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Archive 2013 · 1st Track meet shots
  
 
OntheRez
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 1st Track meet shots


I just completed my second year as the "sports photographer/reporter" for a small town newspaper. It has been an immensely challenging yet rewarding effort for a man whose interest is in landscape, macro, "art." I'd never shot any sport before I was "drafted" for this job.

Sports in this (very) small town is about 99% high school with the occasional roping competition and rodeo thrown in. I've shot all of the school's sports but never covered the track team mostly because their meets are always a minimum of 2 hours away and the paper won't pay for travel. Truth is, I'd never even been to a track competition.

Last week I decided to rectify this and made the 7 hour round trip to the state qualifying meet for small schools in this region. I was impressed. Other than a few parents, there was no crowd cheering. While individuals were certainly focused and competitive, they went out of their way to encourage and support their competitors. I believe I had a glimpse of the original Greek ideal that once informed the Olympics. You race against yourself solely for the reward of improvement.

Oft times good shots were hard to get because the event area was surrounded with officials, apparatus, and other personnel. Still there was so much energy and emotion in the athletes. And their stories. The blind shot putter with the winning throw who is led to the circle by her coach and then throws completely from memory and remarkably can tell within about 6" how far it went.

The deaf high jumper whose family escaped 3 repressive regimes to find a home in America. The vaulter who failed to qualify by an inch. "I just couldn't get it to bend right." The 100-meter sprinter who won her heat but failed to qualify by 0.08. An opposing wind had come up between heats. "That's as fast as I could run today."

In an era where even high school sports have become commercialized, I came away with deep respect for these kids who did it because they wanted too.

C&C appreciated.




rsorrels 2013


Throwing blind





rsorrels 2013


4x400 handoff





rsorrels 2013


The 300 HH winner at the last jump.





rsorrels 2013


High in blue sky.





rsorrels 2013


Freshman running the 300 HH for the 2nd time.




May 13, 2013 at 04:58 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 1st Track meet shots


Three more shots from the same meet.



rsorrels 2013


At the apex of the long jump.





rsorrels 2013


0.08 too slow





rsorrels 2013


Just another inch.




May 13, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 1st Track meet shots


Great story, Robert. I can understand why you would have been moved. I like 'blue sky' best, followed by 'inch,' 'handoff' (would have liked a bit more breathing room on the left side), '0.08' (horizontal might have been more effective, unless of course you are intentionally closing her in to communicate the forces working against her ), and 'blind' (not sure if including more of her body would strengthen this). I get the intensity of 'winner' but I'm not feeling that one, and 'apex' doesn't work for me without limbs or context. Kudos to you for making the trek. Sounds like you reaped unanticipated rewards.


May 13, 2013 at 07:31 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 1st Track meet shots


Russ,

Thanks for the critique. I cropped most of these tight out of full body shots. I don't normally do that but was really trying to capture the emotion in the athletes. Handoff definitely can use room to the left - motion that way. I'll play with blind. I shot her entire sequence so have choices. Hard not to like blue sky. Of course I was on my knees shooting it. I swear I spent my time on my knees than any penitent This was an exercise in trying different and creative cropping. I'll continue to play with it. Appreciate the suggestions.

Robert



May 13, 2013 at 09:57 PM
Russ Isabella
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 1st Track meet shots


Robert,

You did a great job. Your creative approach definitely shows, and the variety adds strength to the set.



May 13, 2013 at 10:43 PM
rolette
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 1st Track meet shots


Blue Sky is the standout shot in the set for sure. Good high-jump shot generally and that background takes it up about 5 notches None of the rest really do it for me other than the relay hand-off, but it really needs breathing room on the left as Russ mentioned.

One nit/question on the Blue Sky shot: Is the blue channel blown on the mat or is it just an odd effect from the material? Either way, you may want to dial down the saturation on the mat some. It keeps yanking my eyes away from the athlete. Such a good shot that it's worth the extra bit of editing, IMO.

Jay



May 14, 2013 at 11:53 AM
Aqualung
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 1st Track meet shots


Yup, totally agree, that background in Blue Sky is great...well done.

Chris



May 14, 2013 at 12:06 PM
 

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OntheRez
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 1st Track meet shots


Jay,
The mat material really was that intensely over blue. I've never encountered something I'd call "blinding blue," but this fits that term. I'll go back and play with the blue channel and see what happens. Hadn't thought of that so thanks for the suggestion. I don't want to muck with the sky color as it closely pictures what it was like that day. I'd have to isolate the mat and work on it. Maybe the color selection tool in PS? All of these just pasted thru LR on their way here.

Aqualung. Liked your boys track set. Profoundly different environments. One thing I can count on working here in the Sonoran Desert - there's always lots of real blue sky.

Robert



May 14, 2013 at 03:35 PM
RyanL
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 1st Track meet shots


The background on Blue Sky is great, they should be proud to have such beautiful scenery at their track. Reminds me of a HS up in the mountains of West Virginia I travel through once a year. The Football and Baseball fields have such a perfect view of the mountains. The edge of the fields look like they drop off and the mountains are miles away towering in the background.

The blinding blue could be worse...our mat for our school is blinding RED. Talk about a color cast!



May 18, 2013 at 07:24 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 1st Track meet shots


RyanL wrote:
The background on Blue Sky is great, they should be proud to have such beautiful scenery at their track. Reminds me of a HS up in the mountains of West Virginia I travel through once a year. The Football and Baseball fields have such a perfect view of the mountains. The edge of the fields look like they drop off and the mountains are miles away towering in the background.

The blinding blue could be worse...our mat for our school is blinding RED. Talk about a color cast!


Ryan,
It is a truly beautiful place. The whole town sits on a ledge overlooking the Gila River and up at the Mogollon Rim. Absolutely spectacular climate and view. Too bad the mine shut down so there are no jobs, no economy, ever fewer people, and fading hope. The entire school was built when the mine was running full bore and everybody had lots of money in their pockets. Now, well the survivors hang on.

Yeah, I've seen the red mats. Take the blue ones any day

Robert



May 18, 2013 at 11:22 PM
oldrattler
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 1st Track meet shots


You did good, Grasshopper. Love the colors, stop action. and especially the information you provided.. Can not wait to get back there and shoot some more sports with you... Jim


May 20, 2013 at 08:11 PM
picboy
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 1st Track meet shots


great shots!


Jun 04, 2013 at 03:03 AM
CW100
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 1st Track meet shots


good set !



Jun 05, 2013 at 11:05 PM
OntheRez
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 1st Track meet shots


Thanks for the kind words. Getting ready for my 3rd year on the job, I'm starting to get a clue. Still a lot to learn. The baseball team made the state playoffs (one and done ) so I got to shoot in the "big time" at the Reds/Indians spring training fields. Quite a new experience. There is a world of difference between shooting a park with the centerfield fence at 310 and one at 405! Also, night shooting is still a high ISO challenge.

I'll certainly be back to shoot this meet next spring as it is such a beautiful place.

Robert



Jun 08, 2013 at 06:22 PM





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