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Double Image: Recent Redbank Grad McFarland Balanced Competing in Track With Taking Photos of Sports at School

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Madison McFarland sprinted to get into position.

She took a deep breath, aimed at her target and shot.

McFarland didn’t have long to celebrate her success. She had to take off again, this time to a field to throw the javelin.

It was a hectic spring for the recent Redbank Valley graduate, who competed in a track and field event exclusive to only her: racing between her events and taking photos of her teammates doing theirs.

“It was difficult,” McFarland said. “I did the javelin and I would always miss the 100-meter dash. I knew people wanted me to take pictures of them running, and I couldn’t always get to it. I wanted to rush, but I also wanted to give my best effort trying to throw the javelin as far as possible.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

McFarland received lots of requests from her teammates and classmates. That’s because she developed a keen eye for photography and captured plenty of compelling images this school year at Redbank.

“It’s fun, but also stressful,” McFarland said. “So many people want you to take pictures, and it’s hard because you have to run back and forth, back and forth.”

McFarland’s love of photography began just a few short years ago when she was 16. A friend wanted McFarland to take some pictures of her. She did with her phone, but wanted better quality, so she scrounged up her mother’s old camera and began snapping off shots.

Turns out they were pretty good.

(Chris Marshall goes up for a dunk for the Redbank Valley basketball team. This is one of Madison McFarland’s favorite images she captured last year/photo by Madison McFarland)

McFarland took more pictures, then started shooting sporting events at Redbank. It wasn’t long before people began to take notice of her skills.

“A lot of parents and all my friends were like, ‘You have a talent,’” McFarland said. “That’s when I kind of realized that I could go forward and be successful in photography.”

McFarland continued to hone her craft, especially her sports photography. If there was a sporting event going on at Redbank Valley, she was there, camera in hand.

She was proud of many of her shots, but a few more than others. McFarland was particularly happy with an image of Chris Marshall going up for a dunk and Brenden “Boo” Shreckengost running through the snow.

Football is the sport she enjoys shooting the most, she said.

“I understand football. I know how football works,” McFarland said. “It’s pretty straightforward because you just follow the football. Shooting football is when the adrenalin pumps the most in me.”

(Brenden “Boo” Shreckengost gains some yards in the snow during the Bulldogs’ epic postseason run/Madison McFarland photo)

Baseball and softball she finds the most difficult — mostly because of the difficulty in finding good, unobstructed views of the action.

“It’s so hard sometimes,” she said, chuckling. “Volleyball is pretty hard, too, sometimes, but not as hard as baseball and softball.”

McFarland doesn’t take her photography lightly. She continues to work on her craft, finding ways to improve, either through positioning herself better at events, to better editing software, to better equipment.

McFarland got a new long lens as an early Christmas present last December, just a few days before Redbank Valley played for a PIAA Class A football championship in Hershey.

With her new lens in tow, She traveled with the team and was able to get on the field to take photos of the game.

“It felt amazing,” McFarland said. “I want to thank D9sports and Explore for getting me on the field. The adrenalin was pouring through me. I was really proud of some of the photos I got.”

McFarland plans on pursuing photography as a career. She started her own business, Madssphotography, and will take a year off from school to try to build her portfolio.

She plans on focusing mostly on sports photography, but also hopes to do portraits and weddings at some point.

McFarland said she always wants to improve.

“Obviously, I want to keep getting better, especially at sports,” McFarland said. “I feel like I can get better at finding the right angles and anticipation. I just can’t wait to see what I can do and how far I can take this. This is my dream.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.