This past weekend I photographed the Baltimore Color Run for the second time! I love doing that because it’s such a photogenic event. I could close my eyes, spin around and burst fire and I’m sure I’d get several decent images because it’s that dense of a marathon. I wanted to do a post on it for two reasons, one to show off how amazing that Canon 16-35mm shines in marathon events and two, to discuss how to protect your gear during events like this where things can seep into your camera.
The Baltimore Color Run has around 80,000 people between the two races, there’s one at 9am and then one at 12pm. I’ve always done the first one because more people turn out for that one I feel like. It’s a 5k, so around 3 miles and you run around Camden Yards and then loop around the M&T Bank Stadium and as you run you hit tunnels of people throwing different colored powders at you, hence the term “color run”.
Anyways, the only way to really get awesome shots is to run it yourself, not stand on the sidelines. If you stand on the sidelines, your photos will look like you stood on the side lines. People will say, “Well what’s wrong with shooting a 70-200mm and standing back?” Nothing, I shot with mine for a bit, but the compression will show and you won’t get that 3D look to your photos – your photos will show that you weren’t apart of the action. I’m not saying your photos won’t look good, they will, but the perspective won’t be there like it would with a closer up approach. I shot most of the day with the 16-35mm and I can’t say how happy I am that I bothered to bring it in addition to the 24-105mm. I brought the 24-105mm because when I’m standing up on the stage I want the option to have that reach just in case I need it.
Here’s a photo essay of my second and third times covering the Color Run! My settings are usually on Auto most of the time just because it’s usually super sunny outside and my eyes are covered with glasses of some sort so it’s hard to see the back of the camera – it’s important to just trust your camera in some instances. If you want to shoot manual, my settings for that are typically wide open with a fast shutter speed and lower ISO.
All images are the property of Kaitlin Newman and The Baltimore Sun, please do not share or use without permission.
To see the rest of this year’s gallery I shot for the Baltimore Sun, please click here!
*Note, these photos here on the blog have had filters added to them to increase the color and overall clarity. The published versions do not have any filters as they are not allowed.
So how do you protect your camera gear while shooting the color run? Easy.
This isn’t my arm or camera, so I used a stock photo from Amazon. I didn’t think to take one of my own camera until after I already threw away the sleeve. Anyways, this is what protects my camera the best and allows me to photograph right in the middle of things! The drawstring fits snug around the end of your lens and the back of the sleeve is fairly long and is designed to point downwards.
Now, I’m not saying to deliberately throw colored powder on your lens but you can run the race like you would normally and have your camera be protected. The colored powder they use in cornstarch I believe, so it wipes right off. A small amount WILL get inside the sleeve, it happens, but if you’re shooting with a professional or semi-professional grade body then it should be dust and water sealed anyways. You shouldn’t be afraid to get in the middle of things! If your camera cost a few thousand there’s a reason – it can stand up to more than you think it can.
Also, do not under any circumstances change your lenses while the powder is floating around. If you do change lenses, make sure the air is clear and the camera IS OFF. If it’s left on when you switch out, the inside will act as a magnet and pull any dust particles right into your camera body. When it’s off, the sensor is off and the shutter is closed.
Hope this answers the questions on how to shoot a Color Run and not worry about your camera gear! Good luck.