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

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July 6, 2008 11:38 AM

Olympic Trials: Flower Power.

Posted by Rod Mar

Access has been pretty good here at the Olympic track and field trials, and there are lots of opportunities to set up remote cameras.

The steeplechase is a great event in which to use a remote, because the runners have to navigate a wall and splash into a pool of water on each of the laps except for the first.

Wide-angle lenses are a good choice because they emphasize the splash and allow the camera to be down low to show the height of the runners as they leap.

At the women's steeplechase, I used a remote camera from the inside of the track. That day, I debated, along with Getty photographer Jonathan Ferrey, the value of shooting the remote from the outside of the track facing in. This would capture the distinctive stands of Hayward Field, and would show the flowers in the planting strip next to the water feature.

I didn't have a tall enough post for my remote camera to clear the flowers, but Jon did, and made some nice frames. I made sure to bring a tall post and a 15mm lens for the men's race and spent 10 minutes before the start of the day's events setting up the remote.

Here you can see me composing and focusing the remote.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 15mm/2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/1000th sec.,f8.0)

I used a couple different exposures, trying to decide whether or not to expose for the sky or the flowers. As the sky was changing all day, I set the exposure on shutter priority at 1/1000th second and overexposed a bit for the sky fooling the meter.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 15mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/1000th sec.,f8.0)

I fired the remote from the infield while shooting another camera with a wide-angle lens. From the inside of the track, there are posts and things that mess up the backgrounds.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 200, 1/1000th sec.,f6.3)

In between laps, photographers leapt over short fence to dry off cameras and lenses.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 200, 1/1000th sec.,f6.3)

One unlucky racer, Steve Slattery, landed badly in the water and had to be helped off the course.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 200, 1/1000th sec.,f5.6)

As the race wound down, I concentrated on the lead runner, Anthony Famiglietti, and worked with some panning motion.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 35mm, ISO 200, 1/30th sec.,f22)

After the race, I retrieved the remote camera and like what I saw. The exposures weren't perfect, and I had to open the exposures a bit. The editors liked the photo and planned it for the sports cover, but a world record at the swimming trials bumped the photo to the inside of the section where it ran in black and white.

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 15mm/f2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/1000th sec., f11.0)

I doubt I'll have the access to do remotes like this in Beijing, but it worked out well here in Eugene.

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