do :: or :: diso returns after a couple of months of R ‘n R. For the coming few months, do :: or :: diso focuses on  particular sports that should be accessible to you to shoot with just a little planning.  This month, we are all about running. “Running isn’t a sport for pretty boys…It’s about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. It’s the frozen spit on your chin and the nausea in your gut. It’s about throbbing calves and cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. It’s about getting out the door and running when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each and every day with.” (Paul Maurer, The Gift – A Runner’s Story).

Running is the most basic of sports. We can all do it and almost no gear is required. We can all make running images.  It is accessible – there are meets throughout the spring, summer and fall at every level — and you should be able to get into a meet to shoot it if you find the right person to ask and you are respectful of the athletes.  You can usually also find a high school or college runner who will run for you in exchange for some of the pictures.  Those shots will give you the chance to use lights and really add some zing to the shots.

Running images should give a sense of speed, competition, and grit. Get close, then crop even closer, and go wide sometimes.

Get Close:

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Try a 70-200mm lens and really get into the eyes of the runner / hurdler as she goes over a hurdle.

Sense of Speed:

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Here, flash was used to freeze the runner while a slower shutter speed was used to pan and blur the bleachers in the background a bit. The result is a sense that Janice is speeding by (which she was).  I am also partial to running shots where both feet are off the ground.  When you can capture that particular moment, it adds to the sense of movement as well.

Competition:

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Nikon D4 | ISO 800 | 24-70mm lens at 48mm | f / 14 | 1/1000 second.

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Nikon D4 | ISO 800 | 16-35mm lens at 16mm | f / 16 | 1/800 second.

Metering during a daytime track meet can be a little tricky.  You want nice blue skies but you do not want silhouetted runners.  I favor completely manual settings (other than white balance where auto WB will work fine) and then play around a bit until you have the right balance of shutter speed to capture the action, aperture, and ISO.

A trick to help deal with the sky in post-processing in Lightroom is to drag the blue luminance slider to the left.  The luminance slider has the effect of making the color more or less transparent.

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For the sky, dragging the blue slider to the left deepens the color of sky.   Similarly, dragging the orange luminance slider to the right (just slightly) has the effect of lightening skin tone that may otherwise be a little silhouetted.

Capturing two runners as the go over the hurdles or make the turn or head for the finish line really tells the story that they are competing.  Capturing two runners together in the image tells the story of the race that we all know:  so little separates runners in competition – just fractions of a second.

Grit:

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The eyes (and in this case the facial expression) tell the story of the runner’s thoughts.  The eyes are the grit.

Go Wide

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Use of a super wide angle lens (here a 14-24mm lens) will distort the picture but in a way that is cool.  Here, it elongates Thal and gives a real sense of him exploding out of the starting blocks.

Hurdles:

I am partial to hurdlers.  I am amazed at how they seem to just step over these obstacles without breaking stride.

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Shooting hurdlers with lights (camera left and right) at a track (not at a match of course) gives you the chance to freeze the action and get very close with a wide angle lens.  With the right hurdler, a shoot at the track can be very rewarding and quite a bit of fun for you and the hurdler.

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Find a runner and find a meet, and get some shots at the track!

Next  month, do :: or :: diso cycles.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Shaiken skylineDenver based, mark shaiken :: photography
contact me at: mark@markshaiken.com
or by calling 913.530.6539