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September 22, 2008

Pictures Worth Saving

Although it’s not surprising that endurance events have enjoyed soaring popularity in recent years, one development that continually baffles me is the prevalence of companies who specialize in race photography.

I’ve never understood how the math works out in favor of any of these companies turning a profit. Consider the sequence that has to occur for anyone to actually buy a race photo from a given event:

1) The photographer finds a scenic point of the course which also has optimal light conditions, then
2) Captures images of the athletes - in the middle of competition - that aren’t even a tiny bit unflattering to one of the most vain subsets of people you’ll ever encounter, then
3) Hopes that the athlete doesn’t already have a friend or family member taking race pictures, and that
4) The person loves the photo so much that he or she is willing to pay top dollar for it.

I mean … the chance of all of these things happening on a regular basis seems staggeringly low, doesn’t it? I suppose that’s why they have to charge so much per picture to try and break even. They’re certainly not making any money on me; in the past several years, I’ve purchased only one photo – and that was only because my son was in the picture with me. Otherwise, I’m a lost cause for the photo companies.

However, while I’m not one to shell out fifteen bucks for a 4”x6” race photo, I’m certainly not above doing a few screen grabs and turning it into a quick post. I may be cheap, but I’m also resourceful.

I’m also somewhat unorthodox, in that the following pictures are out of sequence. We’ll start with the run:

This is what I look like while struggling through a half-marathon after leaving my legs on the bike. I mean that almost literally – I had no legs during this run. If you don’t believe me, look at this next picture:

OK, this isn’t a race photo – it's a drawing of me, made by my 4-year-old daughter. She’s developed a fondness for sketching her family members, so I’ve got about 30 portraits of myself taped to walls and scattered on desktops and nightstands all over my house and office. This was drawn shortly after the race – and see? No legs. Of course, there are no ears or nose or arms, either – but that’s a separate issue.

Meanwhile, back to the triathlon …

I seem to have pretty decent luck with cycling pictures in triathlons, and this one is a good example. There’s nothing in particular to complain about, and I don’t look like a complete idiot. It’s a nice photo … but it’s not 15 dollars nice.

Actually, that isn’t even my favorite bike shot from the race – because I like this one better:

It’s closer up, I’m the only one in the picture, and – twice in a row! – I don’t look like an idiot. This might make a good profile pic someday, if I ever decide to update. Of course, I once declared that I’ll never change my profile pic, so that in cyberspace I can stay eternally young (just like I’m forever 25 years old on my current driver’s license photo), so I’ll have to mull that one over for a bit.

I said that the bike picture was my favorite from the race – but even that’s not the best self-photo I’ve seen over the last week. That would be this one:

That’s me, as seen by my 4-year-old. The letters say “Dad Mom”, but the picture is just me. Notice that I now have arms and legs, but as of yet, no feet. I honestly didn’t care about the lack of appendages – because you know what those little dot-looking things are? They’re hearts, because she loves me so much.

(I’ll pause for the “awwww ….”. Don’t act like you didn’t think it.)

Fortunately, I’m not the only one she loves. It occurs to me that I’ve never posted a photograph of my wife on this blog – so today, since I’m in a good mood, I’ll throw in a special treat: a picture of my beautiful bride:
Isn’t she a hottie? She’s tall, has heavenly long hair, and one eye about 10 times larger than the other. (All right … I’m kidding about the eye, but the other parts are true.) Notice all the hearts around her, as well. Needless to say, I consider myself a very lucky man.

Triathlon photos will come and go, but family portraits sketched by 4-year-olds are the things you grab onto and cherish. I’d gladly pay fifteen bucks for any one of these; thankfully, I’ve got a source who provides me with them for free.


21stCenturyMom 9/22/08, 10:10 PM  

I think this is possibly your very post ever. And I did say awww... and then I laughed and I just really enjoyed this.

I miss having little kids. And I have 2 huge bins full of little kid artwork and it still makes me say awwww..... every time.

