Be Charitable as You Learn

20091003__RAD0293 When was the last time you gave some time to a worthwhile cause?  Well, you should.  I could give you the standard line of how good this is for your soul/karma/community.  Or how you’ve got a great life in this great country, and everyone should give back something to show their gratitude.  I could chide you that I’m tired of hearing people talk about it “taking a village” or how they are “compassionate conservatives,” and it’s time to stop talking and start doing.  I could do that, but, believe me, you don’t want me to climb up on that soapbox.  After all, this is a photography blog.  OK, I hear you….  This is an ideal way to work on your photography and post-processing skills!  These organizations are always looking for help publicizing their work, and you can help them out while working on becoming a better photographer.  You can put yourself into challenging situations – outside of the sterile studio – and you’ll make lots of new contacts.

Kathy, one of my long-time friends and a fellow blogger (read her at Reinventing a Bloomer), called me up late last week.  She works for St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, in Norfolk, Va.  St. Mary’s cares for children who have severe disabilities as a result of birth disorders, traumatic accidents, illness or child abuse. They provide clinical, educational, recreational and support services with a gentle touch.  They were getting ready for their 21st annual 5K run/walk fundraiser, and a last minute issue took away their photographer.  Could I help out?  Well, I’m a sucker for children, so I signed up.  So, today we are photographing a running event, so let’s talk about what you want to do in order to properly document it.

Think about the important parts of a race to create your shot list.  You’ll need some pre-race shots to set the scene.  Teams are always happy to get their photos taken.  Here is Team Hoyt getting ready to push the carts.


You always have some people who get into the spirit in strange ways – we had an astronaut on skates.  Lots of friends meeting again, before the race.  Don’t forget to take a couple of scene-setting shots, too.

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As the race gets ready to begin, you want to catch the crowd, and they’re off!

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Before, during, and after the race, take the time to concentrate on individual runners.  They always love to see their pictures.  This is always my favorite part.




The winner crossing the tape is a mandatory shot.  This was a fun run, so we didn’t have a tape, and the finish line was around a corner, so I concentrated on the runners as they neared the finish.

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For more information about St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, go to  Their donation page is at

Throughout these photos, you’ll see Team Hoyt Virginia Beach folks.  They are another good group with a mission to bring awareness that the disabled can be integrated into the most challenging able bodied activities. They donated $10,000 to St. Mary’s cause. You can find out more about them at  They are still setting up their website, but they have contact information up.


Have fun and give back to your community.  Go help a charity continue to do good things for those in our country with more life challenges than you.