How to take 5k Race Photos

I’m back! And I’m gearing up to write a series of posts that I hope will turn into a solid tutorial for anyone wanting to shoot 5k(pick your distance) road races. There are a ton of nuances that turn luck into reliability. Camera settings, lens choices, sun angles, where to sit, how high/low to sit and panning are just a few important factors.

I typically can park, take photos of the start and finish of the race and be back in my car driving away and all wrapped up and done in less then an hour. To top it off, I have managed to get my skills up from being able to handle about 200 runners to about 600 to 800 runners a in a race.  More coming soon…..

Cigna/Elliot 5k - Nikon D700 1/800th f4 ISO 1000 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII) 5:50/mile pace for a time of 18:07 for the race. Wow!
Cigna/Elliot 5k – Nikon D700 1/800th f4 ISO 1000 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII) 5:50/mile pace for a time of 18:07 for the race. Wow!

I’ve included some photos from two recent races, the Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5k Road Race in Manchester, NH on August 8th, 2013 and the 12th Annual Fox Point Sunset 5 Miler Road Race in Newington, NH on September 7th, 2013. More posts to follow soon.

Cigna/Elliot 5k - Nikon D700 1/500th f5.6 ISO 640 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII) Race Coordination from the lead Police Escort. This race had well over 5000 people running.
Cigna/Elliot 5k – Nikon D700 1/500th f5.6 ISO 640 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)
Race Coordination from the lead Police Escort. This race had well over 5000 people running.

 

Cigna/Elliot 5k - Nikon D700 1/500th f5.6 ISO 900 200mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII) Mayor Ted Gatsas firing the pistol to start the race.
Cigna/Elliot 5k – Nikon D700 1/500th f5.6 ISO 900 200mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)
Mayor Ted Gatsas firing the pistol to start the race.

 

Cigna/Elliot 5k - Nikon D700 1/800th f4 ISO 1000 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)
Cigna/Elliot 5k – Nikon D700 1/800th f4 ISO 1000 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)

 

Fox Point Sunset 5mile - Nikon D700 1/640th f4 ISO 1100 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII) Winner of the Fox Point Sunset 5Mile Race - pace 5:29.
Fox Point Sunset 5mile – Nikon D700 1/640th f4 ISO 1100 70mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)
Winner of the Fox Point Sunset 5Mile Race – pace 5:29.

 

Fox Point Sunset 5mile - Nikon D700 1/640th f4 ISO 1000 135mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)
Fox Point Sunset 5mile – Nikon D700 1/640th f4 ISO 1000 135mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)

 

Fox Point Sunset 5mile - Nikon D700 1/640th f4 ISO 900 200mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)
Fox Point Sunset 5mile – Nikon D700 1/640th f4 ISO 900 200mm (Nikon 70-200 VRII)

 

3 thoughts on “How to take 5k Race Photos

  • October 17, 2013 at 11:00 am
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    Looking forward to your comments on AF settings. I too shoot a D700 and 10K races. One thing I need to work on is leaving enough room in the pic. Trying to fill the frame to much and cutting off feet.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2013 at 11:53 am
    Permalink

    Thanks Ed. Slow going with the blog, but I’ll get this stuff going. Look at the end of this article:

    http://virgilvision.com/photo-blog/?p=1114

    I talk about my D700 settings, though lately I’m preferring an aperture of f4 to 4.5, but 5.6 is totally viable. If your lens is variable aperture I set it to lets say f5.6 so that it doesn’t change as I shoot.

    Reply

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