Canon Middle East had real viagra without prescription kindly lent me their very first EOS 1Dx to play with for a couple of weeks. These series of posts reflect my working with it … my stories straight from the field.
My first gig with this fantastic toy was shooting the Nike We Run Dubai event, a race that attracted over 5,000 runners across either 5k or 10k.
When Nike coach Tom took to the stage for a grand warm up, the pre-race energy was live and kicking. I sneaked up from behind to grab a shot … seeing the crowd bounce to the tunes was a thrilling experience. Nike did a grand job in pulling off this inaugural event.
I’m sure the start arena was beautifully lit but it proved a challenge for photography. The lighting at the start line was a b**** to shoot with huge flood lights from the start/finish arch right down the course, or better straight down the barrel of my 70-200mm lens. How does one manage the overkill of ten stops of lights combined with a fast pack of adrenaline-infused runners approaching at record speeds? Simple. You don’t!
Luckily, the race had two start waves. For the first start I opted for a saver option with a super wide shot just out of reach of the floodlights. The 1Dx has a full frame sensor so getting in the full scene was easy and at 12 frames per second, it allowed me to catch the full start sequence. The real brainwork was deciding which camera setting to use. To freeze action, I needed a minimum of a shutter 200/sec and a decent aperture of f7. To avoid surprises, I had to shoot manually so I cranked up the ISO to 32,000 to get the right exposure. Yes … you read it right … ISO 32,000 is insanely high but the 1Dx coped really well … a bit of noise but well within the acceptance levels.
Quick quality confirmation from the LCD screen allowed me to move to the next shot. Shooting an identical start from the same angle seemed pointless so I was ready to take on the challenge 100m from the start. Everything was pretty dark apart from the floodlights. I envisioned about 15 seconds between the race start and the time I’d get run over by these super fast athletes. I really wanted to get a head-on shot with the start arch in the background so I played the dials and settled at a slightly faster 320/sec at f8, again at a spectacular ISO 32,000. There was no chance to retake so I had to get it right first time round.
3, 2,1, go! I shot the start sequence as 24 frames in one go. As always, I released the trigger a bit earlier than needed but hey, I wasn’t about to run out of ammunition. The camera’s buffering is really fast too and I wouldn’t go anywhere without my favorite Sandisk Extreme Pro cards. It’s always difficult to judge distance when looking through the viewfinder but I got out in time with the shot I aimed for. Happy days! I let the fast boys pass by, got a bit closer to the
start and jumped back into the pack of runners, hoping that my two meter would be enough of a beacon that runners would spot me and go around me. I played the light, which at the end worked to my advantage, throwing a nice yellow glow over the crowd.
5k and 10k races go fast so there’s no time to chitchat. I had my bike ready so could get out on the course and capture the energy. Being a night run, I knew the lack of light could be an issue so I brought a pair of speed lights on stands as back up. Thankfully, the course was lit with these bright balloons on sticks (I’m sure there is better jargon) so I opted to use these instead. At one stage, I took out my 300m f2,8 lens to isolate these individual runners whilst maintaining the crowd element. And yes, ladies do photograph better than guys or at least they did at We Run Dubai.
So my first play with the Canon 1Dx was amazing. Shooting full-frame, kick ass fast and the ability to work at low light / high ISO proved themselves as valuable features during this challenging shoot. Canon has added more buttons on the camera body but the shutter remains at the same place as it’s always been. The two functionalities that threw me off guard at times were changing the ISO setting on the go, as the button has become smaller and moved slightly, and reviewing the resulting pictures, as the zoom function has changed. I guess change is just a matter of getting used to something different.
Thanks Nike for putting on a great show.