Tag Archives: Nature

Goals are not just for running

I have talked a lot about various goals I have and things I have done. Lately that has mostly pertained to running. I’m here to tell you, as if you didn’t know, that goals do not have to only pertain to your running or athletic ventures. It is always good to be setting goals for anything that is important in your life where you would like to accomplish something.

I have many goals that expand to other areas of my life outside of running. I have lots of goals for my photography and writing for example. I have also that I have been able to accomplish many of those goals. And I couldn’t have done that without the support of many of you who are out there reading this right now. Most of the time I can’t even believe I have accomplished those things that I have. When doubt sets in and I feel like I’m not good enough I need to reflect on those things that I have already done.

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If someone had told me when I first set out on this photography journey back in 2000 that I would be a published photographer and writer, that I would sell artwork in galleries, and that I would have joint and solo art exhibits featuring my work I don’t think I would have believed any of it. But I have put in the hard work and dedication that it takes and I have been able to make those things happen. I have explored so many avenues with my writing and photography. I have sold artwork online through my website, I’ve written posts on social media that lead to sales, I have been paid to photograph events, and I have taken portrait photography of people’s beloved dogs. How did I ever get so lucky?

Hard work, that’s how. I have been fortunate to accomplish all these goals but they are not the only things I want to do. I want to become more consistent with everything I do. Write more, photograph more, have more exhibits, publish more online and in print. These are all items on my goal list and I am working hard to make them happen. I hope that you enjoy being along for the ride.

One thing that became a goal for me photographically followed with my running more trail runs. I wanted to create a series of photography showcasing the beauty of nature that I encountered while I was out running. This has been a challenge on many fronts. I have been searching for the perfect combination of gear to use while I am out running that is easy to carry on a tun, easy to use, and also creates the high quality images I am looking for. I think I am almost there in that respect. Another part of the challenge is that frequently when I go out running and take a camera I don’t even know what if anything I will see that will want to photograph. So this requires improvisation and the ability to work without a net so to speak. No planning regarding how the photography aspect will work is really possible. I just run and then when I see something I feel drawn to photograph I do the best I can to make it work. And to be perfectly honest this method does not work real well in a great many circumstances. A better shot could be accomplished with more planning and more conventional gear, but that is not what this process is about.

So on the topic of this goal of creating a series o photography that is created in the process of running I decided to commit to creating a photography exhibit that features my photography that has been taken when I have been out on a run. This is pretty new for me. The apraoch is new and the way I am constructing the exhibit is pretty new. I have only ever crated one exhibit that followed such a narrow theme before. I only hope that this upcoming exhibit can live up to what I believe have been my pretty high standards of quality that I have set in my previous works.

This exhibit is currently being planed for February 2018. The exhibit will be on display at the Tioga Arts Council in Owego, NY. I will publish more information regarding this exhibit as the plans firm up. Thank you for your continued support.

If you wish to support me in my continued endevor including this art exhibit featuring run photography you can contribute to my Patreon page: KRNaturaPhoto

Thank you to everyone who has already chosen to suppoyt me through Patreon or purchasing my work. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

If you choose to support me on Patreon you can do so for as little as $1 per month. However, each amount you decide to contribute earns you different rewards as follows below:

Pledge $1 or more per month
This will allow you to gain access to the Patreon activity feed where there will be posts of photography not available elsewhere.
Pledge $2 or more per month
You will be sent a digital image of one of my photographs that is suitable for digital displays. Please be sure to provide your email or social media links on your Patron page so I can provide you with the image through those means.
Pledge $5 or more per month
I will post an image of a subject suggested by you to the Patreon Activity feed. If I do not have that exact image in my portfolio I will post something as close as possible or try to create that photograph. Keep in mind that I specialize in nature, wildlife, and animals when you request an image. Images in those categories are the ones I will be able to post.
Pledge $10 or more per month
You will receive a full size digital image of one of my photographs. You may choose between a photograph of a dog, bird, flowers, or landscapes. Please be sure to provide your email or social media links on your Patron page so I can provide you with the image through those means.
Pledge $20 or more per month
Patrons supporting at this level will receive an 11×14 print featuring a dog or cat from our local animal shelter.
Pledge $60 or more per month
Patrons supporting at this level will receive a 10 page 8×10 photo book featuring dogs and cats from our local animal shelter that I have photographed.

