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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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July 4, 2008 10:40 PM

Olympic Trials: Track and Fourth.

Posted by Rod Mar

Happy Fourth of July.

I'm back in Eugene for more of the US Olympic track and field trials at Hayward Field

This is a trial of sorts for me, too. I'm not "trying out" per se for a chance to go to Beijing (I'm already credentialed), but it is a great chance for me to learn to shoot track and field, to get used to the logistics of a meet (albeit in on a mini scale -- Eugene is certainly not Beijing), and also to evaluate what equipment I'll bring with me.

Tonight had a brief schedule, with only four finals being contested as most of the deciding races will be held on the weekend.

Men's javelin was contested, and Breaux Greer, who holds the record at Hayward Field, the Olympic Trials and the American record, failed to make it out of the prelims. Oh, you might also know him from the television show "American Gladiator", where the two-time Olympian is known as "Hurricane". He's recognizable by his distinctive locks:

(Nikon D3, VR 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/1600th sec, f3.5)

The weather was perfect again, and with the events being held in the evening, the light was gorgeous as it was last week. Torri Edwards, right, competes in the a preliminary heat of the women's 200 meters, and finished second to Shalonda Solomon (next lane) and both advanced to the semifinals.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 15mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 160, 1/2000th sec.,f4.0)

The women's high jump was one of the finals tonight. There were no local jumpers for me to cover, so I worked on looking for good emotion and clean backgrounds. Found a nice moment when Adriane Stone smiled after a successful high jump.

(Nikon D3, VR 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000th sec, f2.8)

When high jumper Sheena Gordon celebrated after clearing 1.89 meters,the background was a little jacked up. I'm sure in Beijing I won't have the luxury of wandering anywhere I want to go in order to find the best position, so I'd better get used to it.

(Nikon D3, VR 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1000th sec, f2.8)

The most exciting event of the night was the women's 1500 meters. Sixteen-year old Jordan Hasay, a high school junior from California, set a national high school record in the 1500 meters in 4:14:50, and in the process qualified for the finals in the event. At left is Morgan Uceny, who also qualified for the finals. Hasay came from behind on the final lap to set her record. It's striking the difference between her teenage build and that of Uceny, who is 23.

(Nikon D3, VR 400mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 1600, 1/800th sec, f2.8)

The top six finishers in each semifinal heat advanced to the finals, and when Mary Jayne Reeves stumbled as she approached the finish line she ended up missing the finals by .18 second.

(Nikon D3, VR 300mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 1600, 1/100th sec, f2.8)

I have two similar angles on the celebration by Kara Goucher. The first was shot with a full-frame Nikon D3 with a 300mm/f2.8 lens, and the second is on a Canon Mark III with a 70-200mm/f2.8 lens. While I am evaulating both sets of equipment right now, these frames are not a fair comparison. The Nikon image is shot at 1/640th sec., f2.8, and the Canon was shot at 1/1000 because of my failure to adjust the remote settings before the race (remote was in the same position all night and I was adjusting the settings as the sun went down). Still, you can see that the Nikon colors are pretty nice.

(Nikon D3, VR 300mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 1600, 1/640th sec, f2.8)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 1600, 1/1000th sec.,f2.8)

Messed around with the 15mm again at the start of the men's 10,000 meters.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 15mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 1600, 1/500th sec.,f2.8)

Sometimes when you're locked into a shooting spot, you find the emotion but the background sucks. Such was the case when Abdi Abdirahman "flew" through the finish line as he won the men's 10,000 meter.

(Nikon D3, VR 300mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 1600, 1/640th sec, f2.8)

Tomorrow I've got to wake up early for the men's 20k race walk, which begins at (gasp) 7am.

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