Thursday, February 20, 2014

Speed Skating - Photographing the 10,000 meter race

The other day, I went over to photograph a little of the 10,000 meter speed skating at the Adler Arena Skating Center. It was the first time that I had been in that venue, and it is a really nice facility. The access to photographers was very good, with easy positions to shoot right along the edge of the ice.

I positioned myself towards the end of one of the turns so that I could get photos of them leaning into the turns are they rounded the end of the track. And as always, I made sure that I had a good view of the Olympic rings in my background.

I started shooting with the Canon 1DX and the Canon 200-400mm lens, so that I could get in nice and tight on the skaters. I shot these in manual mode at ISO 1250 with an aperture of f/4 and a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. This would allow me to freeze the skaters and they skated by me.

After a while, I had captured countless photos of the skaters up close, and I felt that what I was shooting was just repetitive. In this 10,000 meter race, the skaters go around so many times that it is easy to shoot the same thing over and over. I switched to the Canon 24-105mm lens to get some wide shots and try some motion blur shots.

With them coming around so many times, it gave me a chance to get the right shutter speed and motion to pan with them and get some keepers. I shot this in shutter priority mode with a shutter speed of 1/30 sec, panning at the exact same speed as the skater.

And then I switched the camera to 1/40 sec to get a little more detail in the skaters face, since my take rate at 1/30 was pretty low.

Normally I would not like a skater in a plain white outfit, but it turns out that this Russian skater really popped from the darker background.

I then switched the Canon 70-200mm lens to try some other shots. In this case, I focused on the skater in the far lane, as the two skaters rounded the corner at the same time.

As the race was finishing, I was preparing to leave the venue. I put the camera back on the 200-400mm lens (and yes, I say it that way because the lens is bigger than the camera!) and took a couple more tight shots to show the exhaustion the skater's face.

Here is a crop of the other photo, showing the open mouth and the saliva coming out of his mouth. He is tired.

And lastly, I thought it would be fun to capture a photo of the skater at an angle. Hey - always striving or something new!

It is now 5:30pm in Sochi and I am getting ready to head over to the Bolshoy Ice Dome for the big USA vs. Canada women's hockey gold medal game. I am very excited about this, and I think it is going to be a great game. Of course, I am pulling for Team USA, but I think either team could win this one. I will do my best to blog the photos tonight, but no promises, since last night I didn't get to sleep until 4:30am.


Fran Chastain said...

Awesome shots Jeff. And thanks for sharing your info about the shots. It makes it easier for amateurs like me to figure out how to get those shots! Have fun but get some rest too! :-)

Unknown said...

Always impressed Jeff. Keep up the excellent work. Do you activate focus tracking for these types of shots. Also, am curious as to your ISO settigs....the light looks pretty good in most of the arenas on TV?? Stephen Hawke - Semi Pro UK

Fran Chastain said...

Awesome photos Jeff!! Thanks for sharing your info on the photos, it makes it easier for amateurs like me to learn what settings to get similar shots. Have fun and get some rest!!

Unknown said...

Jeff - thanks for posting so many blogs when you're clearly leading an incredibly hectic schedule there! Question: when you're doing the panning shots, is that hand held or are you on a monopod to reduce vertical movement? Thanks and keep up the good work!

Dennis said...

Nothing much to say, other than many thanks for continuing to take the time to post these blog entries - I've been reading every word of every one. I also found your educational videos on your website as a result of reading your Olympics posts and expect to be learning even more from you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff, do you have pictures of the dtch speedskaters.
Greetings John, The Netherlands

Dawn Gail said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures and sharing your experience. Your pictures have made me appreciate the athletic ability that these young people have. Enjoying seeing how you experiment and show how the photo's come out.

Dave Crago said...

Great photos Jeff, thanks for sharing

Isabelle said...

Jeff, i'm impressed by your photos and your comments...A lot of works and ├ęditing behind this ...Many thanks for sharing on these informations .

Isabelle said...

Hi Jeff, I'm very impressed by your photos and acomments..a lot of work and editing behind !! Many thanks for sharing on these informations

Rolf de Krijger said...

as always: great shots! Very motivating. But..... where are the dutch skaters ;-)