Exploring Ithaca, NY

So apparently 6 months ago I started writing this post and never got back to it. Distractions, procrastination, just plain forgot. You name it. It happens to the best of us. I added all these photos to a draft and then never came back to it. I have no idea why.

I went to Ithaca, NY. One of my favorite places and I just wanted to explore the area a little more in depth than I had in the past.

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I went to my favorite locations, but I tried to focus on different things. Sometimes the little things. Sometimes things that are just a little askew. I wanted to look at things from different angles. Use my different tools that I had at my disposal. This included several different cameras and lenses all with their own set of capabilities.

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Sometimes you are lucky and nature simply grants you the perfect set up for interesting photographs. I love waterfalls and I love Buttermilk Falls State Park, but seriously can you beat to huge trees jammed up in a waterfall and one of them is at an angle so you can show it coming right at you. That was one of the advantages of my different camera set up on this trip. I would not likely have been able to capture that image with my traditional waterfall shooting set up.

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Sometimes you just need to get close to the subject. This photo was taken at the perfect angle to allow me to focus on the flower blooming inside the leaves an blur out the rest of the irrelevant detail in the image.

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And when you are walking around the Cornell Botanical Gardens there is an abundance of oportunities. And something just catches your eye and you see a tree with surrounding flowers and you just know that this is the image you want to capture. It just makes sense. You get the correct camera and lens combination and you create an image that matches your vision.

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I used my macro lens to get p close and personal with these flowers growing low to the ground. My lens is only 60mm so I was likely in some kind of strangely contorted posture taking this photo. I was either hunched over, crouched, on my hands and knees, or lying down. The things one will do for a photo.

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I loved this little grouping of flowers. I was very happy I was able to capture three of them in focus together with another flower out of focus in the background. The little twig adds another element in the photo from the time of year when flowers are blooming and pushing up through the dead debris of the past.

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Really this photo does not require much commentary for me. If you are familiar with our part of the Finger Lakes at all you know what this is a photo of. This is Taughannock Falls State Park. This photo is from the upper look out area near the visitor center. It is quite a majestic view. This is a place that must be experienced.

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This photo is from along the lower portion of Taughannock Falls State Park as the water runs away from where the falls pours down it creates this stream and nice rock formation through the gorge.

 

Randomly selected photo from Ossian

I’ve been wanting to share more, but I have been so busy trying to get a bunch of different projects done. So, here is one randomly selected photo from the Ossian Mountain Run at Swain Ski Resort. Many more to share in the future.

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Ossian Mountain Run. Swain Ski Resort.

Some Art Exhibit Photos

For anyone who was unable to visit and enjoy the opening of my joint art exhibit with my dad here are some photos I was able to take during the show.

I tried to capture a few long exposure photos to show people moving through the exhibit space.

The images themselves didn’t come out as well as I had hoped but trying to capture some photos and mingle with guests was more challenging than I had anticipated.

 

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Photographing Mendon Mauler

One of the reasons I love trail running is that it brings me closer to nature. Trail running gives me another reason to get outside and enjoy nature. Even better trail running encourages me to explore areas I might not otherwise visit. Trail running also allows me to cover more ground in a shorter time than I would be able to on a regular hike, so I see more nature on one trip than I would be able to without running.

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As a photographer and a runner my mind is in constant conflict. Run as best you can Vs. Stop and take a photo. I love taking photographs of nature even more than I love running through it. So, I’ve developed a strategy to be able to do both as equally effective as possible. I found the perfect hydration pack that allows me to carry water and fuel as well as my camera and cell phone, the Nathan VaporAir.

You might be thinking how on earth are you fitting a camera in a hydration pack? I am able to do that because I have a Nikon 1 J4 specifically for easy travel. It is about the size of a cell phone but bulkier and fits right in one of the front pouches. So, now on almost every trail run my pack and my camera is along for the ride.

Mendon Mauler was a tough race for me. One of the longest trail races I have run to date. It was also a race that started at 6:30 pm. I don’t usually run in the evening. And the temperature at start time was around 80 degrees. I do not like to run in the heat and usually avoid it at all costs.

The first 4 mile lap felt brutal in the heat. When I got to the end of the first lap I could have decided to stop at 4 miles and boy was that tempting. Being done and getting out of the heat sounded like a very good idea. But I had sign up for the 8 mile run and I was committing to the 8 miles and passed on the opportunity to finish at 4 miles.

