Trail Running Shoot


A few weeks ago, I was looking through the portfolio again as we re-coded our website and realized I was missing some sports and some key shots I really wanted to capture and add. One of those was taking some of the shots and techniques we had honed on the road and applying it to the trails. i.e. I really wanted to do some trail running shots.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of the track or the road in the photos, but I grew up more off-road than on the road and I wanted to capture that beauty of nature mixed in with the harshness in our lighting style to create some cool scenes. Plus, how many shots can you get running up rocks or jumping creeks when you stay on the beaten path?

So, the concept was fairly easy, but the biggest issue had always been getting to the location while lugging all of our photo, video, and lighting gear out into the field. It always came off as a logistical nightmare and even though we have some really awesome Think Tank roller bags for our gear, they don’t roll well over rocks, dirt, and mud. Enter the F-Stop bag series (more to come in a review of this awesome bag shortly) and our problem of carrying the gear was taken care of. I was able to pack all of our gear and the new Profoto B1 light on my back along with a cheap-o light stand and a beauty dish and we were ready to rock and roll! Top that off with the use of our mountain bikes to get out to the areas faster and easier and we were pumped about the shoot.


I contacted one of my swim lane partners and an awesome local triathlete – Val – about doing the shoot and we had ourselves a concept, a way to execute it, and an unsuspecting model/athlete that we were going to drag into the mosquito infested tall pine forests of Southeastern Texas to jump over creeks and climb loose sand embankments. Just another day at the office…

The first shot was a test of the equipment and concept and we really struggled with the sun not playing nice to create the image I had in my head. I wanted to really allow in a lot of the natural evening sunlight and throw a lot of sun flare behind Val, but the clouds kept interfering and the forest was so dense that the flare was in a specific spot that made lighting and posing very difficult. All in all, I’d call it a bust but definitely a shot that I want to try again when Houston turns back into Houston and stops acting like Seattle South (that’s my super-wordy way of saying it’s been raining non-****ing-stop all Spring). But, I digress…

Putting my frustration aside, we loaded back up and headed further into the woods towards a part of the creek where I thought we could get a really awesome shot of Val jumping the creek. In my mind though, I wanted to step it up another level and get a “fisheye” view of the shot in the sense that I wanted it to be from the level of the waterline. It’d look awesome, but it also meant I was going to have to get into some nasty water… again. Not sure why I keep doing this to myself, but it still beats sitting on the couch on the Sunday night and being bored!


We got the added luck of having some of that nice sunset light coming down the creek and the shot, as you can see, came out epic and we had some fun trying to get a few different angles without Val breaking an ankle.

It was a short, but all-in-all good evening shoot and we were able to get a few images that could help add to the portfolio. But, more importantly, it helped us prove a concept to ourselves and allow our ideas to expand beyond the confines of where we could easily access our equipment and vehicles, and vastly adding to the different terrain we can keep shooting.

Want to see the whole shoot including our equipment and pack for getting back out in the woods? Check out the video below and let me know what y’all want to see in our next video in the comments below!

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  1. October 21st, 2015

    […] the internet for Trail Running photos. I even tried my own hand at a shoot with a local athlete, Val, and tried to put my own twist on what I thought was a cool trail running shoot. Needless to say, I […]