What's worse than shooting in the middle of the day, when the sun is high and the shadows are straight down? Shooting in the middle of the day in the forest! Midday spotty lighting is sometimes unavoidable, but with the right approach, good shots can still be captured. Here's a few tips that will help you GTS (Get The Shot).
#1: Work with the spotty lighting. Shoot the athlete right as they pass through a light patch. This will work best if the patch is fairly good size, and the background contains more shadows than light spots.
#2: Work against the spotty lighting. Pop a flash for fill on the athlete so that they stand out. Again, this works best to line up with a mostly shadowed background.
#3: Move further away and shoot zoomed to keep most of the bright spots out of the picture, this works best in combination with either of the two previous tips.
#4: Throw the flash into hypersync mode and try to fully overpower the spotty lighting. Any way you can reduce/eliminate the hot spots will make a significant difference.
#5: Get out of the forest and into the open! Okay… so this isn't really a way to shoot in the spotty lighting, but it will always solve the problem. Add a flash and you'll get some great shots!
#6: Compose between trees or bushes so that you can use them to cover bright spots around the athlete. Combine this with tip number one and you'll have a much better shot.
#7: Shoot from up higher towards the ground. This way you don't have the bright sky overpowering your image.