Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Photographing Cross Country

As much as I enjoy shooting football my favorite sport is probably track and cross country because that is the sport I did. I suppose that there is not as much action but I ran cross country all through high school and college and can feel the struggle all of the kids are going through on the course. I had a minor lull in blogging due to some technical issues with my PC (let's just say, I will not be using liquid cooling in my PC anymore) but I am back on track now.

Both the boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Shrewsbury High School on September 12th for a dual meet and I brought my 5D Mark IV, 1D X Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and Canon 300mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens for the shoot. This was a very difficult race to shoot because I had no idea where the race started or finished, there did not seem to be any good places to shoot from and the sun was very bright casting harsh shadows on all of the athletes. I found the start but did not get too many good shots from there and then I had to hustle, carrying all of my gear, to the finishing area, which was about half a mile away, in time to catch the runners. On top of the confusion about the course it was almost 85 degrees and I do not enjoy hot, humid weather.

It was really cumbersome running around with the 300mm f/2.8 lens and I was a bit discouraged on the way home and did not think that I would have many good shots. However, I think that the photos came out all right in the end.

Slide show - I still can not get the embeded SmugMug slideshows to work.

The next race was home at Algonquin High School against Leominster High School. The conditions were very different as we are getting the leading edge of Hurricane Jose. Based on how awkward it was carrying around the 300mm lens I decided to go with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens with the 1.4x teleconverter figuring that I would have to stop down to at least f/4.0 to get a large enough depth of field when the runners were grouped together. In the end I kind of wish that I had the 300mm lens because it provides incredible sharpness, isolation and compression. Plus, you really look like a pro carting that thing around.

The pictures for this meet came out really well except for the white balance. I have gotten into the habit of shooting RAW for night games for the extra flexibility but shooting JPG for day games to speed up the post processing. For some reason I had to make minor adjustments to all of the photos in these galleries to get decent skin tones and there were a few photos that I just could not save. I may revert back to using the 300mm lens, even for the cross country, and shooting in RAW so that I can apply a blanket WB setting across all images in a gallery.

Slide show of boy's Leominster race
Slide show of girl's Leominster race

Gallery links:
Shrewsbury race
Girl's Leominster race
Boy's Leominster race

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