Had the opportunity to photograph the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials for Team Rogue Elite in Houston today. A wonderful chance to see TRE members Allison Macsas and Scott MacPherson charge through the three loop course. The Race Committee did a fantastic job of making the race accessible to spectators and for having a well informed and courteous volunteer staff.
My friends Jeff and Cheri are trail runners. As such, they put together a trail marathon, half marathon and 5k for family, friends and people of like minds in Warda, Texas today, the aptly named “Race to the Altar Marathon”. Guests were encourage to come dressed up for a white trash wedding. We saw tuxedo t-shirts, top hats, altered-for-running-wedding gowns, and one loin cloth. For this couple, I can’t think of a better way to get in the gettin’ hitched mood, for tomorrow they wed!
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Headed out yesterday to the 2011 Austin Marathon downtown. I coached 6 runners in Pflugerville for the Rogue Running mothership. They all made it to the starting line for a tough day of wind, heat and humidity. A quick note to say how proud I am of Amy, Jess, Jen, Glenn, Tim and Dave. Each of them persevered during this tough training season to accomplish new goals in their lives. Way to go Pfluger Pfasties!
After shooting the start and the expected fireworks, I met up with Carolyn on the last uphill by 11th street. We made sure to clap and cheer for Rogue’s in particular and to add noise to the course in general. I contributed with the click of my shutter.
Just had a photo published in a RunnersWorld Blog by Lisa Jhung about Ian Sharman breaking the course record at the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in Huntsville this past weekend.
Here is a screenshot.
To get this image, I had two strobes firing into each to create a zone of light for the runners to enter. I laid on the ground sideways shooting from a super low angle. Tech specs were something like 1/250th, iso100, f5.6. The backlight was gelled blue and the front light gelled orange. WB was shifted to about 4500k.
Anyhow, just a woo hoo! moment for me in that I get to check off a bucket list photography goal. Next to make it into the print magazine, and then Sports Illustrated!
It’s Day One although we technically got to the island the night before. Day it is then. Woke up way early, excited to get some sunrise shots on a day when I could. They need more processing than I have time for right now. But I will throw up some teasers.
Breakfast at Lava Java, errands during the day, phone call with the wifey, and now off to the Bike Clinic.
A couple of images to chew on:
To learn more about these individuals, visit the Ultraman Website
Diva Night is full of Power Women!
Rupal, leading a discussion on posture and alignment
Gundy trying to figure out how a sports-bra works. 🙂 He was giving information on the proper fit in the Moving Comfort line
Uncorked was on hand filling up wine glasses
Stan the Man, being more of Stan the She-Ra
Gaggle of Gals giving me the princess pose
Be sure to come out to Rogue EQ on Thursday for the second edition of the Raffler!
I work for a great running company, Rogue Running, and they like to put on crazy events to break up the summer doldrums. Last week they put on the Rogue Double Dare Challenge. A timed obstacle course ending in a murky inflatable slip n slide.
And your reward for completing these 11 events? Beer, from North by Northwest!
It wasn’t Mr. Toads, but the last few days have been a journey for me, including the 768 miles I drove between Thursday and Sunday. The week started off with some new gear. I stepped up from battery powered strobes to an Alien Bee 800 with a 47 inch Octabox. For those who read this who have no idea what that last sentence means, I now have the sun in my bag. And yes, I did have to get a bigger bag.
Thursday, Headed out to Houston. Scouted the location of my Friday Corporate shoot in downtown. 16th floor conference room that looks out to the former Enron building. Well, it is still a building, just used to house Enron. Wrapped up the scouting, and proceeded to a Mother-Daughter head shot shoot. Had a wonderful time with Natalie, the actress, and Beverly, the corporate speaker. Beverly is from Alice and her family and my family were in a similar line of business back in the day, mainly oil fields and construction.
After the requirements of the shoot were done, we headed outside for a few Mother-Daughter moments.
Thursday night, Bari (friend from wayback), her few month old Max and I went for tacos at 100% Taco. Great little restaurant setup like a street vendor in Mexico. Even had the green taxi in the center.
Friday Morning, Downtown Houston. Corporate shoot for Enite Consulting, Thanks to Neal Hamil Agency for providing our clients and the awesome front desk help of Ashley and Brandon who made our time a breeze. Ashely is in film school, and Brandon does graphic design. Further proof of the creative mind looking to break out from behind the front desk. Another former Seguinite, Andrew, helped me with setup, grunt work, and detail picture taking. Thanks Andrew!
The shoot went great, lots of fun headshots/team shots/stocky shots. Can’t post em yet until the client is happy with them, but they will probably be their own post later.
Lunch with Andrew followed at The Hobbit? down by Rice U. Good blue cheese burger, The raspberry tea? not so much. Best part of the lunch. Guy in table next to us talking to three medical clients, “Don’t ever go into trading lumber futures, you can lose a lot of money in it” ….. What?!, I don’t even know where to begin on that one.
