My Human Race

Human Race logo

Last Saturday I took some photos at the Human Race, this was my first attempt at sport photography, something my camera (and background) is not suited for at all. I learned a lot of things that day, mostly about how stupid a photographer I am.

Caitlin was the official videographer of the event and I tagged along in order to practice some sport and candid photography.

What follows is a discussion of that and as time goes on, I’ll post and process more photos. If you can’t wait, you can view the view the official photographs or look at Caitlin’s set of the photos I took.

[more discussion after the jump]


This consisted mostly of me making a portable “sports” kit. One small and light enough to be carried while I bicycled to where I wanted to photograph.

The bag is a very small Crumpler model. Crumpler is this eccentric Aussie brand of messenger bag makers not widely known in the United States. I bought one after I ordered my 18-200mm VR lens as part of a ploy to get myself to take more photos when I bicycle around town. The hard part was choosing the color: since my favorite color is blue, I naturally chose red. 🙂 It gives it a “race car” feel that went well with the day.

One nice thing about the bag (besides its cool looks), is that the side has a little belt on it of it where I could peg my other Crumpler to it. Unlike it’s larger version, the Soupansalad, this model (Soupansalad Son-O) does not have any strap pads. I was mightly bummed when I realized that since Crumplers are really expensive in the U.S.

In this case, the Crumpler was just going to be here so I could carry my lenses around. This meant buying a bucket to line the bottom of the bag. The bucket (BU01A) is designed for a different model (the Quarfie) so the fit is a little strange. This meant it was much too small to fit my 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens and I was thinking I should have gotten the Soupansalad and respective bucket (BU03A) which does fit it. I reminded myself that I didn’t buy this to carry around a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR and made do—unzip the bucket and stuff the lens in there anyway.

It fit and I was happy. BTW, it turned out I didn’t need the extra battery, the 50mm f/1.8D. the gel filters, or the extra SD card for my Lumix. Live and learn.

Things I should have prepared

Well first I should have mounted the trunk rack on my car the night before. That was a big pain in the ass.

I also should have studied the race map (and biked it) before the event. I couldn’t get into the position I wanted because of that and I’m really kicking myself now about it.

I also should have brought more batteries for the flash. I took a lot of flash photos.

The biggest mistake was not setting my camera to ISO 200. This is like the 100th time I made that mistake. Luckily DxO does a wonderful job fixing my errors.

I did remember to fix the clock on my two cameras so now the photos don’t appear out of order in Aperture. Whoo hoo! The trick is to connect your camera in “PTP” mode to your Mac and then click on the “clock” icon when it mounts in Aperture. Then set your camera back into “Mass Storage” mode. Now your cameras are synced to your computer time.

Photographing runners

I wasn’t able to make it to my position since I was approaching Shoreline Park from a direction I’ve never been from. By the time I stopped to ask directions from a volunteer, the 5K runners were already barreling down on me!

5K leaders

5K leaders” by me

I grabbed the flash out of my bag, turned it on and dropped it somewhere. Then I popped my D70 flash (in commander mode) and took photos as the people ran by. I hoped that my flash would remove some of the day’s harsh shadows. The location was a mess as there were powerlines, poles signs and crap all over the place. Sometimes I got lucky and took a shot worth editing:

<div class="flimg" style="width:500px"Runner 693

Runner 693” by me

More later.