Yesterday I got up at 3:30 AM and drove 30 minutes to the Metro so I could wrestle my bike onto a subway train to get down to the stadium by 6:00.
I was set to photograph a local marathon for a charity group that's near and dear to my heart. I've been involved with this group as a runner and a volunteer for over a year now, and have seen first-hand how they are making a difference in the lives of people who are fighting cancer. None of this is stock work--the photos are strictly personal (and wouldn't be suitable for stock, anyway, with logos galore and not a model release in sight!).
So, my motivation was high, and so were my spirits. I had double-checked my camera gear (and my bike!) the night before. Even so, this was a hard shoot! We started well before dawn, and so the challenge was to get natural pre-race photos using a flash. A very good test for the bouncer/diffuser I had attached to my flash. Despite some white balance issues (easily handled in PS), these shots came out fine.
As soon as the starting pistol fired, I hopped on my bike to pedal a few miles to a turn-around point where I could get in front of the runners. After an hour there, I jumped back on the bike to meet the runners at another corner (mile 17 for them). More challenges here. The sun was just coming up, and the runners were, well, running in and out of shadows. My new 300 mm lens is extremely contrasty, and so I had some issues holding down the highlights while getting detail in the shadow. Again, PS to the rescue.
The result? After some hard biking, furious shooting and challenging PhotoShopping, I have some photos that I hope will bring back good memories for the runners and their families.