ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Preparing for Photography Coverage at a Marathon Event

Updated on December 31, 2012
Roy Thomas runs heartily and convincingly at age 84 in Reggae Marathon & Half Marathon 2011. © Shutterwords
Roy Thomas runs heartily and convincingly at age 84 in Reggae Marathon & Half Marathon 2011. © Shutterwords | Source

Shane Brown-Daniels, Official Photographer (assigned by Brightroom, Inc.) for the Reggae Marathon & Half Marathon held on December 1, 2012 in Negril Jamaica.

Marathons have a thrill of excitement with hundreds or even thousands of participants. There’s much to capture with your camera at Marathons, especially if you are assigned to cover the event.

People are psyched up, and love to do their antics that express their unique personality or even their team’s. There may even be a pre-race ceremony with all sorts of performing arts to boost runners.

As a photographer covering the event, you definitely need to be prepared because there will usually be no space for charging a battery or borrowing a lens filter. All pieces of D-SLR equipment need to be carefully and sensibly put together.

Equipment Needed for Photography Coverage of a Marathon

Even an entry level D-SLR is good for Marathon Coverage. It may even be better on some counts to use a D-SLR with a crop sensor which gives some amount of magnification.

A D-SLR like the Canon 7D or the Nikon D7000 are great D-SLRs for action and sports. They have a number autofocus (AF) points and a fast burst rate in continous shooting mode (i.e. shutter lag is very minimal) among a number of practical features for action photography.

Equipment for Covering the Finish Line

Depending on what aspect of the race event that you’ll cover, there are particular pieces of equipment and accessories that you may need to have ready.

For instance if you are covering the finish of the race, you’ll need a tripod, a standard zoom lens, a flash unit, filters and even a remote trigger.

Not to mention an standing umbrella (for your shade) and chair since you’ll probably be at that single post for hours!

You could even add to your equipment kit a telephoto zoom lens to get some closeup shots.

Equipment for Coverage on the Course

If you’re on the racecourse, you will need a telephoto zoom lens of a at least a focal range of 70-200mm with a maximum aperture of f/2.8.

However, you can use telephoto zoom lenses of greater focal range which will naturally have smaller maximum apertures. Typically, the telephoto zoom is the only lens that you may need, but it’s always good to have a wide angle lens in your possession.

Furthermore, having two D-SLRs on your person may be most efficient, preventing you from having to change lenses. Even lightning-fast-lens-changing-photographers may miss a great shot in the midst of their lens interchange.

Source

Telephoto Zoom -- 70-200 mm f/2.8

Basic Accessories Needed

Lens Filters

Lens filters, e.g. neutral density filters, may also be wise to have along with you especially if you’ll be shooting on a bright and sunny day. Exposure can be a tricky thing to get right in varying conditions on marathon day -- and you need to get it right fast. Lens filters can help to cut down ambient light by a couple f-stops making it easier for you to get a good exposure.

Flashguns

A flashgun is also a necessity if you’ll be shooting in the dark -- whether early morning or in the night. Flash is generally not allowed in sporting events, but in an extreme situation of shooting in the dark, it may be exempted.

Monopod

A monopod is essential if you’re shooting on the racecourse especially if you’re shooting in the center of the course. A monopod will be an advantage in several ways -- helping you handle the camera steadily to avoid camera shake, saving your arms and shoulders from strain. The design of the monopod is non-obstructive and is easier to move around in comparison to a tripod.

Backpack and Modular Systems

As you can see, you don’t need a whole bunch of equipment for covering a marathon, but they can be a burden on you if you don’t have a proper carriage system. After all, you’ll be shooting for hours -- at times even non-stop! You definitely need to be comfortable and have the ability to move quickly and easily with everything.

A backpack with an easy access is excellent, such as the Lowepro fastpack models. A modular system is a good choice as well, for e.g. the Lowepro S&F Modular System. A photographer’s vest can be an addition to the modular system or separate and apart. These are basic means to carry around your equipment. A shoulder bag is definitely a no-no, and will be a burden and strain on you -- unless it is very light.

Don’t forget to charge all your batteries and spares!

Source

Quick Shooting Tips

  • Use AI Servo Mode which is a special focusing mode for moving subjects.
  • Use a minimum shutter speed of at least 200-250. You may need to increase that speed depending on the conditions of the day.
  • Shoot in JPEG. Typically you’ll be shooting thousands of photographs. RAW files can be a ‘pain in the neck’ in this instance because they are not only huge, but require post processing.
  • Shoot in Auto White Balance, unless you are in a situation where you definitely need to change settings, for instance in the middle of the day when the sun is ultra hot, you may choose Daylight white balance settings. But typically Auto WB does the job quite well.
  • Use evaluative of center weighted metering. Spot metering requires too much of a specific focus for fast shooting.
  • Shoot in Aperture Priority of Program mode. Aperture priority allows you to keep a constant aperture so that you can nullify noisy background with blur as if you shoot at f/2.8. Program mode automatically selects aperture and shutter speed settings dynamically.
  • Frame runners/walkers consistently.

These are not rules but basic guidelines. As you develop your skills, you may tweak a number of these suggestions, or even go otherwise such as shooting in full Manual mode.

The action is heavy at a marathon, and there are tons of unplanned happenings within the race. Some persons may even stop to dance with a volunteer instead of taking a refreshing drink from her. Some folk may be well over 80 years old and doing their thing. There’s a lot to see and capture.

Be prepared with your equipment, keep hydrated and happy shooting!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • theblackedition profile imageAUTHOR

      Shane Brown-Daniels 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks! Roy is a living legend -- inspiring eh? :)

    • zenpropix profile image

      zenpropix 

      5 years ago

      Enjoyed your hub. More detail and quality advice than I see in most photography articles. Love the images of Roy. Now, I'll probably end up running a few extra miles next week.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)