Well as promised I am posting some new images from my pole vault shoot. As I mentioned in the last post the process of photographing these incredible athletes has been a lot of fun. Going from the relative stillness of the great southwest to such a high octane shooting event has required a total shift in gears for me. In general I reset my camera menus for autofocus so I could quickly dial in to the athletes. I shot all the images with a fast, f2.8, 70-200mm Nikon lens which put a premium on my hand holding abilities since I was just a bit out of practice. The location was in an area with tall pine trees that provided some light filtration. I generally shot at f2.8 to help soften the background and achieve a dappled bokah. There was a lot of activity and I had to work to isolate each athlete to help simplify the background. The camera was set to Aperture Priority with a +3 exposure compensation. The longer lens allowed me to shoot more covertly which kept the vaulters relaxed and natural.
This is high school pole vaulter Dolphurs Hayes, one of the athletes at my daughters pole vault camp in south Georgia. I found Dolphurs to be very photogenic and quite patient with the photography. In some of my earlier shots he tended to pose and I was really after something more heroic. In this shot I caught him waiting on the runway while another vaulter was going. His gaze was down the runway and he seemed to be concentrating on what he needed to do when it came time for his turn. This was a mid morning shot and the light was beautiful.
The RAW files were brought into Adobe Lightroom for sorting and development. I have been working in a more “gritty” style with some of my recent portrait work processing and I found this technique worked well for these images. But I put my own development twist to the files and created some different Development Presets in Lightroom. I began by using the Lightroom Bleached ByPass Preset by added my own twists to the processing to create my version. I actually created three different Presets and employed each one based on the characteristics of the image including the scene lighting and overall color rendition in the athletes skin tones and clothes. The technique relies on a pronounced sharpening routine for a more hyperreal look. Capture sharpening was performed in Lightroom and a second round of sharpening was applied after setting the Black and White Point and minor Curve work in Photoshop.
I will post a few more of these images in the next few days as I work them up from their RAW state. I promise to return to landscape soon. In the meantime please enjoy these images. The kids were fantastic and my daughter was not too embarrassed. In fact most of the kids were excited to see the images and how I might process them. Overall it was just great fun to work on new techniques.
Thanks for stopping by today.