Water to the rescue
This was the fourth consecutive year I photographed the Chicago Marathon. Each year since 2008, I’ve shot it from a different location. Previous years I shot from Boystown, Lincoln Park and Grant Park, but Sunday I went to the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Pilsen.
No matter where I go, I tend to shoot near or at water stands. I think many shooters do, mostly because the stands are at every mile along the course, but also because it offers something other than shots of people simply running. Water is splashed. It provides back light. It adds a connection between the runners and those who line the race path.
When I photograph a large race like this — there were some 40,000 runners — I try to cover only the slices and edges of the area I’m in. You can’t cover it all. No individual photographer can. Besides, there are hundreds of people photographing it, so I simply concentrate of trying to photograph something “different” in the precise area I’m at. The one photograph I shot that I liked this go around was of a woman who stopped to watch runners pass by as she collected beer cans left over from the drunks the night before. Next year, who knows where I’ll go? I’m open to suggestions!