Friday evening, headed back to Austin in the rain. Dropped off the borrowed Vagabond power pack back to Jake North Photography (mine is on backorder), thanks Jake! Friday night was filled with backing up files, spinning hard drives and charging batteries. The glamorous life we lead 🙂
Saturday morning up early to shoot the Muddy Buddy Austin race for brightroom in Johnson City. I was the photographer in the “pit”, 40 foot mud pit that the racing teams finished in. After 10 minutes of wearing sandals, it became a barefoot day in the mud. Great race, terrible parking, copious amounts of mud flying. (in my ear, on my beard, on top of hat, etc.) After I had cleaned up a little, enough to get into the wifey’s car, I helped a fellow photog get her car unstuck. Did I say cleaned up? I meant, splattered with mud from head to toe. Melissa, I am waiting for that six-pack….
Drove to Luling to grab some City Market hot links, then off to my mom’s in Seguin for a power nap. Saturday Night, my assistant Kaush and I tackled the wedding of Zac and Emily in downtown Seguin under the gazebo at Central Park. Following a horse drawn carriage ride to the reception area, Emily and Zac partied in the Coliseum of Seguin. All of their photos will be on my zenfolio site here
Drive back to Austin late, recharge batteries, dump files, backup files, catch a few hours sleep. Up again Sunday morning at 5am, picked up Tenille, my favorite Canadian Pro Triathlete, and headed out to Pace Bend Park for the last of the 2010 Rogue Trail Series, The BEND. Interesting course, in that the 10k and 30k racers finished in different directions. Gabe, the trail master, was trying to challenge me I know. Thanks to Minh for bringing me a breakfast beer up to my perch on the 30k course. The sprinkles came shortly after that, had to engineer cover for my flashes, and used a shoot thru umbrella as an actual, yknow, umbrella. Haha.
Finished up Sunday with another power nap, and then a Maternity shoot with my running buddy JP and his wife Vikki. Vikki’s daughter learned how to ride a bike that morning, so we got some snaps of that as well. Pretty powerful to be a part of both of those experiences, the expectation of a new child, and seeing another child hit a great milestone in their life. I have the best job.
To me, the journey of the last week encapsulated what I love so much about the photography business. Meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends for new purposes, challenging one self creatively, jumping into situations that make me feel a little uncomfortable – but surviving, and seeing joy in others as they pass into new life accomplishments.
Stay Thirsty My Friends, and enjoy the Wild Ride of your Lives!
Just a quick note.
Sometimes in life we are lucky.
We see something spectacular in a place we have never been, and might not be again.
Camera in hand, let the world breathe around you, fire off a few frames. Exhale.
Take a few seconds today to remember something you are thankful for, let the world exhale a little around you.
First up, I remembered to take some setup shots so that I don’t have to draw cheesy diagrams in photoshop.
Second, these Team Rogue guys are F-A-S-T. I asked Coach Sisson if they would be moving quickly through my lighting zone. He said, “well, you won’t be able to tell the difference between their hard and easy, from 4:10 to 4:30 pace.” That, my friends, is hurtling through the bi-pedal atmosphere.
This weeks workout was at Zilker Park in downtown Austin, Texas. I wanted to get more essence of place than last weeks non-descript track. The skyline of downtown Austin would be awesome. The fog and haze prevented a clear view, but at least my strobes weren’t working overtime like last week.
The runners were coming by from both sides of the road, running an out and back course. So I setup a modified triangle lighting. The flash to left had a 1/4 cto on it, and the middle side light had a blue gel. I should have put a warming gel on the far right side. The middle light was for rim lighting, and at some point I moved it across the street into the same position.
Not having an extra person around this week, I had to self test the light to make sure I had a decent exposure.
I know that David Hobby uses his hand for this type of thing, and I usually do too, but I want to see how the gels would play on my noggin first.
When the guys and gals started their workout, I wanted to go low with a wide-ish angle and get close to get the feel of speed and still get some of the Austin Skyline. It worked okay for a single runner, but for the guys in the groups, the person closest to me would look good and the others would become obscured. The point of these photos is the team, so I switched to my trusty 70-200 and captured the Rogue’s as they came around turn 1.
Lots more from this group to come, including my favorite composite.
