This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
471. The press photographer is called upon to photograph athletic sports of all kinds, and he should be acquainted, to a greater or less extent, with the particular features of the various games, so that he may photograph the important points - the ones which are most interesting - and make accurate records of the event.
472. The photographing of athletes in action requires a focal-plane shutter. In fact, the best camera to use is one of the reflex type, for with this type it is possible to make the exposure at the exact moment desired. This is important in photographing all moving objects - horses as well as men.
473. The photographs reproduced in Illustration No. 93 show a few of the events taken on an inter-scholastic field day. Figure 1 is the start of a 440 yard run. In photographing the starts of running races the shutter should be released at the second the starter fires the pistol. Always hold the camera low, as it will give the most nearly correct position of the subjects and show them to best advantage. If the camera were held on the level with the eye when one is standing, nothing but the backs of the runners would show. In Figure 2 is shown the finish of a run. The exposure was made at exactly the right instant, for the leader had just broken the white cord stretched across the track. With these two pictures, representing the start and finish of an important race, and a little story connected with the incident, one has a good article for any wide-awake daily newspaper or sporting magazine.
Recording Finishes Of Races. The camera is now officially used on many race tracks, and especially at horse races, where large amounts of money are at stake, to give a perfectly accurate judgment of the "finish." In these cases the camera is placed directly above the finishing line of the track, its angle of view including the whole width of the track.
475. A cord is stretched across the track, one end being attached to the shutter of the camera. The instant the leader touches this cord the shutter is released, making an instantaneous exposure - a perfect record on a sensitive plate of the positions occupied by all of the horses near the finishing line. A white chalk mark across the track, or a heavy white rope stretched high enough to be out of the way of the racers, enables a perfect and accurate judgment to be made of the positions of each contestant. Should a dispute arise at any time the photograph can be produced, which will settle any contention that might arise.
Starts And Finishes. The "starts" of races are not so important as the "finishes." Newspapers and magazines desire photographs of the finishes of the races.
Shot-Put And Hammer-Throwing. In making a photograph of the "shot-put" or the "hammer-throwing," the shutter must be released almost at the instant the shot or the hammer leaves the hand. An instant may be allowed to elapse, however, in order to secure an image of the object being thrown, when it is at its height. An example of this is shown in Illustration No. 93, Figure 3.