Tag Archives: iphoneography

Back to basics

22 Apr

Taking a break by the Potomac River

While running down Rock Creek Parkway with my friend Ryan last evening, I stopped to admire the sunlight streaming through the trees on the C&O Canal.

Don’t worry, I did it all tough-like.

In the manliest way possible, I told him, “That light looks so good.”

He verbified, “Why aren’t you runography-ing, then?”

As much as I like to be aware of my surroundings while I run to get a good shot, sometimes it’s good to let go, to lose yourself in the moment, to not always be “ON”.

That said, I looked at him quizzically and said, “Oh, yeah.”  So I took out my iPhone and started snapping.

Ryan running toward Watergate...not staged at all; nope, not at all

The run itself wasn’t that great.  Ryan doesn’t usually run and my back was suddenly sore from manly stuff I do at work, like carry heavy shit around for other people.

We did take the time, though, to catch up and talk wedding stuff (he’s getting married in a month) and, of course, sports.  We went about 2.5 miles with a few walking breaks along the way.

Running steps by the Potomac

I was worried I might have ruined running for him (I wanted him to associate it with positive thoughts so he’d do it again) and so was pleasantly surprised this morning to wake up to an email that included this line:

“I think that I’ll survive and maybe even give that ‘running’ thing a shot again sometime.”

I’m so proud.  He’ll be completing marathons in no time.


Running like a tourist

21 Apr

Great DC memorial? Or greatest DC memorial?

There is a school of thought that scoffs at the notion that we can ever photograph a moment as it really was. We crop, frame, eliminate, and choose what we decide to photograph, in a way robbing the viewer of what we were truly experiencing.

I think about this whenever I see them.  You know…tourists.  They descend on Washington, DC — my city — pretty much all the time, but especially in beautiful weather.  Clamoring around the White House gate, standing on the left of Metro escalators (DC’s most tired cliche, FYI), and practically camping on my favorite site — the Lincoln Memorial.

Most people try to photograph DC’s monuments and memorials as if other people weren’t there.  We search futily for that unobstructed view, wishing people would just. fucking. move.

I know I do this.

South side of Lincoln Memorial

But tourists are part of the scenery.  Whether I’m running on the Mall or photographing what I see or doing both — like I did on Tuesday, a perfect evening for running — they are unavoidable.

Of course, there are still ways to find new viewpoints of the same old shots.

After coming up on Lincoln, I battled past tourists for a while before deciding to take some detailed shots of the columns and the shadows on the walls.  It forced me to find a new perspective of the memorial, perspectives that I don’t usually try to notice.

Meanwhile, I was having a great run, just one of those perfect spring runs where you feel like you can go longer than you had planned.

So I did.

I ran 7.1 miles in total, running to the Mall and then around Lincoln and then back up Rock Creek Parkway.  I ran at what felt like a comfortable pace but everytime I looked down at my Garmin, I was pacing in the 8:50s, much faster than an easy or long run should be for me.

But I went with it.  By the time I got home, I had clocked 1:04:44, a blistering (for a long run) 9:08 pace.

I guess I should visit Lincoln and his admirers more often.

Shake it up

12 Apr

While walking around the palatial grounds of IKEA on Sunday, my legs buckled and I almost fell to the ground.  Twice.

No, it wasn’t IKEA’s naming conventions that startled me — what the hell is an Ektorp Tullsta, anyway?  A forgotten Jedi master?

It was my legs.  My dogs were barking.  And they were telling me to get some rest.

So I took a couple of days off.  Until yesterday. I hit the streets last night and did my White House tour.

The White House tour is a pretty typical weeknight run for me.  I start by heading south on 16th Street or Connecticut Avenue, run in front or behind the White House depending on how much distance I’m in the mood for, and then head back up to Adams Morgan, a solid 4 to 5-miler.

It’s a fun route, too, because of the sheer number of goofy tourists you see, especially on a warm evening like last night.

While I use Camera+ as my default iPhone camera, I decided to challenge myself by only shooting with the Shake It Photo app.  This would require me to be more alert of my surroundings and look for good scenes to photograph rather than rely on editing tricks after the run.

I like Shake It Photo as a photography app; it’s actually one of my favorites.  It creates square, even frames and produces a fairly vivid image without distorting lighting or colors.

