Friday, September 26, 2014

back to pisgah

Another year, another visit to the excellent Pisgah Mtn Trail Races in southwestern New Hampshire! Only this time I didn't run (see here for last year's 50K recap). For a variety of reasons, I decided it was time to try out a Northeast Race Photo shoot for this event. And I'm really glad I did; I love how these shots came out.

I arrived at the Kilburn Road trailhead with plenty of time to spare, but dawdled on my way to the summit, which was a decent 2-mile hike over to the east. It's easy to get distracted, as the scenery is fantastic and the photo possibilities endless, especially on a misty morning in the woods.

heading east into the park along Kilburn Road

So when Greg Hammett, the lead runner of the 23K race, came silently rocketing past me about a quarter mile down from the top, I knew I had to kick it in gear. The light in the woods was WAY too low to catch runners. For the first few racers, I left the camera set at a really high ISO (around 1600; pretty grainy) and a shutter speed of less than 1/60th second and just attempted to get lucky with a couple of panning shots (always a gamble).

Once on top of the mountain and mostly in the open, the light was a lot better and I was able to bring the ISO down to a reasonable amount and use more appropriate shutter speeds for catching runners. When I got a chance, I switched lenses from the wide angle to the 200mm and caught some pretty nice shots of runners coming along the slick ledges just past the summit vista.

Everyone remarked on the oppressiveness of the 100% humidity and people were drenched, but it was still a remarkably upbeat and positive group of athletes. During the several hours I spent up there I saw an uplifting number of smiles and leaps and got lots of high-fives and thanks from people going by. I started down with about 10 runners or so left to come past, which provided the opportunity to get some shots of descenders in the dark woods. And I was also able to catch several runners again on their completion of the infamous Kilburn Loop. All in all, a very rewarding day at Pisgah. Some sample photos are included below, and the full galleries can be found at Northeast Race Photo.

2014 Pisgah Mtn 23K Trail race Photo Gallery

2014 Pisgah Mtn 50K Trail race Photo Gallery

Descent off the final summit during the 2014 Pisgah Mtn 23K Trail Race

Cruising along the summit during the 2014 Pisgah Mtn 23K Trail Race

 Kristina crossing the summit

Bob Dion in motion

Ultra Leap!

smiles, ears, partners, and steady strength at Pisgah

Coming off the Kilburn Loop during the 2014 Pisgah Mtn 50K Trail Race

Coming off the Kilburn Loop during the 2014 Pisgah Mtn 50K Trail Race

Approaching the final five miles of the 2014 Pisgah Mtn 50K Trail Race