In what appears to be becoming an annual tradition, I once again signed up for and attended the Trail Runner Magazine photo camp. Really, the decision to return as a repeat offender was easy once I heard the camp this year was in Ouray, Colorado. After all, Ouray is the self-proclaimed “Switzerland of America.” Clearly the camp would include cheese. And chocolate. And cow bells. I'll travel any distance for cheese. I won't travel any distance for chocolate or cow bells, but still considered both a bonus.
I should not have been surprised to roll into Ouray and find neither cheese nor chocolate waiting, and nary a cow to be seen. After all, a quick internet search shows that both southeast Tennessee and the Black Hills of South Dakota have, at various times, also been proclaimed the “Switzerland of America.” Maybe the title doesn't carry as much weight as I thought.
So while the camp did not offer Alpenkase, the good people at Trail Runner did, once again, offer the opportunity to shoot some world class athletes in a world class setting. This year Adidas sent its sponsored athletes and shirts, shoes, and other assorted schwag. As a result, I have become a walking billboard for Adidas, which was, I suppose, the intent. Who knew Adidas even had an ultra team or outdoors division? Maybe no one, which again, may be why Adidas sponsored the camp.
One of the campers, Jenn, was herself a sponsored athlete, albeit sponsored by Patagonia. Hiking into Yankee Boy Basin on the second morning to get shots in the alpine at 12,000', she remarked on the Adidas team camaraderie.
“Holy shit, these guys look like they actually like each other. They're nice to one another.”
“What do you mean.”
“Like I was on a trip with a bunch of the Patagonia climbers and they spent the whole trip trying to pee on each other's tents."
Well, then. Indeed, I did not see the athletes pee at all, much less on anyone else's bedding. Which is probably for the best as I'm not sure the magazine is looking for pictures of athletes urinating.
I assume instead that the magazine is looking for pictures of people running on trails, hence the title banner that runs across the top of each issue. And we got trail running pictures in spades. Twelve students attended this year, a number of whom had and/or were developing careers as professionals. I saw some incredible shots on people's laptops and projected during after dinner critique sessions. To the extent you appreciate pretty pictures, it will behoove you to seek out the photo camp issue, scheduled, I think, for October. [And by “you”, I mean, of course, “my Mom,” the sole continuing reader of this blog.]
But three days came to an end, much too fast in my opinion. I borrowed (and now covet) more high end glass. I had the opportunity to experiment with off camera lighting. I got to further practice and try to refine the art and science of capturing motion. And once the scheduled shoots were wrapped and the athletes gone, I packed my bags and prepared to leave as well. But not before peeing on Jenn's van, just to make her feel at home.
[As with last year, you may note the absence of photos, which is odd for a blog post about a photo camp. But you'll just have to wait until the magazine comes out to get the goods. In the meantime, a teaser photo of Yankee Boy Basin follows. Just try to picture it with a runner in the foreground.]