Commack High School Varsity Cross Country
Caught the Commack boys and girls cross country teams at a meet last Tuesday at Sunken Meadow Park. Since their start times were about 45 minutes apart I was able to photograph both the girls and boys teams from start to finish. The girls started first and they usually take around 30 to 35 minutes for the last girl to complete the race so that gave me 10 minutes to run back up to the start to get the boys.
I like to photograph the start of each race with the runners coming across the field. This makes for a great pano shot. After that I run to the back of the first bridge and get them coming over. Once the last runner clears the first bridge I move to the end of the course and get them coming over the last bridge.
Here are a few more tips for photographing cross country at Sunken Meadow:
- Each team will take between 25 and 35 minutes to run the course. If you want to get both boys and girls on the same day use the 35 minute time to estimate how much time you have to get back to the start to shoot the second team.
- If the meet is in the late afternoon, as most are, and it's sunny you're going to need to dial in about 3/4 to one full stop negative exposure compensation to prevent blowing out skin tones. This applies to shooting runners on both bridges since they're being side-lit by the sun.
- Runners will come over the first bridge quickly and packed together. It's a given that you won't be able to get all of them here; you'll have a better chance at the end of the race where they're spread out. At the first bridge just try to get some runners that are somewhat isolated from the pack or groups that are running together.
- At the second bridge you'll see a bunch of orange cones that mark the course to the finish lines. If you want to eliminate the cones from your photos you'll need to get close to the end of the bridge. The downside is you'll be close enough to the runners that you'll only be able to get a few frames of each one before they get past you. Depending on how many other photographers are there, this may or may not be a good idea.