Rock and Roll Marathon: My Favorite Photo Edit

A year ago today, I took my Nikon camera and my Canon analog SLR to the Rock and Roll Marathon in Savannah. Telling my few Instagram followers that I “gave myself press clearance,” I updated my feed with action shots in real time during the race.

“Covering” the marathon was a significant photo project for me; I actually felt as though I was on assignment! 😉 My favorite part was following the action and literally chasing  the shot and connecting with my subjects.

While there were several photographers at the event who were probably paid by the marathon itself or were from local newspapers or television news crews,  I probably stood out as I didn’t have any official marathon credentials and wasn’t near the finish line for my main coverage of the event. I found that most of my best photos were from along the route instead of at the finish line as one might expect.

One of my favorite photos is of a runner who was so absolutely in the zone. He stood out because of his bright orange shorts, and because he was the only runner sporting Beats headphones. He was obviously in it for the long haul and was focused on achieving his goal of crossing the finish line. I loved catching these candid moments where you can see the endurance manifesting itself physically and mentally in each runner. As the race progressed, you could see the perseverance and pride of each participant as it cemented itself in their confidence with every pace they took.

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After I got home and uploaded all of my photos, I kept revisiting this one thinking that it would be awesome to isolate the runner so that he was the main subject. I started brainstorming  the best way to do this, and while I knew that the clone stamp would take care of much of the background, I knew the challenge would be in recreating his right shoe which was partially covered by the other runner’s leg.

I worked on this part of the edit off and on for several weeks, practicing different techniques until I was mostly satisfied with the result. What I’ve learned most about Photoshop is that it helps if you use information that you already have, and when that’s not possible, get creative!

From the part of the right shoe that was already visible, I recreated the shoe laces using the clone stamp tool. The tread was tricky, but I used a rotating clone stamp brush to create the form of the shoe and the runner’s foot. Taking the Nike swoosh from the left shoe, the rotating clone stamp also helped to add the logo to the right shoe.

I tried to think of the edit in elemental steps and taught myself each element until I was satisfied with the photo.

At first, I thought it would be impossible to recreate, but with a little imagination, a lot of patience, and some good ol’ trial and error, I came up with the best representation of his shoe that my imagination could conceive.

The best part about learning to edit photographs is that you’re never done discovering all that you can accomplish! Challenging myself with an editing project like this helps me to see all of the possibilities with photo editing as well as the potential in my own images!

What’s your favorite part of photo editing or favorite technique that you’ve learned so far in the skill?

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