Monday, August 15, 2011

GOYA - Atlanta Triathlon Club | davem photography

It's been severals week since I wrote up a blog post. I've been working on a couple projects that have taken up some time and since I'm ramping up my training for my 2nd Half Ironman next month, there seems to be little time left to blog. Keeping with the triathlon theme, today's blog is from a triathlon I shot back in May.
The plan was for me to volunteer before the start of the race and then cover the race including the swim start. I wanted to see what kind of shots I could get if I got knee deep or even waist deep into the lake. That didn't pan out. There was a shortage of volunteers and I went to help out on the run course for a bit. Once the sprint race had gone through the run course, I was able to cover the half iron distance.

By the time I got my camera, the lead cyclists were returning from the 56 mile route. I'm not a big fan of shooting around the event area unless it's a finish line photo. There are too many distracting elements in the background and you don't get the nice picturesque backdrops. The image below is just inside the park and although it's a nice shot, it's not what I would call great. The small building and orange barricade is distracting.

I usually start walking the course and find some areas where I like the background. As I walked the course, teammates were riding in and I grabbed shots of them as they passed by.
The image above is much better. Because I was shooting at ƒ/3.2 I could make the background softer and the cyclist becomes the main focus.

I ended up walking 1 mile down the course and found the perfect spot. It was a hot day and this race in Macon is known for being difficult due to the heat. I was looking for a shady spot that also provided a nice view.

I like shooting at a low angle for these kind of shots, because it allows me to look up into the cyclists face. You can tell by the shot below that I was laying on my stomach. I felt like I was a sniper and technically that's what I was doing. I was tracking the cyclists and taking shots of them.

Here are a couple images from this spot that I feel are a huge improvement over the ones closer to the event.

I need to make sure I get to this spot earlier in the day so that I can capture better shots of everyone. I made my way back to the event area to pick up some more water. As I got back the runners were coming in and finishing.
Once again, the shot above is at the park entrance. I was able to get this great shot, but I couldn't avoid the guys in the background. The guy in the red shirt was one of the event photographers. He had his camera set up on a tripod the entire time. I know he got the exact same shot of almost everyone leaving the park.

If I had a quick & convenient mode of transportation to ride along the run course, like a motorcycle or moped, I would have ventured out along the run course. For safety reasons, I chose not to get in the car and drive. It's a two lane road and there were enough cars along the course. Safety of the competitors is priority #1.  I am making plans to have some mode of transportation at Ironman Florida that will provide me with more opportunities along the course.

The challenge now was to avoid the distracting elements in the background, mainly parked cars. The best way to do this is once again, shoot from a low angle and get a clean sky as a background.

After seeing some of the shots taken along the course by some of my teammates volunteering, I wish I had made it onto the run course. As I mentioned before, heat was a huge factor in this race, especially on the run. Had I captured those images, you'd see how focused and mentally tough these athletes are.

I'm already planning on going down to Ironman Florida to photograph the day. We've got 25 teammates registered and it should be a great opportunity for some awesome photos. We are also talking about a specific shoot with some action shots that I've been envisioning for quite some time. This won't happen until a couple more months, but I'm really excited about the possibilities.

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