EDIT: HERE is the video link from the workout
As some of you may know, I take many of the images seen on Rogue Running’s Blog. The folks at Rogue have a nascent elite training team that need more exposure. (<--- photog joke). Today we are going to talk about how light a subject like Raul, in the above image, to give some dramatic light to fast moving subject. Going into to this photoshoot I knew that I wanted to add edge lights. With my wireless triggers, the excellent AlienBee CyberSyncs, my max shutter speed is going to be 1/250th of a second. Faster would be better, but then the lights start doing funny things, so 1/250 it was. To set my aperture, I just kept upping the dial until I got an f-stop that was making my ambient go somewhat underexposed. It was between f11 and f14 depending on cloud cover. My plan was then to build the subjects up with flash, making them the brightest object in the frame. I setup the flashes at the transition area from straightaway to curve on the track. This gave me the opportunity to shoot the runners straightaway, profile and everywhere in between. The sun is coming in at about a 45 degree angle to the runner. I setup 3 flashes, one from behind and 2 in front of the subject. [caption id="attachment_76" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Diagram"][/caption] Hopefully, my crude photoshopping will illustrate this setup. The flashes were at 1/2 power, to get me some recycle time. The low flash in front is aimed at the shoes to help freeze the motion in the lower leg and foot area, since this is the part of the body traveling with the most speed. Part of the issue with shooting at 1/250th is that you can get some motion blur in heavy ambient, I was ok with a little but that one flash done low really helped out.
I used the finish line as a marker and general guideline. When I saw a foot or body pass by this position I took a frame. I use this technique in races a lot where I have my triangular zone lighting setup. My flashes are generally out of view, so I use a rock, or stump or whatever I can scrounge as a key to where the exposure will be best.
The second part of the track workout, I wanted to give the new 85 1.8 a spin, to see how it would do in fast moving conditions. Used f2 and underexposed by a stop or so, and then brought down even more in post. I got some images like this one:
No lights were used in these because I was getting f2 and 1/6400 at iso 100. Radiopoppers would be nice, but alas.
You will be seeing more from this group in the future once the Team gets settled and in town.
Saturday Morning (yes, capitalized) started at 3:15 AM. Friday night ended at 2:15 A.M.
Woke up, got gear together, kissed sweetie on the forehead and off to meet up with Jake at his house in west Austin. He had a hot cup of green tea waiting for me, good man. We packed up the gear into his truck, and set sail for the trails of Bandera where we were to photograph the race for 12 hours or so.
The plan was for me to sleep on the ride out, yeah, that didn’t happen. Me and Jake were doing what photographers do when not actually shooting, we talked about gear.
Stopped in Bandera for some donut holes and kolaches. My brain was fuzzy upon entering the little shop but the conversation went like this:
Me: One kolache for 95 cents, Half Dozen for $5.95?
Me: Is my math wrong? or are they charging a bundling fee?
Jake: (something about arbitrage)
Me: arbitrage is a big word pre-dawn.
Jake: We can go outside and resell them, make up for it in Volume!
We laughed about this the rest of the day.
Ambled over to the start of the race. Took one step out of the car – Shiny it was cold
Can you see Jake’s frozen breath?
Apparently it was 8 degrees at the start. Ice was on the ground throughout the day in the shade. Brrr.
I got the gig to travel up the second hill climb, with strobes, food, water, and camera gear. In normal temperatures this wouldn’t be an issue for me, but I was dressed like Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story”, so my mobility was hindered all day. Made it to the a lechugilla cactus gauntlet where I shot for the first 3 hours of the morning.
After the last of the runners passed through, I headed down the mountain to the finish area, then over to my spot in the woods. I found my trusty log from last years 50 miler and plopped my stuff down. Got the strobes setup again for the runners and whaddya know? Erik Stanley (StanFan) shows up to goof off.
For those that don’t know, Erik is part of Team Rogue Elite, and is a coach for Rogue Training Systems. He is also really fast, like sub 2:30 marathon fast. yowzahs. He is also a goof ball as here he is giving the victory sign to the imaginary crowd.
I stayed in the woods till about 3pm. Made some friends along the way, guys from Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico. All with the trail runners vibe. diggin it.
Headed back to the crowd, Rick had his new 300 f2.8 IS lens attached to a 1d3 body. Decided that would be fun to handhold for 5 minutes, so I walked around to hand hold it for as long as I could. Made it about 3 minutes, then handed off the 15 pound behemoth to Jake and shot finish lines photos for a bit.
In my lack of sleep delirium I figured it would be wise to ask the race director where some good sunset shots with runners would be. He pondered a bit, then pointed to a far reaching hill and said, “There”. I took off with all my gear in tow. Camera around Neck, Camera Backpack on both shoulders, Strobes and Stands on Right Shoulder, Food and Water on Left Shoulder. 2 mile hike out and up. 10 pictures with runners in them. 2 mile hike back and down in the dark and cold. Still, it was worth it. Why? Because one of the runners never saw me until the strobes fired, and she jumped, accusing me of being a mountain lion. She was delirious and sleep deprived too apparently.
Grabbed some Sonic in Bandera (who forgot my corn dogs), and headed home. Edited 1500 photos on Sunday and posted that PM. Long Weekend done.