Monthly Archives: March 2014
Race #1 in the Highlands Ranch Race Series is a wrap.
It was so much work, but I really enjoyed it. Trying to juggle shooting the event as well as managing a booth with prints for sale, and a raffle was a big challenge. It would have been a complete fail without the help of my wife and kids, who without even being asked stepped up to the plate to help out the old man.
The booth needs some fine tuning, but it was a great experience to mingle with so many people. It was a great first effort. Selling wildlife and landscape prints to a bunch of runners who are just finishing a 5K is an almost laughable uphill battle, but we managed a few sales (two bluebird and one rattlesnake) despite the odds. Having a regular presence at all of the races going forward will be a big help.
I placed this ad in the race packet (it was electronically delivered – very slick):
We got a lot of great exposure, including the company logo on 900 shirts. That was very cool to see!
Tons of people took business cards and really enjoyed looking through everything we had on display. In the past I have not had much of an appetite for the business side of the equation, but I am enjoying this process. It’s a fun challenge in a problem-solving kind of way to try and figure out what resonates with folks and how to overcome certain hurdles.
Of course the main reason I was there was to take photos of the runners. I set up early and stayed late to capture as much of the action surrounding the event that I could.
We announced the winner of our drawing for the lightning photo at the awards ceremony. The guy that won seemed genuinely thrilled and in disbelief. He let me snap this quick shot with my cell phone. That whole process was very satisfying, I’m looking forward to doing it again!
The next race is the Saturday before Mother’s Day, so we’ll come up with something good for that drawing.
A few more images can be seen here, and a large batch of low-res unedited jpegs can be found here. They are ideal for blogs and Facebook. They are more of the ‘snapshot’ variety, and not really reflective of my style – but I wasn’t using them for my needs, so I figured I would make them available to the runners for sharing, etc.
Tomorrow I will be shooting the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Highlands Ranch. It is the first event in the Highlands Ranch Race Series and there are 800 runners signed up! I’m looking forward to catching the action and doing my best to deliver some great photos.
I am also trying something a little bit different in terms of the usual race photography approach. I will be setting up a booth at the race expo and displaying/selling my landscape and wildlife prints. This will be an interesting experiment. I realize the odds are not really in my favor. Nobody shows up to run a 5K expecting to buy art to hang on their wall. I do feel like it will be a good exposure opportunity, and hopefully a little bit of traction will come as a result.
Many of my photos have been taken in close proximity to the race, and I have a special series titled “That’s where I live!” with images that were taken within 9 miles of the venue. I think people will be surprised when they see some of those.
It will also be a good learning opportunity for my kids. They are very excited to help out, and I am tremendously grateful for that. I made them special ID badges with our logo to wear on lanyards, so they are legit!
As part of my promo effort, I am giving away this 13×19 framed print of my Roxborough Lightning shot – which was the Grand Prize winner in last year’s calendar contest. The runners just need to stop by the booth to enter. No name, email, phone, or any of that junk – we’ll just write their bib number down and drop it into a hat. I’m pretty excited about doing this, I hope it is well received!
I will also have over 40 other prints for sale. Some are framed, the rest will be in sheet protectors. Click on the image below to be taken to a gallery and see what I’ll be displaying.
Well, time to give this thing a go and see what happens! If you happen to be in the area, stop by Town Center between 8-12 and say hi, we’d love to see you!
President’s Day weekend didn’t quite come together as we had hoped, and we found ourselves ‘stuck’ in Denver on a day off. Last year (link) we hit a home run with a four day trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. After some fits and starts, bit became apparent that no such road trips were in the cards this time around.
What to do, then?
My weekend long run was checked off the list (a solid 22.5 miler), and the family was anxious to get out of the house for the day. No dog-sitter meant that our travel radius needed to be small enough to keep us to a six hour time away.
We decided to go check out the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. That name is quite a mouthful, most people shorten it to RMA or ‘the Arsenal’. The place has an interesting background. (Link….) Chemical weapons were manufactured there decades ago.
It is within spitting distance of the city and serves as an oasis of sorts for all kinds of animals. I can’t help thinking this is how the whole area must have looked a couple of hundred years ago.
I had been there before, and was excited to show the rest of the family around. It served as the perfect destination for the time we had to work with. There is a very nice visitor’s center on-site, but it was closed for the holiday. Thankfully, the rest of the park was open.
Right off the bat we spotted a juvenile bald eagle hanging out in a prairie dog colony, along with a pretty rough looking coyote.
Next up was the bison enclosure. It is a very large area that you can drive through – as long as you stay in your car…
After seeing the bison it was time to get out for a walk and stretch the legs a bit. There are several miles of hiking trails in the area that lend themselves very well to combinations of longer or shorter duration hikes. It is very easy to find that Goldilocks just-right length.
We saw a few deer, but not much else in the way of wildlife on our walk. We did go over this cool floating walkway that served as an excellent backdrop for some portrait practice with my daughters. They are growing up so fast! It is nice to be able to capture a moment in time like this once in a while.
From there is was on to prairie dog town, where the little guys were actively doing the move we have nicknamed – “popcorn”. They will crouch low to the ground before bursting fully-extended towards the sky. Then repeating the process over and over again.
My daughter caught me in a typical pose when I am photographing animals. I like to get as low to the ground as possible. Often lying still for very long stretches. At first, the animals don’t like it, but eventually they get curious and peek out to see what’s up.
A bit later on, my family discovered this bizarre scene of a dead owl tangled in a tree. First time I have seen anything like that.
After driving a little further, we came upon a frozen lake with a lot of activity. Some hawks swirled far over our heads and took turns diving at each other. Several bald eagles (eight total) congregated on the opposite side of the lake. Someone mentioned they thought some coyotes had made a kill near that spot.
We headed for home after watching the eagles for a while, making it back to our place right at the six hour mark. It was a perfect little getaway.
Photo Credit: My Wife