Lap 2 felt much better. I was tired and slow but the temperature started to drop as the sun went down. I was actually cold for half of the second 4 mile lap. Then I cam to all the hills and warmed back up. The course was challenging for me. No huge hills but a lot of short steep inclines and declines. They were just burning up my legs.

Near the end of each lap there is a steep incline followed by an even steeper decline covered in slippery rolling rocks that defy description on the decent. It can really only be experienced as you try to maintain your balance on the slippery sliding rocks under your feet.

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I decided that this spot would be the perfect spot to stop and take a break for a minute. Stop. Soak in the nature. Remember why I am out here and remember why I love doing these things that most other people probably think are crazy. I got out my camera and composed a few shots of the incline as a fellow runner ascended. Then a paused again at the top to compos a few shots of the sights from the hi-point before I descended. It was then that I was really happy about my decision to go another 4 miles. Without putting in the extra effort I would not have been able to capture these nice images.

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Then a relatively short time later came the part I was now really looking forward to. The finish line and a chance to rest, re-hydrate, eat food, and reunite with my friends that also ran the race. I was also able to capture some nice photographs of the sun setting on Mendon Ponds Park.

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Finger Lakes Trail Run/Hike

In life we often have these things that we would like to do. They float around in our minds and we think of them often. They are things we think we would enjoy but they require some level of planning and commitment to actually do them. They are things that we think we will enjoy and genuinely want to do for our own enjoyment. But often we never get there. These things never get realized. They just remain free-floating aspirations in our minds. There just never seems to be a right time to do it.

One of the biggest challenges in life is realizing there is never a right time to do anything. We just have to go out into the world and make things happen. If we wait for the right time we will never do anything.

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For several years now one thing that I have wanted to do was go on a long point to point hike over the course of an entire days worth of daylight hours and see how far I could get. I love hiking. I go hiking frequently. I have gone on some fairly long and challenging hikes up the mountains of the Adirondacks. But all of these have been relatively short round trip day hikes in comparison to what I really wanted to do.

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There really has been no reason for me not to do this. There is a great trail right nearby. The Finger Lakes Trail, which traverses NY from east to west, runs right through the area where I live. But I have never really even been on it. As I my interest in really doing this has grown I even bought maps of the Finger Lakes Trail so I could plan. But still nothing happened. No hiking the Finger Lakes Trail ensued.

Recently I decided there had been enough sitting around and thinking about this great hiking opportunity that was so near at hand but still seemed so unreachable. I decided that I was going to do it. With the addition of trail running to my skill set I decided that undertaking this hike made even more sense and I decided to make it more challenging by starting farther out than I would if I was just going to hike the whole way.

 

 

I was taking some vacation time and I was setting aside one day just to hike. I asked for advice from others that I knew who had some experience hiking the trail. I gathered the necessary equipment and made the needed plans. I was nervous and excited because I had never done anything like this, but I was committed to doing it.

The plan was to leave my car outside Robert Treman State Park where Enfield Creek leaves the park and to be dropped off to start my hike in the Finger Lakes National Forest near Burdet, and that is what I did. I packed my Nathan hydration pack full of food, water, maps, GPS, compass, and a few other basics and I was off.

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The beginning of the trail in the Finger Lakes National Forest was an incline in the begining, So I started out with just a fast hike to get warmed up. But the trail quickly became more runable. So, I ran. I decided at the outset that given the distance I was planning to cover and the fact that I had never run nor hiked that far in my entire life I was going to take it relatively easy and not push myself up hills or push the pace too much on flat lands. The goal was to make it to the end not to have a fast pace. So even if I was running at the time and I came to a hill and I felt good I hiked up it instead of running to conserve energy for the long haul.

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When I first started thinking about doing this I had no idea what the terrain would look like or feel like to my legs. I was expecting a lot of hills and elevation changes that would require me to walk or even stop all together and rest. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how runable much of the trail was. So that led to the next challenge for me. When you are a trail runner and also a photographer you are of two minds. You want to run and get in a good flow and keep moving when you feel good. You don’t want to stop unless you need a rest. But as a photographer I kept seeing things that my photographer mind would say to me stop and take a photo of that. There was obviously great scenery everywhere. I saw several little orange newts, a small turtle along a roadside, a 12 week old Shar Pei puppy and innumerable other photographic opportunities. But as you don’t see it in this post, I did not photograph it. I included every photo I took in this post. I am amazed at how low a number I kept it to.

