Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Assignment : Atlanta Track Club Peachtree City 5/10k

I was excited to hear I got the cover of the March issue of Atlanta Track Club's Wingfoot. This is my second cover and it's always great to see my work in print, even better when it's large and on a cover.
Here are a couple more shots from the race that made it into the magazine. I'll get into more detail about the shoot after the jump.

I'm starting to see more of my images used from previous races. The image on right was taken back in October during the Run Around the Rock 5k/10k/15k at Stone Mountain. 

It was a cold morning in January. I believe it was about 32º F. I had several layers on to stay warm, which worked well for me, my fingers were cold for most of the morning. I typically wear a thin pair of long fingered cycling gloves. They won't keep my fingers warm, but it's better than completely exposed. Thicker gloves would keep my fingers warm but make it impossible to access any of the controls on my camera.

The morning started off overcast and although cloudy skies make for great portrait lighting. It doesn't make for exciting race photos. Luckily the clouds moved out and we got some blue sky later.

This was a 5k & 10k and I had to get to the finish line quickly. Those elite runners are fast. Luckily the finish line was about 200 yards away. It probably took me 10 minutes to walk the 200 yards, it took the lead runners about 16 minutes to run the 5k (3.1 miles).

After getting shots of the 5k finishers, I got in my car and searched for a scenic location along the 10k course.I knew about the path along the lake and knew this location would make some great shots (I ran on part of this path last year during the Peachtree City Sprint Triathlon), especially with the clouds clearing.  Once I got there, finding the correct position is crucial. The trees as a background was too busy.

Shooting from the opposite direction, I got the parking lot. Not scenic at all. I kept moving further down the path until I started getting the shots I was looking for.

This is better, but I didn't like the benches in the shot, so I kept walking.

Much better. This is the shot that made the cover.

This next shot also made it in magazine.

Some of the best pictures are when the runners actually smile and look at the camera.

I changed my angle to get a different perspective. You can see the parking lot in the background. I didn't have to walk to far to improve my shooting angle and get a better background.

I shot most of these images with a 70-200 mm ƒ/2.8 lens. Since it was such a nice scenic location (I'm sure it'll look even better in the spring) I wanted to capture a wide shot. I switched to my 17-40 mm ƒ/4 and got this next shot. It's one of my favorite from the day.

My camera was set to manual shooting at ISO 320-500 @ 1/500 ƒ/2.8 for most of these shots except when I switched to the 17-40 mm ƒ/4. I used a Canon 580EXII on camera in E-TTL mode. The flash helps freeze the action and provides a little bit of fill light. I tend to alway use -1 TTL setting on the flash. I think it helps the photos look more natural and you don't get that obvious looking flash photo.

Always a pleasure to shoot these races. As someone that is a runner and triathlete, I can appreciate the effort and training these participants put into doing these races. Congrats to all the runners!

The other day I noticed photos posted on Facebook from a large multi-city half marathon race. The majority of those photos were all shot at about a 45º angle intentionally. I don't understand the trend to do that. As a runner, I run upright and not leaning at a 45º angle. I will never shoot that way and will always do my best to capture the most realistic image of athletes doing their sport. I have a great deal of respect to those that train hard, that I feel it would be a disservice to shoot in an unnatural looking way. What do you think? I would love to read your comments.

If you're looking for a portrait photographer in the Atlanta area, visit my portfolio.

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