I was watching the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and had one of those “Glad I wasn’t there” moments. It had rained all day in Louisville and
the total rainfall was nearly three inches. Having covered the race a few times I knew the conditions would totally suck for the shooters
but extreme conditions sometimes make for dramatic pictures.
The next morning when I picked up my New York Times I was not disappointed. The Times ran a race photo the full width of the sports
front page and it looked great. The way the horses were bunched up in the shot I figured it was turn fourth and they were all covered with
mud. To make it even better, like taking a cue from a high-powered movie director, the sun popped out right before the big race and the
bright sun added enough contrast to the scene that the photos really snapped.
Heavy responsibilities come with being “The Picture Coach” and when I saw that photo I knew I needed to track down the photographer for a
little — “How’d ya do it
Enter Rob Carr, a staff photographer for the Associated Press based in Baltimore, MD.
The Picture Coach-Rob, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Tell us a little about yourself and your history with the
Rob Carr– I grew up in Kentucky, went to school at Eastern Kentucky University and worked all over the state. This was my 21st year
shooting the Derby.
TPC- At a big event like this, how many photographers did the AP have covering the race?
RC– The AP had 7 staff photographers covering the race along with several freelancer photographers positioned along the track.
TPC-Where did you position yourself for this race and what were the conditions with all that rain.
RC– While I’ve shot the race from just about every position on the track, including the 2000 Derby from a helicopter, I always love
shooting the fourth turn because that is usually where the race is won, or lost.
This year I decided to move back out of the turn a bit more to get more of the horses as they came out the turn.
While it rained most the day, we got lucky about 45 minutes before post as the rained stopped and for the first time the sun popped out
long enough for some nice evening light to begin streaming across the track. A welcome relief to trying to keep camera’s dry all day but a
rush to change the ISO on all the remote cameras before the race started.
TPC-What gear did you use for the race?
RC– I shot the above photo with a Canon MKIV with a 500mm f-4 Canon lens and I also had three remotes mounted to the starting gate, a
16-35mm over the 1 slot, along with a 15mm fisheye on 5DMKII as well as a Sigma 8.5 fisheye on another 5D MKII.
TPC-Great stuff Rob, thanks again.