After shooting the Chilmark 5K at the weekend – a very busy 5K on narrow roads – amongst the photo orders that arrive are a couple of emails, and this is typical, where runners are looking for photographs of themselves, but there are none.
Shooting a 5K with 1500 runners is quite a challenge, especially on narrow roads because at mid-pack we may go up to 80 to 100 runners per minute (or more). To improve our efficiency, I shoot runners from the left side of the road to the center, and the other shooter (the very experienced Scott Mason) shoot from the right-hand side of the road to the center of the road. Together, I estimate we shoot about 95% of all participants. In a small busy race with two photographers it is impossible to shoot 100% and this I explain to those searching for their photographs:
At mid-pack, some runners are tucked in so tightly that we cannot shoot them.
Some runners stick their hand’s inches in front of the camera lens to wave, but all they succeed in doing is blocking the runners behind them; and, by the time we can refocus the camera we have lost a small group of runners.
In every race at some point, a spectator will simply walk in front of the camera to either high five a friend or in the case of this photo to take a snap of their friends with their cell phone (blocking a group of runners).
Sometimes, we simply miss a runner – we do not shoot groups, we try to shoot individuals with a shallow depth-of-field, which is much, much, harder, especially at mid-pack.
And, sometimes, yes sometimes, we get our focus point wrong and blur a shot.
So, when I am asked the question ‘did you take my photograph?’, I double check the catalog and then explain what I have written above.
Every Sunday, when not working, you will find me riding with my 12-year old buddies! on the trails in Ryan Park, North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Sundays are called recovery Sunday because most of us [...]