Tim Kemple, expedition photographer for The North Face, gives his perspective on shooting our running athletes in the Cumbria Lake District, UK this past summer:
I live my life out of duffel bags. Not for lack of cleanliness or want of clean clothing -- I'm a photographer and film maker, and I spend my year traveling the globe with the world's best outdoor athletes. Without question one of the highlights of my year is working with The North Face Running Team. In pursuit of capturing the most authentic running images possible, I've seen the highest of highs: Jez Bragg, Lizzy Hawker, Mike Wolfe, Hal Koerner, Nikki Kimball, Tracy Garneu and others winning at races around the world, hiking for hours into the Patagonian backcountry to be in the right place to capture early morning training runs, and the sunrise on the Amazon River during the Jungle Marathon. I've also seen the lows: Kami Semick barely able to walk after suffering hypothermia during the CCC, Lizzy Hawker's race-ending crashes (into trees, logs, boulders and more), and the endless list of injuries that have sidelined some of the world’s best running athletes -- people that I now call best friends.
What makes shooting with The North Face Running Team so badass is two things. First, the locations. Where others would go to the treadmill and the studio to capture images of the newest gear in action, we get to travel to all ends of the globe. Real places that have races, a deep running history, and heritage. For example, we once did a shoot for a week in the jungles of Brazil during the Jungle Marathon. Yup... packed with crocodiles, giant wasps, and enough heat to bake a potato. The second is the athletes. We don't use models but instead take athletes from the team with us and often hike for miles to meet them on their training runs in just the right place. They help point us to the trails they love to run -- and when we get there, their passion for running and focus is unparalleled.
This past summer we traveled to the Fells of the UK Lake District - the place that people claim is the birth place of modern day trail running. Here the dirt paths are plentiful (albeit they tend to go straight up or straight down), the weather is dynamic, and the views spectacular. Jez Bragg toured us around the trails of the classic 60 mile Fellsman Race (a race he won in 2011) as well as some of his personal favorite training runs in the area. Below are some of the images we captured and some behind-the-scenes shots. I hope you enjoy.
Tim Kemple has been an expedition photographer for The North Face for the last 6 years.
View the full Lake District album on The North Face Facebook Page
Browse the spring 2012 running collection at TheNorthFace.com