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Picture of the week

April 18, 2010
A racer starts a race

An ethlete jumps off the blocks to start the relay race during a meet in The Dalles April 14. Copyright Mark B. Gibson/The Dalles Chronicle

Track and field is great fun to photograph, there is always plenty to shoot and at a high school home meet access is as intimate as you want it to be. It’s a great place to experiment with your gear, trying out various lenses and angles as well as focus and exposure modes. I was testing out a new camera (used Nikon D2Xs) and played even more then I normally do. You can also study and work with any aspect of motion as interpreted by the camera; motion frozen, motion blurred, motion up close or at a distance, motion building or at its peak. There is plenty of action, and more importantly that action is repeated over and over again as each individual competes.

This photograph is pretty straightforward. I shot several starts before I figured out how much space to leave around the runner: They are moving rapidly from a horizontal to a vertical posture, and my first attempts lopped off their arms and heads. A moderately long lens isolated the subject from the background, I pre-focused and at the gun fired off the motor drive. It was interesting to see the resulting sequence of events. I liked this moment, as the athlete just begins to pick up some speed. He appears full of concentrated energy, determination and forward momentum. It would be fun to shoot the same picture, perhaps cropped more tightly, at a slower shutter speed, camera panning with the motion.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2010 05:59

    And look at the concentration on his face! This is a superb action photo, bro. I’m not sure I understood all the technical stuff you said, but this is really really good!

    • April 18, 2010 10:04

      I’ve been working on a “how to shoot sports” article, so the technical stuff was at the tip of my tongue. I’ll have to send it to you when I’m done, and see if it makes sense all together! This stuff has been rattling about my brain for years, I don’t always make sense when I try to explain it because I neglect to start at the beginning.

  2. April 22, 2010 00:17

    WOW, Bro–this photo is just amazing. Talk about action! You caught him mid-muscle twitch! And the determination his face….well, this photo fills my eyes. I want to keep looking and looking and looking….

  3. April 22, 2010 00:18

    Even if I had a camera like the one you have–I’m not sure I would be able to figure it out. That is just amazing.

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