Since people said it would have been nice to have more discussion of photos — and there won’t be time on Wed since we’ll be doing presentations:
I went to this track meet on campus this weekend specifically to photograph it. I didn’t carry my longest lens, so many of these are cropped from larger pictures. These show the value of having MORE megapixels: you can crop and still have an fairly good image. A couple of images are online in more and less cropped versions; I cropped them further in response to feedback from a photographer friend. I think you can see how cropping out the extra strengthens the image.
To make such images interesting, I was trying to capture expressions or gestures — my favorites among these are the hurdles.
I was also trying for layers — where there’s more going on in the image than just the main subject. There needs to be some relationship between the elements of the image, either in content or composition (geometry and color). In a fast-moving situation like a track meet, this is often a matter of luck and of seeing the moment and grabbing it. I think the best of these is #14. #3 is getting there, with the interaction between the boy and the man, but the man is falling off the edge of the image and has too much stuff around him. #15 is OK but not great — loved the expression on the runner, and it’s contrasted to the kids on the bench.
What you don’t see are all the many, many images where there’s too much STUFF. There were people and things (benches, garbage cans) in the infield, which messed up the backgrounds of a lot of the images. The image with this post would be much better without the orange cones. #12 is cropped to a square because there was no way to get all of the runner and none of the junk.
Note that sometimes you want only parts of what might seem to be the obvious or default image: #5 is cropped to show what I thought was most interesting for both subject and composition.
The light was terrible — midday light with high contrast, and from the wrong angle so that faces were often in shadow. One of my mentors says, if you’ve got strong shadows, consider making the shadow the subject. Hence #4 and #5.
A track meet is about *motion* — #19 and #20 are frozen motion, #4 is movement. I was generally using a VERY fast shutter — 1/320th or so. I was also over-exposing by 2/3 of a stop but still had to brighten these up in Lightroom — because the faces were often in shadow, and the skin tones were medium to dark, while the background was pretty light. (The event was sponsored by a group called 100 Black Men and almost all the participants were African-American.)
I moved around a lot, trying different locations and perspectives — near miss #2 is from high up in the stands.
I uploaded some near-misses and explain in Flickr why they don’t make it. Near miss #2 also shows the problems with that kind of light — it’s coming from the wrong direction.
What you don’t see are the hundreds of images — literally — that I took and trashed. A repetitive event is a great photo subject. The track meet:
- the same thing happened again and again: kids lining up and running;
- it was 2 days, so I could go home Saturday and look at my images, then go back Sunday to try to do better!