Catching up to U.S. Olympic track

I’m still behind on blog posts for the year and working to catch up. Some of the images are a little past their shelf life now – this set is from July, after all – but I wanted to share a few anyways.

Back in July I got a chance to go to the U.S. Olympic Team Track and Field Trials in Eugene, where the best track and field athletes from around the country came to compete for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team.

The athletes weren’t the only ones at the top of their game that week. I found myself sitting next to photographers for Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, the AP, The Register-Guard… you name it, they were probably there. And many have photographed track and field longer than I’ve been alive, or have been at Hayward Field so many times they know it like the back of their hand. I’ll admit that it’s intimidating to sit next to such talent and know it’s only the second time I’ve set foot in Hayward, and one of maybe a half-dozen times that I’ve photographed track in the last eight years.

Thankfully I had some room to experiment and try different angles, as the paper had been planning to run wire images for the duration of the trials. It took a bit of the pressure off me, knowing that if I failed it wasn’t the end of the world. I tried some angles that didn’t work out, shot some pan-blurs that didn’t go as planned, and made a whole lot of other images that won’t see the light of day. But you know what? I’m glad I tried some things out of my comfort zone. I’m even more glad I’ll have time to practice these things before the next big track event. So often I am afraid to take risks in case I miss the critical shot. But if I practice these things, they become less about a blind risk and instead become another tool I can use. So, here’s to trying. Sometimes you might come in last place, but the journey is (at the very least) half the fun.

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