First. it was two days at the Prefontaine Classic, three days off, and back to Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., for four more the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
I've been shooting meets there since 1997 and it never gets old. I first saw Galen Rupp and Ashton Eaton in High School. They are now both elite athletes with Olympic medals.
I always wonder which of the athletes I'm shooting at the beginning of the career will someday be standing on the podium accepting their Olympic medal. I wonder which one of them may end up disgraced after a doping charge.
I see track and field athletes as something special. They seem to be the best of what humans are capable of being, especially in the physical realm. There's not one kind of greatness with track and field athletes. Each event heat sheet is populated with a specific set of talents and attributes.
I'm always fascinated with the way a shot putter spins and throws with such grace and agility. Imagining them in street clothes, you'd never guess they'd be able to move like that. Their strength is obvious, but alone it's not what gets the shot where it needs to be.
The sprinters are all about full throttle, flat out, technical speed. Distance runners are about efficiency and strategy. Jumpers seemingly defy physics, but pole vaulters in a class of their own. I believe they possess the highest level of talent in terms strength, speed, technique and courage. Anyone can run, throw and jump, (maybe not well) but very few can get pole vault.
These photos represent my effort photographing humans at their best. It took me six days.