August 16, 2010

Good gym workout; more photos

Having done a long run - "long" run - on Friday of 5 miles, my legs were pretty blasted on Saturday, which would have been a great day to run. I am definitely training up, though, as I now have the jimmy legs at night again. Sunday, I got super busy with taking race photos in the morning and meeting playwright David Hansen of Cleveland, OH, for lunch. We found a nifty joint in Chelsea that didn't cost too much for brunch. Of course I had a mimosa; why?

So today's workout needed to be a good one, since it had been three days since my last. I also wanted to get some good lung clearance going. The humidity has been high the last couple days and as a result, I'm coughing up a lot of junk. Not fun.

Considering the benefits many runners have experienced on Jeff Galloway's run-walk training plans, I may finally take it to heart. If I time the run and walk segments I'm doing anyway, it will lend structure and perhaps even help me get faster, as the walk segments end a little before I'd naturally start running again, and the run segments somewhat longer than I can sometimes sustain. I'm guessing that doesn't make much sense. What I'm hoping is this: if I time the run and walk portions, I can s-l-o-w-l-y increase the amount of time I'm running and decrease the amount of time I'm walking.

Now, if I do this on a treadmill, I can easily keep an eye on the timer, as well as have the treadmill set a consistent pace. So today's workout was a two-fer: half an hour on the stationary bike and half an hour on the treadmill.

The 30 minutes on the bike went quickly, though I didn't get into it as hard as I would have if the workout were bike alone. Going from the bike to running on the treadmill took about four minutes. The transition is quite rough on the legs, and I was really tight in the calves. At least they didn't cramp up immediately this time. But I took my first walk break after just three minutes. After that, I extended the run periods by 30 seconds each time, until the final segment was six minutes long. Much to my surprise, the pain in my calves faded after the third walk break and the running became easier. Much easier. I had set the treadmill at 5 mph and found I could increase that bit by bit without needing to walk, until I was doing 5.5 mph. I ended the run strong and confident and feeling good, in a way I haven't in a long time. Maybe I should warm up on the bike more often!


I took pics Sunday at the Bronx Half Marathon. This time, I was challenged twice as to my credentials. The first was from NYRR staffer Theresa, who was doing the last-minute registration table. (I know her, she doesn't really know me.) She just didn't want me taking pics of the money handling. OK, I understand that. Later, at the finish line area, an angry black man who had been told to get behind the ropes challenged me. He had a point - namely that if I don't have press credentials, I should be behind the ropes, too. However, a regular volunteer (possibly staff, I can't remember) told me I could stay where I was if I wanted. There are advantage to having good equipment and knowing what you're doing. However, there weren't any good angles to be had by anybody, so I didn't push it.

The best of the photos can be found here.

I brought along a reflector this time in an attempt to broaden and soften my flash. In many photos, it worked nicely - but timing is critical, as the area affected when outdoors is very small - it will work better at night or on very cloudy days.

Direct flash is more obvious (and can be seen in a couple of the Picasa posted photos), but is almost too much. On the other hand, using the flash from about 30 degrees off the centerline (to the subject) results in good overall modeling and pulling the subject off the background by virtue of a contrast in color temperature. The runner looks slightly warmer than the runners in the background, without being obnoxious about it. (I do color my flash.) He's also a a few degrees brighter. This provides focus. In other situations, I had it at about 135 degrees off centerline - kind of an angled backlight. This is truly epic and you can see the effects of this on a runner and a bicyclist in the album.

One of the things I can do in Lightroom that is difficult even in Photoshop is widely manipulate greyscale. I can command the greyscale conversion to affect ranges of color to a lesser or greater degree. I can set where the highlights and shadows are divided and how contrasty those are.

In these two photos, I have manipulated how the primaries and secondaries of the first image get mapped to greyscale ranges. Yellows and greens were set to be as light in greyscale as possible, along with purples/magentas. Reds/oranges were left alone, but blues and aquas were pulled way, way down, to almost black. This gave me great contrast in the bib number and brought out some texture in the sky that can't be seen in the original greyscale conversion. On top of that, in Preview of all programs, I added a light sepia tone and some text. I could have done the sepia in Lightroom, but it's actually easier in Preview.

And in these two photos, with similar manipulation of greyscale first, I brought magentas, reds, and oranges (the building tones) to full, completely supressed yellow tones, left green alone and suppressed aquas, blues, and purples. Contrast was bumped a bit, as were blacks, resulting in a nicely dramatic sky and depth of building detail that, again, isn't present to the eye in the original image. In Photoshop, I did a little bit of distort and warp to bring verticals back to vertical (countering perspective) and used a Warming filter to add the warm tone. I don't think I like it as much as the sepia I used in Preview on the runner. But... still, I ended up with a very dramatic view of a couple of frankly boring and ugly buildings - pretty much encapsulating my view of the Bronx as a whole.

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