Posts Tagged 'running'

So many brave warriors

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This last weekend I braved an early and somewhat cold start, attached my fastest and biggest lens to my camera and headed off to take some action shots of the Ironman triathlon being held in Durban.  As I left my house the sky was alive with promise of a beautiful day and I felt the sweet breath of anticipation somewhere deep within me.

I arrived at the starting point just as the sun was edging its way into the new day, creating black palm tree silhouettes against a flaming red sky.  Three and a half thousand men and women stood shivering in their wetsuits waiting to start this half ironman competition that started with a two kilometre swim out past the back line and in again further up the beach.  From here the competitors cast aside their wet suits and head out on a one hundred kilometre bike ride. When done with that they would then have to face a twenty one kilometre run before they make it to the finish line.  My goodness this is only a half Ironman!! Families, friends and strangers mill around waiting for the start before walking the distance to where they come out of the water to start stage two.  I am struck by the tense sense of excitement.  An almost breathless anticipation of the day ahead.

The competitors came in all shapes and sizes along with all ages.  Each one of them prepared to push themselves physically and mentally beyond the norm.  Each one of them setting themselves an seemingly impossible target.  The waves that day were enormous.  Probably over three metres and to be honest, not being a water baby, there is not even a possibility I would have ventured out there in a worthy vessel let alone under my own steam.  As the swimmers came back towards the shore you could see the massive waves filled with tiny black dots being swept high and pounded down to be tossed about like buttons in a shaker jar.  Not for the feint hearted.  However, age was not a deterrent to these people.  There were plenty of competitors considerably older than me.  Size was not a deterrent.  They came in every possible guise.  As they stumbled out of the water I was already in awe.

They set off on their bicycles and we made a dash to drive to a half way point.  Firstly because it had coffee (having been up since five thirty this was becoming a priority in my life at this time) and secondly so that I could get some photographs like the one above.  This guy is smiling.  Seriously!

Then we drove back to the finish line to watch them run.  The run was done by way of a ten or so kilometre loop so the runners came past several times.  Supporters lined this route, leaning up against the barrier and passing endless words of encouragement to the runners who by now are starting to look like finishing is not even a possibility.

I was overwhelmed by the support these complete strangers gave to the competitors. Every man and woman that passed was handed a huge dose of kindness.  Their names would be called and words of encouragement would follow.  The people next to me made sure not to miss out anyone.  They clapped and cheered and gave courage to those that had seemingly lost their own.  This was beautiful.  By now the sun was warm and I found myself surrounded by strangers helping strangers.  The unknown supporting the unknown. I soaked it up and revealed in the joy of being human.  How incredibly sweet this all was.

We are capable of so much more than we think.  As humans we have the mental capacity to overcome almost anything.  Seeing these people push themselves to the limits of their endurance and physical capability moved me in a way I cannot describe.  They were truly courageous.  Each facing whatever it is they have to face and doing so for their own reasons.  Each with their own story.

The kindness that humans show to each other is so beautiful it is beyond words.  Why I ask myself do we have wars and why are people so intolerant of one another.  It is not our nature.  We are not born this way.  We are born with soft open hearts and this is how it should stay.  When people come together like this, hold each other up and open their hearts to one another there is an energy that sinks deep into your soul.

It should be like this everyday.  Be kind to one another.  Open your hearts and hold each other up.  We are all courageous and we are all just writing the pages of our own stories.

As in the words of Ram Dass – “We are all just walking each other home”.

 

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What do running and photography have in common?

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Now you are wondering why I am posting a photo of a surfer when I am writing a photography blog that is now talking about running. Well stick with me with my roundabout feminine logic.

Life has a rhythm doesn’t it.  Days have a rhythm.  Days of the week being different to the weekend. Days spent on holiday develop a new sweet rhythm all of their own.  My days have a rhythm to them.  I always start my day with yoga.  If I have to I will get up before sunrise to fit this in.  It’s how I roll.  Just very occasionally if I am shooting early, say at sunrise, I might give this a miss.  I start with a cup of green tea (yep, I really like that stuff) and then put on my headphones and spend an hour on my mat easing my body into the day.  I then spend the rest of the day either shooting, editing, uploading to Getty or doing all that other boring stuff that photographers have to do.  For those of you reading this that think photographers spend their entire days behind the camera think again.  Many many hours are spent at our computers doing all the gloriously mundane behind the scenes work which actually makes up the bulk of our lives unless of course you are so successful you have a team of assistants doing all the mundane stuff for you.  Sadly I am not one of them.

Now thankfully my work is quite portable and I will often take my office to a coffee shop and work there just because I can and because I love coffee as much as I love green tea.  Somewhere around mid afternoon I start to get restless and that beautiful afternoon light starts calling me.  This is my favourite time to shoot if I am working on location outdoors but this is also my favourite time to run.

Once again I grab those headphones and head down to the beach.  I am blessed to be able to call this hot and humid part of Africa home.  There is a long promenade at my local beach which is almost exactly 5km long.  I park at one end as I get out of the car and can actually feel a skip in my heart.  I simply love the freedom of running.  The way that for that time I belong only to myself.  I love the place that I go in my mind and how time stops. That I forget everything and exist only in the moment. That I find the rhythm of my soul.  Same thing happens when I get behind my camera.  Same skip of the heart.  Same place I go in my head and that same beautiful feeling of my soul finding its rhythm.

Now if you are not getting any of the above when you have your camera in hand you need to go do something else because when you are in your creative zone this is how it should be.  If the world doesn’t stop for you when you create don’t give up your day job just yet. When you are truly passionate about your art it should make your soul sing, and your heart dance. It should make you feel weightless and it should make you feel free.

When I run the promenade I watch the surfers.  I see the looks on their faces in those moments before they enter the ocean.  I literally see the freedom they feel as they catch a wave.  I know where they are.  I know that their hearts are skipping beats and dancing their own secret dances.   I feel their joy and I know that their souls are finding their rhythm.

Now go and find your sweet spot.  Find the rhythm of your soul because when you do it’s an exquisitely beautiful thing.

 

 



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