Welcome to fotosportif photography

A gymnastWelcome to fotosportif, dedicated to capturing the excitement and artistry of sports. Visit my galleries, and hop over to my gymnastics blog, Gymnastics Today (Gym2day.com).

And, again, welcome—after a very long hiatus, during which I needed to rebuild all the galleries I had in another gallery/content management application that crashed so totally that I have to start completely from scratch. I intend to keep steadily adding back the various galleries, so I hope you will check back periodically.

WHO AM I? My name is Jim Bierbaum, and I am an avid amateur photographer (with hopes of eventually moving into the semi-pro and perhaps even pro categories someday) who has also been a lifelong gymnastics fan (ever since watching—at the age of 9—Olga Korbut mesmerize the world at the 1972 Munich Olympics; and I’m thrilled to say that today I am a Facebook friend of Olga’s).  After many years of having to wait for the Olympics to roll around every four years to see any gymnastics coverage on TV, once the era of cable had matured, in the early 1990s I started paying much closer attention to the sport. I’ve never trained, competed, coached or officiated in the sport at all, I’m just a fan. Most of my friends and family think I’m a bit odd to be so nuts about gymnastics; in retrospect, when I started trying in about 2013 to read the FIG Code of Points and Gerald George’s biomechanical text, and when I drove 900 miles from Wilmington to St. Louis in one shot for the 2016 P&G Championships, I guess I can’t blame non-fans for thinking my enthusiasm is a little excessive.  
Gymnast
I enjoy sports photography, and the spontaneity and keen sense of timing it requires to get a good shot as opposed to an awkward, unappealing one, and gymnastics in particular I enjoy shooting because of what a challenge it is to shoot well (especially with some of the dungeon-like college gyms I’ve visited). My first gymnastics event trying to photograph in person was the 2001 US National Championships, held in Philadelphia. I was shooting from the stands with two 1960’s Pentax 35mm SLR camera, with manual film advance and manual-focus lenses. I was pleased to get as many decent photos as I did, but the arrival of the digital photography age has made things so much easier and cheaper in some ways (cost of kit aside, pics are on reusable memory cards, so there’s no cost for film or processing).

I live in Delaware, so the events I shoot involve the colleges and clubs within reasonable distance (you’ll find plenty of photos from Hill’s Maryland Classic and Parkettes Invitational, and the colleges in the region. In addition to the 2001 Nationals and dozens of NCAA meets, I’ve been to the 2008 Olympic Trials and US Nationals in 2014-2016 (plus the 2016 Secret US Classic). But, regarding recent Nationals and the Secret, you need to have a press credential to bring a decent camera into events like that, so the number of decent photos from those events is very small.
Gymnast
I have, of course, been a booster of fellow Delawarean Morgi Hurd since 2014 when she was a relatively unknown junior and had started getting some local press coverage and was catching the attention of the gymnastics world. Her World Championship in 2017 was a delightful surprise (I predicted her for the 2020 Olympic team back in 2014, but I didn’t expect her to become a favorite in national and world competitions for another year or so), and  has brought some excitement and attention to the sport her in Delaware.  A month or two after her victory in Montréal, Morgan and First State Gymnastics held a fundraising event at a Newark, Del. restaurant. I drove down, armed with a Sharpie and an 8-1/2″ x 11″ of a photo I’d taken of Hurd on Floor Excercise at the 2016 P&G USAG National Championships in St. Louis (taken with a point-and-shoot compact digital camera), and was very happy to have it autographed by herself.  Here is a photo of me with Morgan from that night (I was so nervous, I forgot to smile).

Please also visit my gymnastics blog www.gym2day.com, with news and commentary on gymnastics (mostly WAG, from JO to international elite to NCAA.

All photos on this site are copyright J. Bierbaum/fotosportif.com, unless otherwise noted.