This past Saturday I covered the Long Beach Middle School cross country championships held at Heartwell Park. This is a one day event put on each year for the middle schoolers of Long Beach, but last year they started allowing kids from elementary to participate as well as citizens from the area.
When I cover this race or any other race for that matter I will get there early to see what the course is going to be like. Where my lighting and shadows will be and what type of background I have to deal with. These three things will determine where I will try to position myself to get the shots I want.
Since I've covered this race multiple times there was no issue or much thought into where I would position myself. During this time of the year this park has a paticular tree (sorry - I don't know the name) that has a nice purple flower on it, so for the start of the race I like to position myself about 100 yds from the start line with some of those trees in the background. At this spot the athletes go up and over a slight hill while running through some trees. Its at this point that I will take some group shots as they start coming through the trees as well as some shots (tighter) as they run past me.
Once the racers have past me I will then move to my second position, which is about a mile into the race. This will give me a nice open shot of the runners as they approach me.
My final shots are taken at the finish line, which is around and partially under a group of trees. Although I'd much prefer to get these shots as the athlete is closer to the finish line, to avoid the deep shadows and bright background I tend to take the shots just as they come up another slight hill towards the finish line. This allows me to fill the frame with the athlete as they come within 20 feet of the finish line.
I was a little behind and was only able to get a couple of shots from the boys elementary race.
This was followed by the girls and boys 6th grade races.
Next was the boys and girls 7th grade races.
And the final two races of the day were the boys and girls 8th graders.