an athlete photographer's blog

The Home Quarter

Big Sky – Little Helicopter


The Run
3.53 miles

The Picture

Big Sky Little Helicopter

The Recap

The sunset tonight was so pretty.  I love seeing the contrails streamed like banners across the sky with the concentrated radiance of the sun tucked behind the trees.  I had a hard time choosing the picture for this run because the sky was an awesome backdrop, but I had to pick this one with the Blackhawk helicopter flying.

Home QuarterToday I established what I’m calling the Home Quarter.  I opened up the two gates (designated by grey rectangles) and mapped out a quarter-mile track around the house.  It’s not precise – it’s a little over.  My first, test lap, was 0.26.  I thought that was pretty good for eyeballing it.  I like that because if I cut corners too much then I’m still close to a quarter.

I don’t have to tell you; it’s not a USATF certified track.  Starting at the star and running in counter-clockwise direction, there is a slight uphill after passing through the gate farthest from the house.  Then running over uneven terrain to an unmarked-this-looks-about-right point which I based off of the stake for the property line.  As you come back towards the house, you have to duck through a small patch of trees which really slows you down.  I told my husband I needed him to cut out a little path for me.

So really my oval track actually looks something more like this: Home Quarter Wobble

But what’s awesome about this, is that I can do speed work at my house if I need to.  Technically, I haven’t even left our yard.

Today I did four laps before I would even allow myself to consider taking a picture.  I needed the warmup and I need to checkout my surroundings.  Since I would be passing everything multiple times, there was no reason to rush a picture unless it involved some sort of wildlife.  After a mile, I took a few pictures and after reviewing them on my computer, I need to read up on some of my settings.

Around mile 2, I had gotten what I thought was The Picture.  I even thought about ditching my pack on the back porch since I was at the house, but I decided that was not authentic and, besides, you never know what you might see.  Sure enough, as I was coming through the second gate I heard the chop-chop of the helicopter.  I dropped everything as fast as I could and whipped on my camera in time to snap several shots of this Blackhawk as it flew across the sky.  Up until this point, air traffic had been pretty quiet over the house, but after this guy flew over we had one right after another, spaced maybe five minutes apart.  I waved to the next one I saw – just in case someone was looking out the window.

Bonus Picture

I just wanted to share a Bonus Picture from the run.  I like this picture a lot and I couldn’t decide.  I decided against this one because of the broken grass and because I’ve been wanting a helicopter picture.  Which picture would you have chosen?


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2 thoughts on “The Home Quarter”

  • ummm. hard pressed. I am a huge fan of grasses (waving or broken) in the foreground but I think I’d choose the helicopter shot because of the Big Sky. Of course I had to look for the Black Hawk — if you hadn’t told me it was there … *sigh*.


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