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This being my first time doing anything like this I learned a lot. And as we all know we learn the most from our mistakes, of which I made a few. Mistake number one, over packing. I had no idea how long this would really take me. I had an idea of what I thought I could complete it in but I didn’t have any real experience to base that on, so I wanted to be prepared and pack things I could need. This over packing mostly came in the form of food. I had way more food than I needed. I only ate two Cliff Bars and a small amount of trail mix the entire way.  That brings me to mistake number two. The food. I love Clif Bars. They are great food for before or after working out or hiking or any kind of adventuring. They are not great for eating while on the move especially when you have been running and breathing hard and your mouth is dry. Trying to eat a Clif Bar under those conditions was like trying to swallow glue. Each bite required a sip of water to wash it down. This was also true of the trail mix. And this in part lead to mistake number three, not enough water. I thought it would be likely I would run out during the trip, but I also thought that I had enough to consume that I would not be in danger of dehydration. My Nathan pack holds 2 liters and I had that completely filled. I also was pretty sure I would be able to refill water somewhere along the way and I was at Robert Treman State Park. However, I ran out of water much sooner than I thought I would around mile 18 or 19 and due to that I decided that it wasn’t a good idea to keep running and just decided to hike the rest of the way, which made the trip last a lot longer than I expected.  Mistake number 4 was foot care. My feet took a beating, as is expected on a long trip like that, but I think part of it was self-inflicted. While I was running I accumulated a significant ammount of gravel in my shoes rolling around under the balls of my feet and toes. Eventually after I couldn’t stand it anymore I decided to empty the gravel out of my shoes, also around mile 18 or 19. It was at this point after emptying the gravel out I realized I had another foot related issue, blisters. The balls of my feet felt pretty swollen and painful. I was pretty sure my feet were getting blisters, my right foot worse than my left. I didn’t stop to confirm this until I got home, what good would that have done. I just pushed on. I am not sure if the gravel caused the blisters or my shoes just weren’t fitting right. I hadn’t gotten blisters previously in these shoes but this was by far the most miles I had worn them for at one time. So, I will have to figure out a solution for preventing blisters on my next trip. The blister problem slowed me down considerably each step became increasingly painful, but I was determined to get to the end of this trip. The blisters really sucked a lot of the joy out of this adventure. It became more of a battle of will than a thing to enjoy. I just had to force myself to keep moving. I kept thinking I was close to the end but it seemed like it kept getting further and further away. I was so happy when I finally saw a sign for state park lands, because that meant I was entering Robert Treman State Park and I really knew where I was and knew the end was in sight. These mistakes cost me a significant ammount of time. I am pretty sure I would have been done much faster if I had not made these mistakes. But you live and you learn.

I am not normally much of a selfie taker, I always feel uncomfortable with it and I feel like that often shows up int he photos and as a photographer I hate that. But as this was my first trip of this kind I decided it was a good idea to take some photos along the way and text them to my wife and post them to Facebook so people would know I was OK. My wife is supportive of all my adventures but she does worry, as I am sure all wives do, and she always tells me to be careful and not get hurt and I always tell her I will. But I wanted her to be as at ease as possible so I tried to stay in touch to some degree. It was also a nice break

The elevation changes were really not too bad. A little over 4,000 feet, which in total sounds like a lot but spread out over 31 miles is really pretty manageable. I am planning to run a 25k trail race that will feature 4,000 ft of elevation in just 16 miles. That will be a real challenge. But I will say no matter how relatively little elevation change there is once you are at mile 20+ and have blisters on your feet you groan everytime you see a hill.

I was really happy with my paces through mile 18 when the blisters and lack of water became an issue.

The first half of this trip was great fun. The second half was a huge physical and mental challenge to overcome. At the end I wasn’t truly enjoying myself anymore, but I was pushing myself across the finish. It was one of those things that you are not enjoying in the moment but you know when you are done you will feel completely satisfied and happy that you did it. And that is exactly what it felt like. I was so happy that I decided to do it and that I finished my trip despite the challenges along the way. I definitely want to do something like this again. Probably not soon, but definitely again.