Photo Tips #4 - Get Up Early


e've all heard the proverb, 'the early bird gets the worm', well it's no more true than when you're photographing events like the Bob or Frog Graham. These two trail running events typically start around midnight to allow competitors to take advantage of as much daylight as is available.

There's two parts to this tip: the first is about lighting and the second is about timing.

Part 1: Lighting

You'll get your most different shots when the lighting conditions are different to everyone else's. Sure you can hike up a hill and wait for the runners to come past, but that'll be the same as any other punter taking images on the same day. So, quite simply, get up earlier (or stay out later as I did on the first night) and take your shots throughout the day so there's different lighting conditions. This will naturally diversify the kind of shots you get.

Part 2: Timing


This is especially important if you've got up really early and it's still dark or there's cloud on the summits and your limit of view is really short. I almost missed Kirk on the first summit because I'd not got my camera out of my bag in time, despite being there well in advance of his intended arrival time (yes, I was caught snacking but let's ignore that for the moment).

As you can see below, this is Kirk ( and friend, Tim) running off Skiddaw at around 4 am. There's significant cloud cover and that meant I'd almost missed them as they came past.

Who said running of Skiddaw at 4am was going to be easy?

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Portrait image of Lake District photographer, Al Topping Photos & Film