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WE SHOOT HORSES, DON'T WE?
Lisa Altobelli
April 26, 2004
To shoot the most exciting two minutes in sports, a.k.a. the Kentucky Derby, SI photographer Bill Frakes puts in three days of hard labor, setting up 47 cameras (right) to ensure every hoof beat, cracked whip and flared nostril can be shot. He starts on Wednesday, shipping 25 cases of gear to Louisville. On Thursday he walks the milelong track, then meets with his eight assistants to discuss tasks. On Friday he's up at dawn for one last look before heading to the photographers' meeting with track officials to negotiate camera positions. He then places his cameras and sticks red tape on the rails to mark the points on the track where the horses should be when each assistant has to push the button. By post time on Saturday he's ready...although, he says, there's always a slipup or two. "One time I sent an assistant to scout out a shot of handicappers, and she went to the betting windows looking for people in wheelchairs instead of finding the guys handicapping the races."
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April 26, 2004

We Shoot Horses, Don't We?

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To shoot the most exciting two minutes in sports, a.k.a. the Kentucky Derby, SI photographer Bill Frakes puts in three days of hard labor, setting up 47 cameras (right) to ensure every hoof beat, cracked whip and flared nostril can be shot. He starts on Wednesday, shipping 25 cases of gear to Louisville. On Thursday he walks the milelong track, then meets with his eight assistants to discuss tasks. On Friday he's up at dawn for one last look before heading to the photographers' meeting with track officials to negotiate camera positions. He then places his cameras and sticks red tape on the rails to mark the points on the track where the horses should be when each assistant has to push the button. By post time on Saturday he's ready...although, he says, there's always a slipup or two. "One time I sent an assistant to scout out a shot of handicappers, and she went to the betting windows looking for people in wheelchairs instead of finding the guys handicapping the races."

ROOF
The best vantage point for a wide shot of the pack as it heads into the first turn.

GRANDSTAND
A prime spot to get a picture that shows both the race and the spectators.

HEAD-ON
Gets the pack out of the gate and heading for home; best angle if winner runs wide.

FINISH LINE
Where Frakes mans his camera—shooting the stretch run and the fans.

STRIP CAMERA
A wide shot of the horses as they speed toward the finish line, and a good shot of a photo finish.

UNDER-RAIL FINISH LINE REMOTES
The wide-angle lenses get the horses charging down the homestretch; the long lenses give a compressed view of the horses at the finish.

UNDER-RAIL WIDE ANGLE
For close-ups as the horses approach the turn.

UNDER-RAIL ZOOM
Best vantage to get the spires, grandstand and rail in one shot.

LADDER
Good position if a horse on the inside makes a move deep in the stretch.

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