Pick Your Story, Find Your Location & Make Your Lens Choice

I have been shooting sports professionally since 2002 and for those who know me, understand that at major events, such as the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and the Ironman World Championship, I like to prepare a detail plan and work with a select group of great friends / photographers.  These days it is hard for me to say if they are first great friends or great photographers! We do have fun and get some great shots.

The Sunday morning after the 2005 Kentucky Derby I was standing in line at Starbucks, just like most other mornings and I looked at the New York Times. Above the fold was a fabulous long lens shot of the horses just after they had broken from the gate, my guess it was a 600mm shot.  In reading the credits, the lead photo was by Don Emmert /AFP / Getty. I had met Don at the 2004 World Cup Biathlon in Fort Kent, ME. Needless to say, I bought the paper.

What struck me was that the six photos that the NYT published were by five different photographers. It was at that moment that I clearly understood that no one photographer could fully tell the story.

Fast forward to the 2011 Kona Ironman World Championship –

Below are two photos of Chrissie Wellington taken at almost the same moment! The wide shot is by my good friend and colleague Kerry Yndestad and I took the tight shot of Chrissie. Kerry and I were standing about five yards apart, but the stories are completely different, neither one would be complete without the other.

I knew that I wanted a tight shot of Chrissie, as our plan was to have a fundraising auction for the Blazeman Foundation with autographed prints (FYI – the prints sold out the first morning!).

I was shooting with my Canon 1D Mark IV and my 70–200 IS II and Kerry shot with a Canon 7D and a 16 to 35mm.

Take a look at Kerry’s shot and all of the spectators with holding their cell phone cameras high in the air, getting their own finish line shot of Chrissie.

Pick your story, find your location and make your lens choice.

If you ask me, Kerry had the SHOT OF THE DAY! This shot was the First Wave opening double page spread of the January 2012 Triathlete Magazine.

Let me know what you think!

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