My second assignment of the evening was to photograph a local cross country runner for an upcoming feature. I’ve shot a few sportraits in my day, but never one of a runner. One of the main challenges was location. I met her and the reporter at the high school and while she was doing a short interview, I scouted a few shots within walking distance of the main entrance of the school. If this had been a track runner, I would have been automatically drawn to the school’s track, but cross country presents a bigger challenge for the background. The school is near a busy highway so I settled on a running shot next to the school’s brick exterior for the sake of a clean background. Ideally, I would have liked to have an open field or a forest to shoot in, but this was the best background I could find on the fly. I had her run towards a Nikon SB-800 (1/8 power, zoomed to 24 mm) while I added a bit of fill with a Nikon SB-600 at a 45 degree behind her (1/4 power, zoomed to 24 mm). I had a sort of sweet spot between the lights, and it took a few passes for me to catch her in the lights.
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