Sometimes bad light can be incredible light. Seeing the light is an invaluable part of the job. Whether it is a high school gym or bright sunlight, photographers must be able to expose for the light. One common attribute in the portfolios of great photographers is an eye for the light. Whenever I’m on an assignment, I pay extremely close attention to light. One thing I always look for is contrast. Brightly-illuminated subjects in a dark space can really add an element of drama in a photo. This is something I look for at every assignment I photograph. Here are a few examples from the past year:
For this year’s Little 500 race, I decided to take a different angle than usual. It was my fourth time covering the race as a student, and I wanted to try to tell the story differently. Instead of just focusing on the race-day peak action and reaction shots, I teamed up with a writer to tell the story of a single team in the race. We embedded with Emanon, a first-year independent team in the field. Emanon was formed by Alpha Tau Omega members after the school’s chapter was not allowed to compete in the race after an ethics board review and alcohol violations. I produced an audio slideshow, and fellow Herald-Times intern — and soon-to-be Chicago Tribune intern — Ryan Gregg wrote a narrative about the team.
I ended up only shooting the first half of the race. I had a fever and I was able to leave during a red flag for thunderstorms and lightning at lap 104/200. This was my fourth – and possibly last – time covering the race so I was disappointed to to be there for the finish. It will probably go down as one of the best Little 500 races in recent memory despite the rain. The Cutters’ Eric Young, pictured below, broke away from the pack on the last lap to secure the team’s fourth consecutive win.
This was definitely one of the toughest assignments I’ve shot this year. It wasn’t because of emotional or technical reasons, but because I was feverish the entire day. I had been sick in the days leading up to the event, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to photograph the Little 500. I felt better as I headed out to the track, but by the end of the day I was at about 30 percent.