Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Best 2014 Race Photos

As Northeast Race Photo, I took pictures at about 30 races in 2014. The number was drastically down from last year, for several reasons. For one thing, I took a part-time editing job in Hadley, which took up a good chunk of time and energy. Also, it's a tough gig. The processing time required for race photos is substantial, and from a financial perspective it doesn't really pay off. It's really more of a labor of love than an actual job (though I really do love doing it and am still trying to figure out ways to make it pay off). And lastly, I spent a LOT of time and energy on a little passion project that is just about ready to come to fruition; here's a little tease for anyone paying attention and curious (I promise the link is legitimate).

As with last year's version, it's impossible to create a truly "best of" album since there's so many variables for what it would be the "best" of. So, again forgoing any attempt at objectivity, here's my totally subjective Best of 2014 album:

If you have a favorite shot from any of the 2014 Northeast Race Photo galleries, and you think it belongs in the Best Of gallery, please drop me a line with the link to it and I'll gladly add it to the album. 

It was a lot of hard work, but I'm really pleased with the galleries for most of the races I took photos at in the past year. I'm planning to keep shooting at races in 2015, so stay strong, look sharp, and happy racing in the coming year, my tribe. Cheers!

Here's a sampling from the album:


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

Friday, June 13, 2014


Seeking sweet trail runs in western Massachusetts, I recently became aware of Alander Mountain in the far southwestern corner of the state. I did a quick Google image search on it, and came across a photo of a surprisingly above-treeline scene with subalpine-like vegetation on a windswept ridge. The notion instantly hooked me, and I had to go see.

We parked at the Mt. Washington State Forest headquarters and hiked/ran about 3 miles west to the summit, where sure enough there really is about a quarter-mile long section of mostly open ridgeline. It's very low and far south for that kind of thing, and I'm not sure what maintains it, but it is definitely one of the most beautiful mountain views in the state. And prior to about a month ago, it was completely off my radar! Very worth checking out.

trail on Alander Mountain in southwestern MA

After the summit, we made a long loop out of it by descending the ridge to the south (into NY, briefly) and then following the South Taconic Trail south for a few miles before swinging back northeast on the Ashley Hill Trail (which was a bit rough at first) and Charcoal Pit Trail.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Seven Sisters Trail Race

Sunday was the annual Seven Sisters Trail Race here in western MA. Twelve grueling miles of rocky climbing and descending on an out-and-back course along the M-M Trail in the Holyoke Range. A record number of runners participated this year, and by the looks of it most of them had a blast. At least that's how it appeared to me taking photos just before the turnaround, as an extraordinary number of them mustered the energy and enthusiasm to leap and bound around like the maniacs they surely are.

I had a great time shooting, but prior to that my morning was kind of a disaster, and it's amazing I got to do it at all. About two hours earlier, I'd gone to the start of a local marathon, but after one picture my D600 crapped out on me. The mirror locked up completely and nothing I did would fix it. I had to forgo shooting a race I had promised the race director and others I would be a professional race photographer for. I can't express enough the embarrassment, shame, humiliation, helplessness, anger, and despair I felt.

After a frantic call home to my girlfriend, she brought me my spare camera (my old D300), because I was too stupid to have brought it with me. I told her what to grab (the camera and a spare battery) (neglected to ask for the charger or a spare memory card) and she saved my butt. I had no time to spare to make it over to Seven Sisters, and raced to the turnaround, parked, and hiked out on the trail.

Well, the battery in the camera only had half a charge, and the spare had NO charge. And the D600 batteries (of which I had three, each fully charged) don't work in the D300. So I had half a battery on an old DX camera (my good lenses are FX) with one pint-sized memory card to shoot a high-profile trail race with. Great.

I managed to make the most of it though, and got shots of the bulk of the racers before running out of both card space and battery juice (at the same time, coincidentally). See the full gallery here.