Sunday, July 29, 2007

Clearing up Confusion

This is an example of what a reporter with a camera might carry while walking about covering an event such as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

This, however, is what I carry for six to eight hours while walking around a two-and-a-half mile racetrack in 80-90 degree heat looking for different angles to cover an event such as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. I'm the size of a small NFL lineman, so that's not exactly a walk in the park.

***Note: everything pictured in this photo, except for the 400mm f/2.8 lens (I hope to have one soon) is 100% bought and paid for by ME.

After the race is all done, and I've run up and down pit road with this gear trying to get celebration photos of the winner so that I don't get outdone by the Associated Press, I go back to the media center and drink a few bottles of water because I've usually sweat out all the fluids in my body. Then I sit down and edit through more than 1000 images to get to the 10 or so I will submit to the paper. Next, I tone all of the select photos to make sure the color and size is correct. After that, I write captions for the images and finally transmit them back to The News-Sentinel.

Now my responsibilites include writing stories to go with the photos. **Note - not on race day; Reggie Hayes and Pete DiPrimio handle those duties.** I have to be knowledgable of the drivers' story lines and statistics. I have to think of questions that don't make me look more ignorant than I am to ask the drivers. I transcribe quotes to make sure I'm correct, that is if I was lucky enough to make it to the press conference in time. Thank goodness at events such as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard a lot of the quotes are tanscribed by track staff. But, if I'm not present I might not get the context of the conversation. Once this is all done, I write the story(s). That part takes me a lot more time than seasoned writers such as Hayes, DiPrimio, and Blake Sebring. Those guys can bang out a story. Finally, I read through the story to make sure it makes sense then send it off to The News-Sentinel.

This year I tried my hand at shooting video to go with the still photos, but with my other duties I just didn't have time to edit and process the raw footage.

I suppose that just about covers what I do in one day at the track.

Oh, then I get to hike with all that gear about a quarter mile or more out to my car in the media parking lot. Follow that up with a dinner stop and 2-hour drive ... if I'm going home.

Stats: 2 full-size digital SLR cameras (sometimes 3)
400mm f2.8 lens
300mm f2.8 lens
70-200mm f2.8 lens
16-35mm f2.8 lens
50mm f1.4 lens
1.4x teleconverter
waist pack
Extra batteries and chargers
Flash cards
Audio recorder w/external microphone
Computer bag with laptop
point and shoot digital camera for web-sized video
a lot of other miscellaneous crap I probably don't really need

Total weight: around 40-65 pounds of gear
Total miles walked during one day: upwards of 5
Total hours: 14-20 depending on the day
Total meals: 2
Total restroom visits: 1 at the track and 1 at dinner

Amount of perceived appreciation for what it takes to cover a race such as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: negligible


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