This past weekend I had the opportunity to shoot the Color Run on the campus of the South Portland Community College with Flo-Foto as a hired hand. Admittedly, I was a little out of my element – I don’t usually shoot thousands of moving subjects, I don’t generally shoot JPG or leave my photos unedited, and I was concerned about the safety of my camera and lens with the massive clouds of color, especially after reading this article from LensRentals. Armed with duct tape, saran wrap, and a very cheap UV filter I left Bangor at 530 AM to make the two hour drive south. Getting to campus was easy, but once there I was stuck in the pre-race traffic that wound up backed up all the way to the draw bridge. After parking in the field, I had to ask three different people to get proper directions to the kaleidoscopes at the finish line and there I picked up my assignment. I was stationed at purple with the Purple People Eaters on Madison St about a quarter mile from the finish line at Bug Light Park. The sun was to my left hidden behind the trees and put the majority of the station in the shade with bright sunlight behind. Luckily, the wind was blowing across the street instead of towards me. I dialed in my exposure using anyone that walked by as a subject, then picked a few good vantage points that worked with my 80-200mm lens. I realized of course that racers may have to dodge me at certain times, but that was probably to be expected. I opted not to use the saran wrap and duct taped my camera inside a rain sleeve. If it’s waterproof, it should also be dust proof, right? With that I just waited until the chaos began.
Once the mob of racers started funneling through I got into a rhythm – focus on bib number, shoot, repeat. During breaks in the runners I’d change position. A few times during the day the dust cloud became so thick that I lost the ability to see let alone focus. Although my primary goal was to capture every runner, as they came through in massive groups it became more and more difficult to isolate anyone. There were a few people that felt the need to stand in front of me to get their own photos, and from time to time the Purple People Eaters would wind up blocking a shot, but in the end, my arms hurt from holding my beast of a lens to my eye for two hours. There was a coating of dust on the filter and in my mouth, I was purple from head to toe, and enjoyed every minute of it. Below are a few of my favorites along with a shot of my protected camera and a post-race selfie!