Sunburns and State Track

Aside from my usual photography tips, I would also like to caution any and all drivers not to speed during Memorial Day Weekend.

Especially when you're returning from the location of an assignment you're getting paid for and your speeding ticket is just about the amount you just earned.

I really need to slow down on the interstate. And start paying attention to the holidays.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to go to Jefferson City to shoot high school state track for The Sun News on Friday and Saturday. Although it was pretty hot and I received a sufficient sunburn, it was quite the experience.

I arrived Friday at Dwight T. Reed Stadium of Lincoln University at 11 a.m. After picking up my press pass and event program, I headed out to the track to shoot the first field events. However, I was in for a treat right away. The field events featuring the athletes I was supposed to focus on (The Sun News heads three papers, thus I was shooting three different high schools) were all competing in separate events at opposite ends of the stadium at the same time- the pole vault, the long jump and the high jump. Not to mention it was 90 degrees out.

I quickly had to assess which events to cover, when to cover them, and to manage my time wisely. I have shot track in the past, but was not required to get particular athletes, only to take pictures of things I wanted to focus on. It was definitely an experience. I figured out what to focus on in due time, however, after fumbling with what areas I had access to, where I could not walk, and figuring out which athletes were the ones I needed to photograph.

Upon arriving back at the stadium on Saturday, I was faced with three more events at the same time. However, this time, I knew which events to shoot first, which ones would last longer, and where to stand to shoot them. It went a lot better this time.

I also faced new challenges with my new camera. I received my camera, a 1D Mark IV, the day before in the mail and hadn't had a lot of time to play with it yet. I got it because it's sooo much faster than my Canon 5D, which is not built for shooting sports. Because I've been so focused on sports photography lately, and actually quite enjoy it, I decided I needed something that was going to be seriously fast and last me a long time. Because it's so complicated, however, I had a hard time with the autofocus features and ended up shooting on a small aperture most of the time so I didn't royally screw up most of my pictures. I'm going to try to figure it out tomorrow, though, as I've had to do this in the past with the Nikon D3; it has so many autofocus options it's going to take me a while to find one that works for me! I couldn't even fathom the options my new camera offers, but know it will be amazing once I get it down and am truly blessed to have such equipment right now.

The weekend was definitely an experience. With the plethora of events, heat wave, speeding ticket, time management, new camera and the resulting sunburn, it wasn't the easiest event to cover. I always enjoy shooting a new event, however, and learned a lot.