21stCenturyMom 9/22/08, 10:11 PM  

that would be 'very best' post ever. But as long as we were leaving critical parts out I thought I'd join the party.

craig 9/22/08, 10:29 PM  

I love the way you relate racing to life and find the connecting points between the two. This post is one of the best examples. You are a creative guy. So's your daughter. Must be in the genes.

Backofpack 9/23/08, 7:38 AM  

Okay, pause for a moment, I'm about to go all early childhood on you...Did you know that there are stages of drawing children go through? That includes the lack of appendages, and also the phase where it's a giant head with arms and legs...okay, you can un-pause, I'm out of lecture mode.

Adorable pictures and nice photos too!

Deene 9/23/08, 8:17 AM  

aaw! she's an artist.

"You better not cross her
You try to boss her
Then you better duck Mister
Here come a cup and saucer

She's the one-eyed Fiona" (lyle)

Darrell 9/23/08, 8:51 AM  

A really good race photo is a rare find for sure. You've got to love the "DadMom" pictures. They wouldn't be nearly as cute with all your limbs, though.

triguyjt 9/23/08, 9:40 AM  

great post....

and your bride is a hottie!!!!!!

drop dead gorgeous....

ohhh..sorry...thought this was brad pitts blog...

btw--i like the second bike shot too....

Anonymous,  9/23/08, 4:48 PM  

Maybe your 4 y.o. can earn some bucks sketching competitors during your next event. It is a vane subgroup, as you said, so she'd better learn to put 'game faces' on them. The rest isn't so important. Oh, don't forget bulging biceps. And, ripped abbs. And . . . Better yet, we'd pay big bucks for features we don't have.
CV Rat

stronger 9/23/08, 5:54 PM  

Awwwww- that's cute. And your wife is beautiful. I've graduated to wearing dresses in D's sketches...and my hands are HUGE!

Rainmaker 9/23/08, 7:44 PM  

I agree..one of these days I'm going to open up a Sports Photography company and reinvent the whole thing ala JetBlue or Southwest - it's just too expensive to buy and the formating is done all wrong for the digital world.

Rick Gaston 9/23/08, 9:44 PM  

The best ones are free. Very nice. Yeah you looked happier on the bike than on the run.

momo 9/24/08, 11:23 AM  

my kids don't draw me anymore. what does that mean?? :-)

i have to admit though, i love race photos. i always smile at the camera - i know that's lame, but i'm usually not going that fast so i wave and smile and act like the photog is just there for me. seriously. have you seen my bike photos from cda??

momo 9/24/08, 11:27 AM  

here's the link, just in case you didn't believe me.



jeff 9/24/08, 1:55 PM  

i awww'ed and then i snorted.

you crack me up, donald. all because you GET what is important and you articulate it so well.

Victoria 9/24/08, 2:07 PM  

Thanks for the comment and well-wishes about my foot. Loved the pictures from your daughter as well...

robtherunner 9/24/08, 9:44 PM  

I must say, rarely do I laugh out loud when reading a post, but the picture of your wife along with your commentary did the trick.

Can I also say, Michelle is a dork for bringing in the stages children go through when drawing? Yes, I guess I can.

Bruce 9/25/08, 3:00 AM  

Cute pictures - oh I mean the drawings (you're right about the race photos also, too expensive for what you get).

Speed Racer 9/25/08, 6:42 AM  

I laughed out loud at your description of your wife. Then I tried to stop because I'm at work and almost choked on my toast. Then I laughed some more. Very nice photos. I NEVER seem to get good bike photos. Then again, I have arms and legs and feet and ears. It's hard to have a good photo with all those different variables there to muck it up.

Juls 9/25/08, 12:38 PM  

Very cute. Now, we all would love to see the picture that she draws of herself. Those are always telling.

Cliff 9/25/08, 1:23 PM  


I particularly enjoy the first drawing with the sweat marks.

The only image I purchased is my Ironman images. I had a friend (great friend) who was with me in my early days of traithlon and the images he took is way better than the traditional ones i get on races.

Makita 9/26/08, 8:07 AM  

Love it! Did you know you can have your children's artwork turned into jewelry (charms, pendants, tie pins, etc.)? Here is a link:

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