The Best Running Photography Ever
The first time I discovered Run Long Run on Istagram, I assumed it was just some random running photography sponsored by Nike or Salomon or another professional shoe company. The pictures were crazy sweet, but anybody could get sweet pictures like that with elite athletes and a professional camera crew.
No big deal.
I didn’t pay attention to the captions, just appreciated the brilliant, artistic images of running. Then one day, I saw this picture with the caption,
…Fall colors are on full display at Afton State Park today.
Wait, Afton? This dude is from Minnesota?
Sure enough! Runlongrun is fellow Minnesotan Long Nguyen. Now, I was even more impressed with his work! We exchanged a few emails and he graciously agreed to let me use some of his photography on a few posts. To date, they show up on a post about run commuting, winter running jackets, tights, and hopefully more in the future.
I thought it would be fun to find out a little bit more about him, and learn how and why he captures such amazing shots.
The following are my questions and his answers.
Who are you and what is your running background?
My name is Long and my friends call me a “run-Tographer” because well…I like to run and take pictures at the same time.
I didn’t start training for races until about a year ago, but I have always been a “casual runner”. I have been running as long as I can remember. I used to run with my childhood friends in a pair of sandals, on dirt roads after school, just because we wanted to get to places faster. As I grew up, running has always been something that I have enjoyed. I would just get out and get lost for hours.
What are you currently training for? Weekly mileage?
I’m currently training for a marathon in May 2015 and trying to keep my mileage at around 60 – 70 miles a week.
Why did you start taking these amazing pictures?!
Do you remember that run when you laced up early in the morning? The air was so fresh that it made your feet so light. You charged through the trails/road along the river and as you flew to the top of the hill, you noticed the sun was also rising. You realized how precious that moment was and how happy you were to be alive and able to run.
I want to capture moments, memories and emotions like that. And that’s why I sometimes bring a tiny camera with me when I run, whether I am running solo or with a group. I share the pictures with the running community on social media such as Instagram and Facebook, some I keep for myself or will only share with friends–in trade for a beer.
How do you take them? Self timer, tripod, helicopter?
I take them as I run. And it often happens spontaneously because I don’t want people to be distracted with the camera. Occasionally, when the view is too beautiful, I will have my friends run back and forth a few times for the pictures.
Sometimes when I run solo, I get creative with how I set up my camera and use the remote control to snap the pics.
What gear are you using to take the pics?
I use a Gopro Hero camera to take pictures. It’s small and light enough to carry with me on my runs.
What are a couple of your favorite places to run in Minnesota?
My most favorite place to run in Minnesota is Theodore Wirth park. It’s easily accessible and offers distances up to 13-15 miles combined with Cedar trails. It’s surprising that one could cover that much distance of trails in a place so close to downtown Minneapolis. Being close to the city lights, Theodore Wirth is often very bright at night, so bright sometimes I don’t even need to use my headlamp.
Really, my friends and I love exploring any unpaved trails we can find in the area
What are 5 of your favorite pictures and why?
This picture brings back memories of one of the first cold days this Winter. Looking at this picture, I can remember exactly how numb my toes were, how cold the wind was and how heavy my feet were running on fresh snow. But Despite all that, I couldn’t help it but be blown away by how beautiful the trails at Lebanon Hills were on a sunny cold day.
A picture with Minnehaha Falls in the background is mandatory right? But what about a picture running past the Falls?
This picture was taken right before my camera battery went out, but what followed after this was an amazing adventure through paths along the Mississippi River that required a bit of dodging, jumping and crawling. I was glad I wasn’t holding a camera.
This picture was taken at my most favorite part of the trails in Theodore Wirth Park. I made a promise to myself to take a picture that will captures the beauty of this hill every time I run on it.
This snapshot captured everything I want to see in a running picture: the beautiful scenery at Wirth, the intensity of the run, and the high level of focus from the runners.
It wasn’t until we were standing still in a dark and quiet place that we realized how beautiful it was outside. The view took our breath away. This picture reminds me to appreciate nature and my ability to enjoy it to the fullest.
One of the reasons I am so impressed with Long’s work, is because I recognize several of the places in the pictures. Seeing the way he captures something I have seen so many times is incredible.
I also love the ways he captures those “precious moments.” I think we have all had times when we’re out on a run, all alone and we get a brief glimpse of something truly amazing. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone running along side, capturing it all for us?
If you’re not already, follow him on Instagram. It is the best running photography around!