The Indoor Athletics Championships were held in Sopot, Poland over three days (7-9th March 14). Alex Hassenstein and I were chosen to cover the event. Both of us have extensive experience with this sport, but we were up against it with so many events and athletes on our shoot list. Luckily we came with an editor, which saved us from having to edit into to the late hours of the night.
Being indoors created a few problems: poor lighting conditions and small areas in which to work. As such, getting the best spot or desired angle was tough. Just as the athletes compete, so do the photographers. So with one of us infield and the other outfield it meant that the whole area was your responsibility to cover.
The best way to go about this is to be prepared and be sure to mark the schedule up each morning so that you know where you need to be before each event starts. Being organized is the key in Athletics photography, as I feel it’s one of the most challenging sports to photograph and something I have yet to master. Don’t forget - you are up against many other photographers, all thinking the same thing, so you need to be quick and ready to get that position.
In the new Ergo stadium there is great roof access, so we put a couple of remotes up overlooking the start of the 60m, the long and triple jump area and the pole vault area. This gave us a back-up shot from what we may have missed at normal level. The remotes, however, only act as a bonus to our coverage because they can be unreliable. But when they do work, the results are amazing and well worth the extra effort. It does take an extra couple of hours out of your day, so sometimes you have to sacrifice breakfast or dinner.
The other thing we had to think about was tagging in camera and meeting our editor whilst the sessions were going on. This allows the world to see our images as a live feed. This is becoming more important now, as everyone expects to see images as they happen. It puts us under a lot of pressure but keeps us on our toes. Our editor did a great job in Photoshop and captioning all the names.
On a 200m track it’s hard to capture good stock running shots as well as clean finish line shots due to the small size of the track. Being the infield photographer is even more challenging, as you can easily clash with an athlete warming up or interfere with someone’s run up. In one instance, I was nearly wiped out by a pole vault. It really is that tight of a space. We are lucky to be there, but it does restrict where we can shoot from.
The following selections are a few of our favorites. If you have any question drop me a line on Twitter @julianfinney