Caught the Commack girls winter track team at a crossover meet at Suffolk Community College’s Brentwood Health, Sports and Education Center.
Here’s my strategy for photographing indoor track meets:
I’m shooting with a single camera body, a Fujifilm XT-3, with a 50-140mm lens, which is a 70-200mm full frame equivalent. I have the AF and drive set to continuous and I take a custom white balance although, for a daytime meet like this one, there’s pockets of daylight streaming in through the high windows that requires adjustment in post.
For SCCC Brentwood, a.k.a. the pit of darkness (dilly, dilly), where the chance of a photon striking your camera sensor is extremely low, I’m shooting at ISO 10,000 (yup), 1/800 sec. @f/2.8. Shooting runners along the south side you’ll need to go to ISO 12,800. Obviously, this is high-ISO noise city but there’s not much you can do about it. Panning your camera with the runners is essential because 1/800 sec. is not going to cut it for fast races. If your camera is having problems focusing in low light try pre-focusing on spots the athletes run through, for example, the bar on the high jump and the edge of the sand pit for the long and triple jumps. You can also focus on a hurdle bar you know your runner will cross. Another fun experiment is to lower your shutter speed to, say, 1/60 sec. or less and try to get a panning shot of a runner. You’ll need a lot of tries to get this right so it’s best to do this at a long race like the 1000 or 3000. I have two shots in this gallery where I tried this.
Two tips for photographing at SCCC Brentwood - Try to catch a daytime meet. It’s still dark but you get some help from the high windows. Another tip tip for the longer races, assuming you catch a daytime meet, is to position yourself at the southeast corner of the track. There’s a window that spreads sunlight on a small section of the track right at the turn. Naturally, this doesn’t apply for the 55m events except at the starting line; these run down the darkest section of the track, the south side, so you’re pretty much out of luck here,
If you have questions about any of this, email me.
That’s it for this post. Missed the throwers at this meet so I’ll try to catch another before the season ends. Next up is girls basketball. Have fun.