A Photo shoot with world Class Kenyan Runners

This summer I had the opportunity to shoot with some amazing runners who live and train here in Santa Fe, New Mexico for part of the year but hail from Kenya. They are among the top 30 runners in the world. Bernard Langat, Aron Rono and  Caroline Rotich (pictured above) train in Santa Fe for about six months of the year as part of a program with the AmeriKenyan Running Club. This allows them to train here in the United States and gives them access to races happening all over the country with top prizes upwards of $100,000 for the winner. This shoot allowed me to experiment with some new techniques, new gear and to get to know the runners who are amazing in their own right. Working with them was a ton of fun. We shot the portraits first and with the full on location studio set up just outside their apartment we were all laughing quite a bit. You’ll see these images in the pages of Nikon World Magazine at some point and also used for a variety of other clients I work with regularly.

Caroline Rotich (above) is one of the favorites in this years New York City Marathon. She is sleek and fast. We shot running images on a trail just south of Santa Fe, where they run anywhere from six miles to a full marathon every day. There are no days off. They are motivated and dedicated like few athletes I have worked with before.

Bernard Langat (above) is not a marathoner – at least not yet. He runs shorter races like the 10K. He has a powerful build as is obvious. Aron Rono (below) is the tallest of the three runners I worked with and his lanky build belies his long stride and incredible speed. All of these runners live for their sport. It is their full-time job. Their days are spent running in the mornings and evenings, and then recovering, resting and studying their workouts to maximize performance.

The portraits were shot with a three light set up and black background using one Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS head with a deep dish 100cm softbox and two Elinchrom Quadras with 7-inch reflectors. This is a very common technique these days and it is also a very easy set up. The two Quadras, placed behind the subject on either side, really help separate them from the background. And since I have done so many black and white portraits on a white background I thought I’d mix it up this time around.

My thanks to Scott at the AmeriKenyan Running Club for all his help setting up this shoot and to the runners who were great to work with. I hope to work with them again soon on assignment or just shooting more stock images.

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