Volunteering – Photographer

So, bearing in mind it took me 1 whole year to volunteer the first time, my second time came today after only 1 month!

This time I was a little bit more aware of what to do, so it was not as much of a whirlwind of activity around me, however today was much more hard work in my opinion as I had volunteered my camera for the photography role and the whole day’s photos rested solely on my shoulders! I know the photographer role is supposed to be relaxed because the runners are getting their photos taken for free, and as such do not expect professional standards of action shots, but I really felt the pressure to do something that people could be proud of and to post as their profile picture of something. I know how much event photos mean to some people, so I didn’t want to let anyone down. Speaking with the Event Director before people arrived I was told that there was no set place (or places) to be, just take the photos from wherever I decided. This also did nothing to settle my nerves of taking the perfect photos! As I mentioned in my first blog post when I ran at St Peters back in May 2013 though, most of the photos I see from this event are from the top of the hill in the middle of the course though, so I just figured I should head there to be safe.

The volunteer team at my second volunteering stint! - St Peters

The volunteer team at my second volunteering stint! – St Peters

As things were starting to get busy and people were arriving I started just taking photos of everything, trying to catalogue the whole day. From photos of the parkrun flag in an empty field, to the warm up and the handing out of 50 shirts. No sooner as I had got my eye in, things were getting ready to start so I headed to the end of the path to try to catch the mass crowd running from the start line to the first corner. Once the last person had passed me, I ran across the course to the top of the hill and set myself up at the base to get ready for the first people coming through. Given that this point is just over halfway round, I guessed that I would only have about 10 minutes to get there before the first people started to come through.

Thankfully I got there with a couple of minutes to spare and was soon snapping away like a paparazzi. I only seemed to be stood there for about 5/10 minutes before the last person came through, which made me realise how small a gap there actually is in parkrun between the top end of the finishers and the rest of the field. Once I had finished at the halfway point, I ran back where I came from to see if I could get snaps of people coming through the finish line to finish off the timescale of the run. Much to my surprise, I only missed the first 10 or so finishers and was able to take photos of the majority of the runners coming through the finish line to finish off what was a fantastic experience!

At the end of it, I had taken over 1200 photos in approx 40 minutes (average approx 30 photos a minute, or a photo every 2 seconds).

Unlike other volunteer roles however, the day did not end when I left the course. When I got home I had to whittle down the 1200 photos to a more reasonable figure to upload to Facebook along with resizing them so that I didn’t crash my computer trying to upload that many photos in full resolution! After approx 3 hours (give or take) I had managed to go from 1200 photos to 180 that I felt were suitable to upload and covering the most amount of runners at the different stages. All that was left then was to upload them and I was done – phew! A very time-consuming job, but well worth it, think I will volunteer to do this again sometime!

The full album of uploaded photos can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.758222694217640.1073741908.184992341540681&type=3

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