One of my favorite things that I have gotten the opportunity to do since becoming involved with the Southern Tier Running club is photographing their races. And that means taking a lot of photographs of a bunch of the friends I have made along the way and sharing them all over the internet and there is nothing they can do about it.
This was my second time photographing the New Years Day 5 Miler for the Southern Tier Running Club. It was a bit colder and there I was snow on the grown this year. The runners were bundled up as was I. I staked out the spot I shot from last year, but I tried to shoot from a slightly different position so that there would be a different angle for the photos with hopefully a better background.
Prior to the race the sun was out. Despite the cold at least it would be sunny. That made me happy as a photographer. Finally a race with some good light. I had not been so fortunate during the last several races. Then wouldn’t you know it, right as the race was about to begin, the clouds rolled in. The sky became completely overcast. This put a damper on some of my plans but I was able to get some good shots with the trees in the background. The overcast sky made it really drab if I featured any images that included large portions of the sky.
Despite the cold and the drab sky it is always fun to get out there and watch the runners give it their best even on a less than ideal race day. It is great to see the race leaders coming down the road towards me and I know the fun part for me is about to begin. I have planned out what I want to shoot and how. Now to see if my vision will match up with the reality as the runners approach.
As fun as it is to photograph the runners at the front of the race it is just as nice to photograph people finishing later in the race. Sometimes that is where the best and most satisfying photographs can be found. There are people running their very first race who are giving it their best and are not going to be as fast as others. There are also more experienced runners that have been getting out for runs for many more years than most of us. I believe everyone deserves a nice race photograph no matter how fast or slow you are, young or old, veteran or newbie. I want you to have a photograph to enjoy from your race.
The runners might want to punch me for saying this but in some ways it is tougher being out there to photograph the race or volunteer than it is as a racer. When it is cold it is better to be running to stay warm than it is to be stationary taking photos, especially since you can’t where mittens and operate a camera. My fingers were about numb by the time I was done despite my ski gloves an hand warmers inside. Not only are runners warming themselves by running they are often out on the course and thus outside for a shorter period of time than me as the photographer or the volunteers. I generally don’t go inside until the final runner has passed me, which is often at the finish line. And volunteers picking up the course might be out there longer than I am. So be sure to thank your volunteers.
I think I want to do something a little different next year and try photographing from a different location. I would like to get different looking shots with different scenery. I think I may try running the course myself since I never have and see where I think might be any other good spots to take photos.
I hope all the runners especially my friends had a great time at the race and enjoyed the photos I shared. You can see the rest of the photos from the race on my Facebook page at Kyle Reynolds / KRNaturalPhoto. These are photographs straight out of the camera. Every single one. Nothing was deleted or edited so be kind. I stive to share as soon as possible so no editing.
Next race up is St. Patricks Day 5k and 10k by Southern Tier Running Club. See you there. Wave and I’ll take your photo. Or just be your bad-ass self running hard in a race and I will get a great photo of you busting your ass.
Thanksgiving morning I photographed the Southern Tier Running Club’s annual tradition, the Pie and Glove 5K. participants in the race receive a pair of gloves and the race winner recieve pies as awards. There were 713 participants plus a great crew of volunteers working to make the race happen.
Last year was the first time I had photographed this event. I waited at the finish line for the runners to arrive. I photographed them as they were running straight towards me at the finish line. This created head on photographs of people running. I think this resulted in some good photographs.
However, I don’t like to do the same thing all the time. I wanted this years photos to have a distinct feel to them. As I have been learning and trying to improve my photography I’m learning what things I like and what I think looks better. I think that I like to get some photographs of runners from the side as they run by. I think this shows their effort and motion better than a head on shot. I also really like to find the nicest scenery I can at a location to have in the background for a series of shots. If I can do that I will zoom out and try to capture the runner along with some of the scenery in the shot. I think I was able to find a nice spot at the park to do this during the race.
My standard gear setup for race photography has me using two camera bodies each with a different telephoto lens on it. One body has a 300mm telephoto lens with a 1.4 teleconverter for added zoom. The other camera body has my 70-200 zoom lens. This works great for standing at the finish line photographing runners as they approach. You can stand there and pick them out from a distance as the finish line is essentially a long straight away so its pretty easy to switch from one runner to the next and photograph everyone. In this method my 300mm lens is usually my primary lens.
This tim planned on my 70-200 bein my primary lens and I ould switch between that and capturing some shots of more distant runners with my 300mm lens. As it turned out with the relatively short race and large number of runners there was not time to switch between lenses to capture distant and more close up shots. Runners where zipping by with almost no gaps after the first few runners. Taking photos from the side view meant I only had a limited range of time to get a shot of each runner and as I learned it was very quick. I have to get the shot as the runner run by this small strip of land where I am standing. I don’t have an over 100 meter runway within which to capture shots.
