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Aravaipa Strong | Finger Lakes Trail | Photography

I do fun, for me, strange, crazy, weird things. I do things that other people might not want to do or see the value in doing. I do them for many reasons. One reason I do them is because it allows me to enjoy nature in a way you just cannot enjoy nature in any other way.

When you spend over ten hours out in nature moving across this landscape on your feet you appreciate nature in a way you can’t when engaging it in different ways. You appreciate all the stones, the roots, and the thorns. You appreciate the mud and muck and stream crossings. OK. Maybe appreciate isn’t the right word for those things.

Finger Lakes Trail Stream Crossing
Stream crossing along the Finger Lakes Trail.

But what happens is you experience nature. You don’t just see nature. Seeing nature is great, but experiencing nature is just another level. When you spend that much time out in nature you see things a little differently. I like how my mind shifts when I am out there.

This different way of experiencing nature helps me to appreciate nature better. It helps me to think about nature more. It helps me to be a better artist. It helps me to be more creative.

Taking the time to get out in the woods on a virtual 50k like the Aravaipa Strong race gives me time to reflect and work on my craft in ways I can’t at other times.

The Finger Lakes Trail Winds Through The Forest
Sometimes its a challenge to even see the trail as it winds through the woods along the Finger Lakes Trail system.

Exploring and creating photographs along the way is one of my favorite things to do. When you are in the process of running a 50k it takes on a whole different feeling. As you get tired you see things you want to photographs and your legs hurt and you don’t want to bend down or squat but you do it for the sake of the photograph. You don’t want to take extra time when you are already going to be out here for a long time but you do it for the sake of the photograph. Also, you don’t take extra photographs because it takes too much time and hurts too much.

The weather was fine during my run but the sky was mostly cloudy so it wasn’t great for the kind of photography I wanted to create during this adventure. I wanted to create photographs with wide angles showing the whole space in front of me the land and the sky as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately the sky was just mostly gray and overcast. The light in the woods would be dim and the background behind trees would turn out mostly white or gray.

Panoramic Image from the Finger Lakes Trail
Gloomy and cloudy skies persisted throughout my adventure in the Finger Lakes region.

I took with me my GoPro and my small Nikon mirror-less camera that fits in a small pocket on my vest. Most people use a GoPro to create video and I do some of that too, but I really love to use them create time lapse footage as I run. It creates a cool effect you don’t see very often and I can also very easily select a single image to use if there is one shot I really like.

Then when I encounter some scenery I really like I take out my Nikon and capture images of the landscape around me. I usually focus on creating very wide angle photographs with a very shallow depth of field. I often like photographs that have a shallow depth of field. I do not usually change my settings during this process. When I am out adventuring I do not want to have to think about my settings. I want to be able to literally run across a scene get my camera out compose the photograph and capture it.

Finger Lakes Trail Pond Crossing on A Beaver Dam
At this pond along the Finger Lakes Trail, the trail itself crosses along a beaver dam which was almost completely washed out. So, that was interesting.

Having my camera settings all predetermined allows me the freedom to not have to worry about that. It also reduces the risk of me making mistakes and not capturing good images because my settings were wrong. It is often dark in the woods so a wide open aperture is often required and that creates the shallow depth of field. I know what I like and I know what the situation warrants and I stick to it and try to create photographs that fit that style.

Also, if you are out running and getting fatigued not only is your body fatigued your mind is fatigued. If my settings are not ready to go and I have to set them for each photo I take I may just forget or I might make mistakes when changing settings. I want to create good images with as little chance for error as possible. I also think that the way I choose to do it gives my images from these adventures a unique look. Typical landscape images are created to maximize depth of field, but these photos are not.

Stream Crossing Along The Finger Lakes Trail
This stream is in an area of the Finger Lakes Trail I am more familiar with from previous adventures.

If you enjoyed the photography I added images you to see in my Finger Lakes Trail Gallery

If you are interested in my photography process or are interested in the adventures I go on in the Finger Lakes region join my community and be part of the conversation by entering your email below.

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