Monday, October 6, 2008

Looking back at the parks half marathon

It has been a few weeks since the Parks Half marathon in Montgomery County, and, as I posted earlier, I took a bunch of pictures. I figure now is a good time to reflect on the experience.

It was actually more fun than I expected. My expectations were fairly low, I mean, standing in one spot for a couple of hours hitting the shutter button over and over and over isn't high on my list of things to do before I die. Maybe I picked an unusually good spot (right after the tunnel under MD-355) because I saw several runners who were being encouraged by friends and/or family, even a family running together. I also enjoyed the person who started juggling when he saw the camera. I got a good percentage of the people who ran by, but there were many groups of people (more than I expected) and there were sometimes people who's number was obscured the whole time. On the flip side, there were also a couple of people who straightened out their number when they saw me. I was surprised at how good people looked. After 13 miles of running on a very humid day I expected to see more people barely hanging in there, but most people looked like they could keep going a few more miles.

After posting the pictures I went hunting for blog posts about the race. I found a few posts. It was interesting to read about the race from people I saw (and in most cases had photographed). One particularly interesting one was by a woman who found out she was pregnant after finishing the half marathon.

On the photography side, it wasn't hugely challenging, the hardest parts were trying to make sure that I got a photo of each person in a group, where that person was in focus. Framing wise, I wasn't sure if it would be better to zoom in on a runner, or show a bit more of the surroundings, and if I should take it as a portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal). Overall, I think the portrait close-ups came out best, however, if I had a more interesting background they might have come out better (your suggestions are welcome). Swapping memory cards was also a challenge, both getting a new one out while still taking pictures and making sure I didn't run out of space right as a big group went by. Once I got home going through the pictures and adding the bib numbers was a time consuming chore, it took much longer than I thought it would.

I'm not sure if I will do it again, in many ways I would like to, but the bib-numbering was a huge time sink. I could easily get to the start of the race, take pictures, then drive to the end of the race and take more. If I do it next year I will probably set up before the tunnel so there will be more trees and trail in the background instead of bare concrete.

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