People choose to run for many reasons: fitness, the challenge, fun, to win. I share many of those reasons but an additional one for me is the opportunity to take photographs.
I have owned a DSLR for around 10 years with the quality of the photographs produced by mobile phones increasing I find that it’s the only camera I take with me.
All of the shots I take on my runs are with an iPhone 7 Plus (earlier runs with an iPhone 6S Plus) and I relish the challenge of seeing how far I can push it.
Here are 10 reasons why I love to take photographs whilst running.
1. It’s Fun
I run for different reasons, one of which is fun. I want to keep it fun. If every time I headed out for a run I beat myself up because I didn’t run my fastest or because I didn’t run the entire 20 miles of my long steady run non-stop, running would soon because less fun and more of a chore. And that’s the point where you risk stopping running.
Taking photographs helps keep runs fun, and prior to a run I’m a little more excited as I know there’s the prospect of seeing stunning vistas, wildlife and hopefully the odd sunrise. I’m also encouraged to head out a little earlier to make sure I get better photographs.
I can think of numerous occasions where I’ve started my run early and observed stunning views and by the end of the run the weather has worsened.
2. It Combines Things I Love to Do
I like photography, I like running and I like exploring new and favourite places but it would be hard to find the time to do all three activities on their own. Why not combine all three activities?
Running along trails whilst taking photographs is perfect for me. It doesn’t add much time and when I’m climbing a tough hill or crossing a stile, why not pause to take a shot?
3. I Can Share My Experiences
I feel fortunate to live in a part of the country where I have some stunning places to run and I feel the urge to share my experiences with the running community and anyone else that’s interested.
I do believe that with a little exploring and a little travelling, most people can find some amazing places to run. I find running encourages me to explore more of the area I live within and I hope that in doing so others will explore and share their experiences.
4. Makes Long Runs More Pleasurable
If I’m going to run for a long 20 mile run, there’s a good chance that at some point it’s going to get mentally challenging, so taking photographs along the way really helps mentally and when you know you have taken some good shots it gives you a boost.
Knowing that I have taken some great photographs I look forward to getting the chance to edit the photographs after the run, sharing them and then writing a blog post about the run.
5. Helps with Training
I seem to have gained a certain fondness for ultra marathons and as such require longer training runs and greater weekly mileage. I know I’m never going to win any of the races I enter so for me the benefit I’m gaining from being on long runs, whether it’s running, walking or crouched down taking a photograph, is the time on my feet. And the opportunity to take more photographs encourages me to get out as often as I can.
6. I’m More Aware of My Surroundings
I find that when I’m running I’m always looking for photo opportunities and as a result I’m more aware of my surroundings. I’m constantly scanning and absorbing the scenery and importantly I’m looking behind me. Quite often it’s easy to miss some stunning views by only looking forward and never peeking over your shoulder.
7. Improves My Photography Skills
I can easily take 200 photographs on a long run. Many of them will be thrown away but I’ve noticed an improvement in quality of the ones that I’m publishing. Being out in different environments and varying conditions allows me to improve my photography skills whilst improving my running.
Visiting similar environments such as woods or mountains allows me to experiment with the types of photograph I take and then improve the next time I visit a similar environment.
8. Interaction with Others
Through sharing my photographs on social media and through this blog, I’m sparking interest and encouraging people to interact. I’m introducing people to areas they may not have considered exploring and hopefully inspiring some to start taking their own photographs so that I too can enjoy them.
9. Helps Future Runners
When I’m looking for a place to run, being able to see photographs along the way is invaluable for me to decide whether to run the route and when to run it.
In combination with an OS Map and a written description, good photographs are incredibly useful for giving you a feel for the type of terrain you likely to encounter. By taking photographs on my run and publishing them I hope to help future runners (and walkers).
10. Helps Me Make the Most of EVERY Run
I like to try and make every run count. Whether it’s a short run to work, a regular 10K I’ll run to get some miles in or a long run in the hills, I aim to try and make at least a little part of it memorable, even when the run doesn’t go well.
All of my runs are posted to Strava (whether I should be using a service like Strava is another discussion) and I ensure that I add a cover photo to each run. By doing so I have to actively look for something to photograph and if I’m on a regular run I have to look for a different way to photograph something I’ve probably already shot.
When I run in new places I treat it as though I may never run there again so make sure I take photos wherever possible. If I’m ‘runcommuting’ I’ll try and take slightly different routes (although I’m limited to just a handful of routes) or will take photos from different angles. Weather, season and time of day does help produce different photos so even the most mundane of routes can vary.