So since I had no time to switch lenses I used my 70-20mm zoom constantly, which lead to my memory card filling up surprisingly fast and unexpectedly. Runners will still streaming by as I fumbled to switch cameras and reposition to a spot where the 300mm telephoto lens was effective at isolating each runner from the crowd and could focus on mor than just the runners head. I eventually got backed up all the way to the finish line and was able to continue photographing all the runners, but I regret the fact that I missed some of the runners.
Each photography outing is a learning experience. This one more so than most. I really liked the location where I shot the race from. Not too far from the finish. A spot where the likely winner was mostly established. I could see the finish line. Runners were about as spread out as they would get. It was also a spot with some decent scenery for the background. So for next year I will plan to not use my 300mm lens for this race and instead I will use either my 60mm or 50mm lens on my second camera body. This way I will have multiple lenses that will allow me to shoot similar types of photographs like I am aiming for.
If you would like to see the photographs that I took of the race check them out here and consider buying a print or download: Southern Tier Running Club 2017 Pie and Glove 5K. Let m know what you think of the images. These are all the unedited images from the race. So there are plenty of bad shots in with the good ones. Be kind.
If you appreciate the work I do you can also support my work for as little as $1 a month on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KRNaturalPhoto The higher level you support at the more rewards you are eligible for. Thank you for your support.
I’ll see everyone at the Southern Tier Running ClubPie and Glove 5k tomorrow. Enjoy the race. I’ll be there to capture the event on camera and share it with you all. You will be able to find race photos on my website. They should be up by the weekend at the latest. Please let me know what you think of them and share links to your favorite photos with your friends. You can also order prints or digital downloads of your favorite photos.
This year I did not have too many running goals in mind. My one goal race was to run the 25k Green Monster trail race in October. That would be my longest race to date and the goal is to just finish.
Other than that I just wanted to enjoy running with my friends. And on that note the first part of the year has been great.
As with most things the more you run the better you get at it. Thankfully I have a great group of friends that enjoy running so I am able to find company for a run just about any time and that increases the likelihood of running on any given day.
I tend to be the kind of person who thinks “I can’t do that” especially when it pertains to running. Luckily I have these friends that encourage me to sign up for challenging races and push me to run harder, faster, and farther than I think I can. These are good people. They tolerate my constant gripes as we run. They know at the end I’ll be happy with the results even though I deny it in the moment every time.
So, thanks to getting to run with all my friends I have made more progress than I thought. So I think it is time to add a new running goal for this year. I had planned to focus on trail running but after my last road run I decided to set a goal for what I plan as my last race of the year, the Red Barron Half Marathon in Upstate NY with the Southern Tier Running Club. My goal is for a sub two hour half marathon at that race. Something that after last year I thought was just a goal for some race in the distant future. But now it seems within reach.
Anyone who is interested in training with me as the year progresses with this goal in mind is more than welcome. Find me on Facebook and we can organize some runs.
Looking forward to the next run. See you out there.
I spent Thanksgiving Morning volunteering at the Southern Tier Running Club Pie and Glove 5K. I photographed the event for the organization and posted the photos online for all the participants to see. Here are a few that I liked.
I’ve known for about 52 weeks that I would run this race again. I ran my first half marathon here in 2015 and I knew I wanted to do it again and do it better. This was the one race I knew early on I would run this year.
Last year I was nervous if I would even be able to do it, but I did. This year I did something I had never done for any other race and I set for myself a pace/time goal. As the race began to loom on the horizon, I began to get nervous that I would not run well and what felt for me like a terrible race over basically a half marathon distance for a relay did not help the nerves.
I am not good at prep and planning for events like racing. I am more of a just go and do type person. So I was relieved when several of my friends running Wineglass asked if I wanted to car pool with them. Perfect, several fewer things to have to worry about on my end. Meet at the specified time and ride up with them. No decision making or planning by me needed.
The night before I felt like I was all prepped and ready to go before going to bed. All my clothes were laid out, racing and pre/post clothing. Gear laid out: hat, gloves, belt pouch (for chews etc.), compression sleeves, and headphones. I had everything in the same room in close proximity to make it almost impossible to forget. My wireless headphones were plugged into my computer to ensure a full charge so they would last the whole race. I had my camera out and battery plugged in to charge so it would last the whole race. Yes, I said camera. I’m a photographer and try to take a camera with me wherever possible.
We got to the starting location for the half marathon nice and early. Plenty of time to relax, stretch, eat, prep, and do all the pre-race things that only other runners are privy to. As I was getting ready I realized I forgot band aids to prevent chaffing (guys you probably know what this is about and maybe the girls too). Strike one. The always-prepared Eric Williams thankfully had some extras that mostly worked. (I don’t want to talk about what happened when they stopped working. LOL.) As I was getting ready to run I realized I my headphones were definitely fully charged, because they were still at home plugged into my computer. This is after spending hours trying to put together a decent running playlist to pump me up throughout this half marathon. Strike 2. As I am getting to the starting line I get my camera out to take a few photographs of the crowd of runners and the scenery only to discover that this battery too was still at home safe and sound fully charged. Strike 3. I was really hoping this was not a 3 strikes and you are out type of situation.
