Nowadays, I only shoot a couple of road races per year, the Chilmark 5K on Marthas Vineyard being one; I used to shoot many!

My preferred lens is the excellent Canon EF 300 f/2.8. Most sport shooters use a 70mm to 200mm zoom lens, I always have that lens on my backup camera, but it is not my first choice.

The 300 is super fast (to focus), super accurate, and produces a thin depth-of-field and a beautiful bokeh (lens blur). I have owned this lens for 12 years, and I have only ever used it at f/2.8.

The bottom line is that it produces beautiful images, so why wouldn’t I use it? My preference is to shoot high-quality images, and while I miss more shots than if I used my 70mm to 200mm, I am totally okay with that because what I do shoot is beautiful. My apologies to those I miss.

Shooting the Chilmark 5K begins with a 100+ mile journey;

  • Depart from home: 5:25 am
  • Pick up my friend and second-shooter, Scott: 6:00 am
  • Arrives at the Palmer Avenue parking lot in Falmouth, MA: 7:10 am
  • Wait for a bus and board the 8:15 am ferry
  • Arrive in Vineyard Haven, Marthas Vineyard at 9:00
  • Meet our ride and arrive at the race finish line at 9:30
  • Race start: 10:30
  • Board a bus back to Vinyard Haven at 12:30 pm
  • Enjoy lunch in the Black Dog restaurant and board the 2:30 pm ferry back to the mainland.
  • After dropping Scott off, I arrived home at 5:30 pm, ready to work on the images, catalog them and build out the online photo store.

For the race itself, the conditions, as usual, were not great. The sun was strong with no cloud cover and was perpendicular to the runners, creating strong shadows. On the upside, because I shoot in manual mode, there would be no need to make any lighting adjustments during the race. It is not an easy exposure to set up because of the reflection from the pavement but I opted for:

  • f/2.8
  • 1/800
  • ISO 100

The camera meter indicated that I should shoot at 1/1000, but the test shots were slightly under-exposed, and I chose to slightly over-expose the images to counteract the shadows.

I am delighted with the outcome because strong summer sunlight is tough.

Enjoy this selection of images.