I was in Louisville, KY a few weeks ago and again had the opportunity to photograph the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) state championship track meet. This is a huge day-and-a-half long event that allows for me to have creative flexibility.
My job is to shoot a bunch of pictures for KHSAA so they can use a few in their program the following year. I have the luxury of not having to get athletes names or to focus on specific schools.
Every year I try to shoot a little differently. I think of different ways to use lenses and light to craft a beautiful and clean image. This year was no different.
The first event I shot was discus. My goal was to achieve the right moment while framing it in a square of the protective netting.
After shooting a bunch of races from track level, I carried all of my gear up a ladder on top of a press box. It is kind of difficult to climb these ladders one handed with a 400mm f/2.8 lens in the other hand. The elevated shooting position allows for the track to become a clean background for the runners.
While in the mindset of shooting with clean backgrounds, I got really low on the track to shoot the pole vault. I wanted to get a tight shot right at the top of the bar. Since my frame was so tight, I pre-focused on the bar and waited for the vaulter to enter my frame. The sky provided a clean background.
On the first frame, I partially cut off the athletes left arm. However, his body was spread in a pretty cool way. The second frame was also a cool moment as he was coming down on the other side, releasing the pole.
As night began to fall, the stadium lights came on giving a cool night time shadow look. The darker it got, the less I focused on action and the more on interesting framing and composition. This was runners at he starting blocks just before a race.
For some of the races, athletes were corralled into these waiting areas track side. It gave me an opportunity to silhouette the runners against the sky.
All of these images were shot on the first day of the meet. I haven’t even looked at the second days images yet. As soon as I do, I’ll have a few more images up.