I was really starting to get down on myself for being unprepared right before the race. Not good. Fortunately for me Joette Foster was with me. She of the always-positive attitude gave me a quick attitude adjustment and got me back in a positive frame of mind.
As I waited alone for the race to start, if one can be alone in a group of thousands, out of the crowd materializes friend and fellow runner Georgia Tucker. We talked about the pace we were each planning to run and settled in the area where we figured we should be in the crowd, no pacer running the pace we were targeting. Unfortunately for Gorgia, but fortunately for me, she could not get her music service to connect so she too had no music to run with either. We ran and talked for 10 miles. In addition, we stayed pretty much at the pace I wanted for the entire 10 miles. I actually could not believe I could run and chat for 10 miles at basically my goal pace. Running and talking with Georgia helped me to not think about the running or the miles I’ve run or the miles still to go. It was so enjoyable to run with someone I knew and could talk to. I had my Garmin watch set to notify me if I was going too fast or too slow for the pace I wanted. That allowed me to just glance quickly and see if I needed to speed up a little or could slow down some then just keep talking and keep on keeping on running with Georgia.
A mile 10 the wheels started to come off a little bit for me and I could not keep up my pace and Georgia and the pacer I really wanted to stay in front of pulled away off into the distance. I was still running ok but could feel the strength leaving my legs. I just didn’t have much left in the tank. I was excited to see my friends at STRC and the SOAR kids cheering runners on and that gave me a quick boost of energy but it didn’t last. I was able to finish the race at a good time for me 2:15:32. This was a significantly faster PR for me. I felt good almost the entire race. I was happy with the results.
The race was great and I enjoyed it and felt accomplished by my run. However, by far the best part for me was the post-race. Over the past year being involved with running groups and clubs like STRC I have gotten to know so many runners, where in previous years I had known none. If anyone was there to cheer me on at previous races it was my amazing wife, Debby and one of my dogs. I’ve gone to several races where I showed up alone, run the race, and then immediately gone home because I didn’t know anyone.
This year was totally different. This year I knew at least a dozen people who were running in either the full or half marathon. This year I had friends, support, and comradery from the running community. This is something I would never had and I would have even known was possible without joining great running groups like STRC and No Meat Athlete, Corning. They welcomed me into their group and made me one of them. They supported me throughout this journey and encouraged me to work hard when I didn’t think I could do it.
When I crossed the finish line I first looked for my wife. She’s been there supporting me through all my craziness. She pointed Joette out to me in the crowd and we congratulated each other on a well-run race. We found, Lindsay Barrile, the person who has been the captain of this running crew I have been fortunate enough to fall in with. Lindsay planned great workouts and training for us and I did more structured running thanks to her than I ever would have. Let’s face it I would have done no structured running workouts without her. We found the speedster of our group Eric and the four of us got our picture taken together, which I had never done before at a race. We sat and recovered together. We talked about our races, where it went well for us and where it came off the rails. We shared our successes.
We all went to change into some dry cloths so we could enjoy the rest of race day together. I was able to find Debby in the crowd with one of our dogs who was very excited to see me. It is always great to have the support of my loving wife and one of our great dogs after a race. It always helps to ease the post-race discomfort when you can be snuggled by a dog.
Our group of runners was able to reconnect after changing and watch more of the runners finish there races. We were joined by another friend Sarah Wellington who was able to return after spending some time with her family. We were able to hang out, socialize, and enjoy some great food and a few beers on the always-fabulous Market Street in Corning, NY.
While we ate we were able to monitor another friends progress in the full marathon thanks to the Race Joy app. Brande Flaitz was running the full marathon and we wanted to cheer her on. I was in communication without other STRC members out on the course cheering and they were wondering about her progress. I was able to relay her position using the Race Joy app. We were growing concerned that she had become injured as it seemed she had fallen off her expected pace for the race. Brett Shelton who had been cheering with other STRC members and the SOAR kids ran out to meet her at mile 24 and see how she was doing. As we tracked her progress it was suggested that we go out to the course and meet up with Brande to support her in this effort. Thanks again to the Race Joy app we were able to find her exact location and drive over and meet up with her around a mile or so out form the finish. Sarah who was still recovering from her race and her own injury broke into a sprint upon seeing her and ran out to support her. Lindsay, Joette, Eric, and I all joined them.
Brande was clearly in pain. She was gutting it out through the pain of her injury. We were able to walk and ran with her towards the finish line where she successfully finished her race. Despite being injured, she was still moving at a decent pace. I couldn’t keep up without running. I had never been a part of something like this. A group of people supporting each other and encouraging one another to push our limits. This is what running is. This is the community of runners I have been lucky enough to become a part of is all about.
Brande didn’t get to run the race she had envisioned but she ran the race she could given the circumstances she was dealt. She gutted it out through sheer force of will and determination when many others would have given up. She ran a race many others including me could not have run. I am proud of her for her toughness and her ability to dig down deep and see that race through to the end. This was a day I will never forget for so many reasons and I am so glad I was there to be a part of it. I am so glad I became a runner.