The Belmont Stakes

I spent Friday and Saturday at the Belmont Stakes, photographing my first assignment as an intern for the New York Times. Friday was all about prep: attending the mandatory meeting for photographers, claiming spots on the rail for the day of the race and setting up 4 remote cameras along the finish line. Each remote requires wiring, pre-composition and pre-focusing and plenty of testing to achieve the final shot.

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I was able to find a way onto the roof to shoot some aerials of the crowd and a race earlier in the day. I'm a sucker for graphic shots so this was the colors and harsh shadows were a dream for me. 

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 Griffith Gentilcore and his family drove 6 hours from Pittsburgh for the race. 

Griffith Gentilcore and his family drove 6 hours from Pittsburgh for the race. 

 Shanyn Nelson, from Ellicott City, MD, was completing a bucket list item to see all three races of the Triple Crown. She started making her own hats with a friend this year and both are working to create a business to sell affordable race day hats. 

Shanyn Nelson, from Ellicott City, MD, was completing a bucket list item to see all three races of the Triple Crown. She started making her own hats with a friend this year and both are working to create a business to sell affordable race day hats. 

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 These two had just met that day at the race. 

These two had just met that day at the race. 

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 Some of the other veteran sports photographers told me that this water truck will haunt my nightmares. It came around after every race and constantly disrupted any prep we were working on. Sometimes you would see it rounding the bend at the end of the track and you'd have to scramble, knowing you had about a minute to securely bag the camera before it was hit was a hard spray of water. As stressful as that was, in a way it felt like a game. 

Some of the other veteran sports photographers told me that this water truck will haunt my nightmares. It came around after every race and constantly disrupted any prep we were working on. Sometimes you would see it rounding the bend at the end of the track and you'd have to scramble, knowing you had about a minute to securely bag the camera before it was hit was a hard spray of water. As stressful as that was, in a way it felt like a game. 

 I loved these kitschy foam crowns that were given to everyone upon entry. They also offered a nice pop of color in many of the photos. 

I loved these kitschy foam crowns that were given to everyone upon entry. They also offered a nice pop of color in many of the photos. 

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This was a shot from one of the remotes from a camera mounted right in front of the finish line. It was the shot that ran on the front of the Sports page. 

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The NYRA commissioned a new trophy for the Triple Crown this year, and it was on display before the race for VIPs. If Justify had not won, it would have remained un-engraved and could have possibly gone unused for years. 

 A handheld angle of the finish line. 

A handheld angle of the finish line. 

 Jockey Mike Smith celebrates after winning the Belmont Stakes.

Jockey Mike Smith celebrates after winning the Belmont Stakes.

 Fans photograph Justify as he is cooled down post-race.

Fans photograph Justify as he is cooled down post-race.