Longest Run Ever (While Making Photos for the New York Times Magazine)

>> Saturday, March 09, 2013

I originally posted this on February 11, but I took it down shortly after. This post is about going on a long run and making photos for a project for the New York Times Magazine.

As the end of this post states, I was hired to make photos, but then found out The Times decided to change the project and go with only NY-area photographers. I took down the post because they didn't want any work out there (even if they weren't going to use it) before the magazine was published. Well they changed the idea once more to include an online gallery of a few other photographers. I had an image chosen for use on their website. And the "Voyages" story was published last weekend. Here's a link to my Photo Blog showing what image appeared on their website.

And now, the repost from February 11:

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Last Wednesday, I got a phone call from one of the photo editors at the New York Times Magazine. She asked if I could be part of a current project they're working on. I jumped at the opportunity! (I've done 4 projects in the past with the NY Times Magazine: 3 photos for articles, and a photo shoot for a cover story back in 2006, which was my introduction to the Times.)

The project was for their "Voyages" issue, which usually comes out in February. Here was the idea: they were having photographers from all around the US make photos of "Local Voyages" to show slightly hidden or or lesser-known destinations near their homes. On Saturday night, I posted about this on my Photo Blog, and I shared the 3 main rules in that post:

[...] The only other rules were that it had to be near home, you couldn't touch the images in Photoshop, and you had to use your camera phone and Instagram to submit your images.

I was among the photographers chosen because I use Instagram... even if it IS mainly photos of Henry being funny / messy / adorable / silly.

My goal was to show some areas around the Mississippi River (as it runs smack-dab through the middle of the Metro area) that are more hidden than others. I run along River Road ALLLLL the time, but I rarely venture off onto the more "singletrack"-like trails that wind through the trees right along the River's edge. So THAT'S what I was going to focus on: little "pretty" areas along the River that not everyone sees that are right in the middle of 3 million people in the Metro area.

So I threw on my running gear on Thursday morning, and started running along the River from Downtown Minneapolis.

Downtown MPLS in the fog from the Stone Arch Bridge.

I started on River Road, but I turned off onto any random trail I could. I ended up running this winding route:

What doesn't show well in that map is how much winding around I did when I stopped at an area to take photos. Here's part of the map from near the U of M Boathouse:

Notice I'm not even on the trails there - I was just running along the river.

And here's just a bit farther down the trail under the Franklin Ave Bridge:

Yes, I walked out onto the frozen river few times.

Exploring a hidden waterfall by the University of St. Thomas.
(The tiny loop near the middle is where I slid down a 20-foot slope on my ass.)

I ended up "running" for longer than I EVER had before: I was out for 2:32:27, and that was only for 10.7 miles. That's an average pace of 14:15 / mile (literally twice as slow as a "normal" run of that distance). FYI: I think my longest run was 5 years ago when I did 17 miles in around 2:15. Here's what my pace chart looked like for this 10.7 miler:

So here are 4 of the 200+ photos I made with my cell phone while out on that run:

Boats for the U of M rowing team. Notice the boat's name is "Larry,"
and you can see 3 bridges in the distance (I94, Franklin, and a rail bridge).

25 feet of frozen sewer drains under the Franklin Bridge.

An older couple walking a snow-packed trail (2 of the 4 people I saw during those 2.5 hours).

The hidden waterfall by St. Thomas.

Oh, and I didn't mean to do this, but I saw that I had 2 photos from that little waterfall that were VERY similar. So I made a little gif of those 2:

Then I hopped in my car and drove a few more miles south to Minnehaha Falls. At the Falls, I got 2 of my favorite photos from the day:

Minnehaha Creek leaving the Falls.

I love how this photo captures their relationship. You can just HEAR her
saying "Harold, if you fall and break your leg, I'm NOT hauling you up outta here!"

That man was on a small part to the right of Minnehaha Falls, but here's all 53 feet of it frozen solid:

(There's no sense of scale without people present, but that's 50 feet top-to-bottom.)

As I was shooting this project, I thought this could end in 2 ways: either (1) my photos wouldn't impress anyone and they wouldn't make it into the magazine, or (2) one of the editors would like at least one of my photos and I'd get published by the Times Magazine again.

But a 3rd thing happened instead...

On Friday, I heard back from the photo editor I was working with, and she said she just got out of a meeting with the head photo editor. She was told that the project is now only going to be about local New York City area photographers.

Damn it.

The slightly good news is that I will still be paid for doing this assignment for them. So I just made a few hundred dollars while out on my slowest run ever. That doesn't sound so bad...


So head to my Photo Blog to see all 15 photos that I shot last week, and check out the one they used on their website. This was a fun, quick, simple assignment. I'd recommend that you should all take a "local voyage" on a long, easy run and explore the hidden beauty in your neighborhood. You might be surprised what you find.


nrmrvrk 9:20 AM, February 11, 2013  

Nice photos.

I still hate Instagram.

SteveQ 10:24 AM, February 11, 2013  

Great photos of one of my favorite places (how many people running the Twin Cities Marathon have no idea what lies a few feet away!) - but, even better, nice to see original content that lets us see into your world.

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