Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hawley Kiln and WAMDA races

On Saturday March 2nd, I made it up into the Berkshire Hills by 9AM to photograph the start (and part of the finish) of the 2013 Hawley Kiln 5-Mile Snowshoe Race. I'll be launching my own part-time race photography site soon, and wanted to get some practice with the new equipment (Nikon D6oo, which I got last fall, and the 70-200mm f/4 zoom lens that I got last week). I was able to shoot the start and catch a dozen or so finishers before I needed to take off; I also wanted to shoot the WAMDA 5K race that started at 11AM down at Look Park in Northampton, about half an hour away.

Hawley Kiln 5-Mile Snowshoe Race
The snowshoe race looked like a great time. After shooting the start, I chatted briefly with the race director, Ed, and some of the local volunteers at the Fire Department where the start was, and then headed out a ways on the trail. The actual kiln is only a quarter mile or so away, and very near the course, so I walked over there and checked it out, stepped inside, etc. It's sort of like a stone tepee. The racers took longer than I thought they would getting back, but that was fine with me as it gave me time to scout out a couple of shots.

After leaving the snowshoe race early (sorry to everyone I missed!) I took some scenic back roads down to Northampton and just barely made it into the back part of Look Park in time to catch the WAMDA 5K racers on their first loop. Thanks to the two runners who pointed me in the right direction!

Race photo lesson learned: don't bother trying to shoot everyone when they're all bunched up together at the start. Even with good gear, the autofocus can't figure out what to settle on and a wide aperture essentially guarantees a lot of out of focus shots.

Anyway, I got a couple of good ones and a few gestalts, then moved back to a different location to catch the runners on lap 2. This worked out much better and I was able to get good shots of nearly everyone. All in all a successful and enjoyable morning of race shooting in wintery western Massachusetts. I plan to put all the race photos up for sale on my new site (coming soon!).

who's psyched for some outdoor exercise in early March?

full race photo gallery

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