BL Blog

Behind The Shot: Above the Bar

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos.


Photographer: Scott Roeder

Gear: Nikon D3sNikon 400mm f/2.8D AF-S, Monopod

Settings: ISO 320, f/2.8, 1/6400

Backstory: Track and field is among my favorite sports to shoot. There are plenty of different individual events, the athletes are amazing, and the opportunities for making a creative image are endless. It also gives me a great chance to work on shooting tight and challenging myself.

I wanted a clean background so I chose to shoot sitting on the ground and as close as possible, while still being able to capture the high jumpers full body within the frame. Usually my camera is set to a single focus point in the center for increased focusing response, and AI SERVO so that I can track my subjects. After a few shots I noticed two issues, first that I had empty space at the top of the frame and that the high jumpers feet were getting cut off, and secondly that my focus had jumped to the bar. Tracking the athletes as they made their approach to the bar and keeping my focus on their face led to the framing being off, and the quick focus of the D3s allowed the focus to switch when the bar crossed the center focus point. To fix both of these issues, I decided to manually focus roughly 8-10 inches in front of the bar, where I knew I wanted to catch the high jumpers at their peak. Having the focus preset also allowed me to concentrate on getting the whole body of the athletes in the frame. The expression, body position, and clean background really made this image a keeper for me!

Scott lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and shoots weddings, sports, portraits, products, or anything else you throw at him.

Check out more of Scott’s work at the link below!

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Alexandria Huff is a portrait photographer based in San Francisco. Her tutorials can be found here on the BorrowLenses Blog, 500px, Shutterfly, Snapknot, and SmugMug. She specializes in studio lighting. Follow her work on 500px.


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