Simply put it’s a unique and colorful way for runners or walkers to take part in a marathon that gives a portion of the proceeds to benefit the local charity in the community where they hold the event. In this event, they raised money for the Ronald McDonald House in Tucson which is a great organization that helps families out by providing a home away from home while their children seek the medical attention they need in Tucson.
At certain places along the route, they have color ambushes disguised as water stations for the participants where you are pelted with government approved colored corn starch. Just passed the finish line, the MC and a few assistance will be high above in a scissor lift and every 10 minutes will throw, spray and otherwise dispense an array of dry powered, fluorescent corn starch on folks who just completed the marathon. It’s messy and a load of fun, a “colorgasm” of fun if you will, pretty cool way to raise some money for charity. So if you hear of one in your area, where all white, forget about how mature you are and head out for a fun run, or walk.
HAVE FUN…. Keep your head on a swivel as sometimes the best light or subject matter is beside or behind you.
If you choose to mix it up and get in with the action, bag your gear using a large Ziploc baggie and some gaffers tape to seal it up tight. Make sure you don’t place the gaffers tape where it interferes the mechanics of your lens otherwise your auto focus won’t work well if at all.
Choose your lens choices carefully, this is the LAST place you’ll want to swap lenses on your camera body on location; the contaminants flying around in the air will wreak havoc on your sensor and create a lot of headaches for you. I used (2) Canon 5D bodies, one with a 24-70mm wide angle zoom and on the other a 70-200mm zoom. I had a 15mm fisheye that I used early on but didn’t like the results so I stuck with my other two choices.
I briefly spoke with another photographer out there, he was lucky enough to get a spot up on the scissor lift with the MC, or so I thought. While I’m sure he got a really good angle, once he was up there he was stuck and the wind often blew all that color back on the rig they were standing on. So if that’s what you want to do, coordinate with the event staff and see if you can get a spot, they were great people to work with. Personally, I didn’t want to commit to that angle for too long nor did I want to risk getting my gear or myself that dirty. The event is messy, messy, messy…. But FUN.
As they sprayed color on the crowds every 10 minutes, I would keep a close eye on the wind and would work my way back and forth as the wind shifted to stay UPWIND from the color bombs. This worked well because the few times I was overcome by the colored cloud I was able to move out of it quick enough besides, you couldn’t focus on the subjects (people) too well at all and if you were trying to avoid getting dirty like I was…. It was the best approach.
From a technical standpoint it was somewhat straight forward action style shooting. Since I knew going in I would have a lot of color to capture I bumped my saturation settings in the camera to bring out the color some but also used a polarizer filter. The filter acted as protection for the lens but really helped with adjustments to keep the beautiful blue Arizona skies and color bombs.
Post Processing: I download everything into Adobe Lightroom 4 for RAW to JPG conversion and to put that gritty edge I used a couple presets I created that I felt would work well with this venue. To make the colors POP and reflect the vibrant fluorescent colors they used, I used “Selective Color” in Adobe CS5, for sharpening I used the “High Pass” filter set at 6.
That’s it for this post, Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog!!! If you have any questions feel free to comment below.
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