Credit where credit is due ...

I recently received a nice note from one of the racers at the Empire State Marathon and Half-Marathon: "... the Empire Half was the fastest turnaround on pictures I have ever seen. Did you get new software or something? Whatever the reason, it's fantastic!"

No special software. The answer is special people.

That starts with my wife Faye, who takes the wheel for the trip home from races. That allows me to begin prepping files on a laptop in the passenger seat, so that I am ready to upload as soon as we get home from an event. And our talented crew of photographers also has a lot to do with it. Their trouble-free, well-shot photos save me a lot of time that otherwise might be spent editing.

Our goal always is to put photos online within 24 hours after an event. If I am able to attend the event, that usually is shortened to the same day. If I need to wait for file transfers from races I did not personally attend but which our photographers staffed, then the turnaround becomes 24 hours.

We aim to please .... Pat

It doesn’t get any better than free

Free event photos are becoming a very popular part of race swag.

Look for them at these coming events:
— The Scranton (Pa.) Half-Marathon April 2. http://www.scrantonhalf.com/
— The Great Sacandaga Challenge Triathlon June 17 at Broadalbin, N.Y. http://sacandagatriclub.com/
— The Tour De Force 5K, 10K and Half-Marathon Aug. 20 at Point Au Roche State Park, near Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Free photos are part of:
— The 2017 ATC Endurance triathlon series. We will be at Cooperstown June 3, Delta Lake July 15 and Old Forge Aug. 13.
— The 2017 Vermont Sun Triathlon series. We expect to be at Lake Dunmore for these races on June 24, July 16 and Aug. 13.

Free photos are good for advertisers, too

Free branded event photos provide a lot of bang for your sponsorship buck. Click the links at the top of our Web page to get the full story.

Looking ahead

The Stockade-athon 15K Road Race on Nov. 13 in Schenectady, N.Y., bills itself as “the oldest ‘major’ 15K road race in the USA.” It’s been around since 1976. http://stockadeathon.com/index.php/registration
— And we wrap up our 2016 season with the biggest event of the year: The Troy (N.Y.) Turkey Trot. Get ready for that big holiday dinner by joining the thousands of runners who will hit the mile, 5K and 10K courses. http://www.troyturkeytrot.com/

Finding your photos

We tag our photos by bib numbers … if we can see your number. If there is no readable number, the photo is tagged U (unreadable). Entering U in the bib sort tool on the photos page gets you a folder of those images.

Sometimes bibs can be obscured by clothing, another runner next to you, your own hand passing the bib as we shoot … lots of possibilities.

The best idea is to securely pin down all 4 corners of your bib and wear it front and center on your top layer of clothing. It’s tough to miss a bib attached that way.

Although those bib belts are handy, people sometimes forget to move the number forward when they see a photographer or when they are approaching the finish.

Some good ideas from triathletes: Body marking can be helpful, but what if you mark your right shoulder and the photographer is on your left? Some people Sharpie their numbers on the backs of their hands. That works very well. If you mark on your legs, mark the front rather than the side. That way the number can be seen from any angle.

Swim photos can be especially hard to tag, because wetsuits often cover body markings. Along with numbers on the backs of hands, a good idea is to Sharpie your number on your swim cap. It's tough to miss there.

A few silly folks have Sharpied numbers on their foreheads. While that works great for photographers and finish line personnel, people anywhere but at the race might give you strange looks … so that may not be the best idea.

And for cyclists: Put your helmet number front and center. If a stick-on frame number is provided, attach it as far forward as possible. Numbers attached below the seat often are difficult to read.

Picture this

During a recent race, some folks reminded me of three of the best ways to NOT get photographed at the races:

1. Make a mad dash for the finish from 50 yards out. Trying to catch just one more person before the line all too often puts that overtaken person between you and the camera at the wrong time. It's uncany how finish line sprinters almost always pass on the side away from the camera.

2. Finish in the middle of a large group of runners. It's so easy for the person(s) in the middle of a pack to get shielded by those on the outer edges. To increase your chances for good photos, make sure you are one of those people on the edges.

3. The same goes for following very closely. It's tough to photograph the second person when two people arrive at the finish almost belly-to-back.

All you got to do it ask…

Almost off of our photo products are custom items. That presents a problem sometimes with the shopping cart, which our service provider designed with a cookie-cutter approach for general use.

As a result, the crop tool in the shopping cart will not work with our custom products. If you want to crop a photo, send a note to phendrick7602127@roadrunner.com with the photo’s file number and a description of what you would like. We almost always can work something out.

The same goes for special and group photos. Don’t be bashful about asking our photographers to do a shot of your group. A racer favorite is a portrait with the finish arch looming overhead.