth I did a bit of Judo, but this type of sport is not something I have ever followed. The question was how to photograph it? The key to most sport action photography is to understand the game, which helps to spot the action and be at the right place at the right time. Fortunately the turnout was excellent with many teams fighting before mine. It was actually very good to see so many youngsters involved, but parents can be unhappy about strangers taking photos, so I left the camera in the bag until the adults got going. That did give me time to try and gain some understanding of the moves and decide how to do this.

Kickboxing Photography Setup

  • Lighting: We were indoors, in a well lit gymnasium. Flash was not really an option, so it was a matter of what I could do with an f/2.8 lens. White balance was a problem as I could not get a realistic response on any of the white balance settings. Eventually I opted for auto ISO, with the limiter set at 1600 (Canon EOS 60D). This allowed me the shutter speed I needed.
    The Action: Broken down, kick boxing is a series of slow movements, leading into a few seconds of fast action. In “points” sparring, the action stops when a point is awarded. “Continuous” fighting, as the name suggests continues until there is a need to stop the action. So I needed a good shutter speed/ 1/250 s with the ISO set as above.
  • Lens and Aperture: My trusty Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 did the job nicely. As the action moves back and forth it is easy to see a need for something longer, but the f/2.8 aperture compensated by letting me deal with the light without too much noise in the photos.

I am quite pleased with the results, which are shown here with only cropping, i.e. straight out of camera. Roll on the next tournament!


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Tree reflections in the lake in autumn colours


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