For this reason, I think Shake It Photo makes for an ideal portrait photo app.  I never thought to use it for landscapes or snapshots.  Which is why it was fun last night to do something completely different and see if I could create non-portrait photos, to use it in a different way.

The results were encouraging.  So was my run.  Despite doing my first “hot” run of the season, I busted out 4.38 miles at 40:04 (a surprising  — for me — 9:09 pace).

I guess I’m ready to go back to IKEA.


Kayaks and shadows on the Canal

8 Apr

Scott and me running on the C&O canal towpath

I run this planet

7 Apr

Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico

Everyone remembers his first time

24 Mar

Earlier this week, I was emailing with my friend/running buddy MJ and told her how notable it was that this weekend, while I’m running the SunTrust National Half Marathon, will mark one year since she, Epod, and Heather all ran out first marathon at the same event.

She quickly informed me that last year it was held the weekend before so that day had passed.

Oh.  In that case, I told her, “Happy anniversary!”

One year ago we ran what I would have never thought I could do.  When I first started running, I would go for a mile on the treadmill at 5 mph and then get off and think, “Well, that was far.”  Then I ran an 8K and thought, holy shit, that was a ridiculous distance.  Then I ran my first half marathon and thought, how could anyone go even one step further than that?

The truth is, anyone can accomplish anything.  It’s only in the shadow of inexperience that we cower from our goals.  My dad, who last August couldn’t walk after surgery on his foot and had become overweight in his 60s?  Ran his first half marathon in January and crossed the finish line beaming like a 5-year-old.

My sister, who would only get off the couch to get more soda, was inspired by my and my brother’s love of running and ran her first 5K a couple of months after watching us run a half marathon together.

So on Saturday, even though I will be running “only” the National Half Marathon and not the full, I’ll still remember my first marathon and be reminded by how far I’ve come since September 2008, when the treadmill felt like a torture device.

It will be my 39th race.  And when I’m done, I will stay at the finish line to cheer on all the marathon finishers.  And think back to my own first time.  And wish myself a happy anniversary.

Triathlon training has (unofficially) begun

21 Mar

Marie Reed Swimming Pool

“There’s nothing natural about the way you swim.”

With those words of wisdom, Double D finished his first 90-minute lesson with me in the swimming pool.  And that assessment didn’t exactly mean I was ready to challenge Michael Phelps anytime soon.

I have never been a strong swimmer.  I mean, I can stay afloat and have even navigated out of a couple of of riptides, but in signing up for the Nation’s Triathlon in September, my first three-part race, I knew swimming would easily be my weakest link.

Double D, who’s a friggin’ dolphin in the water, is a former water polo player and my swimming teammate in June’s Charlottesville Tri (team name:  Tripartisan Support).  He offered to help me learn some swimming techniques and has been trying to get me in the water for awhile.

swimming“I’ve got plenty of time!” I thought, pushing back his invites.  But finally, I decided to go this evening.  And what a wake-up call it was.

My breathing was inconsistent.  The 25-meter lanes seemed endless.  My “splashy” strokes made me look like a dying walrus out there.  Double D instructed me patiently, though, giving me several different exercises to try, such as freestyle, backstroke, frog-leg kicks, and some weird eel-like move that made me swallow half the pool.

All around me, swimmers glided through the water effortlessly.  I’m sure I sounded like a whiner as I complained to Double D about a variety of things:  when to breathe, how to move my arms, my inability to keep a straight axis, blah blah blah shut up.  Even when I did swim somewhat correctly, going two laps — 50 meters — was so difficult my form would break and I’d struggle.

If there’s one positive, though, it’s that I’ve realized how much work I need early.  So I’ll be hitting the pool at least once a week as I balance running and strength training.  I will soon have to map out a training plan that also incorporates cycling — not just for the Nation’s Tri but for my leg of the team tri in two months.

I hope I don’t drown by then.

Toy cars

16 Mar

During a short break of a long meeting, I took this shot out of an 11th floor building in Silver Spring, MD.

Toy cars

Wish I was running down there.

I could climb those hills

10 Mar

Flying over the Sierras on my way to San Jose for my cousin’s wedding… And hopefully a nice long run this weekend.

Here we go…!

18 Feb

Here we goHere we go…!