Derrick Lytle Loves Being in Nature: Whether He’s Running or Working
Today I’m joining ultra runner and amazing outdoor and time-lapse photographer Derrick Lytle for a few easy miles.
When I asked Derrick about his favorite distance to race, I wasn’t surprised to hear him name an ultra distance race. And his reasoning was predictable: longer races give him more time to be in nature and on the trails.
And for someone with his eye for a good scene, that’s not surprising in the least.
“Why Would You Run Just for Fun?”
Like me, Derrick hasn’t always been a runner.
Growing up as a soccer player, Derrick mentioned that when he had to run 3 miles during soccer practice he really hated it and couldn’t understand why anyone would find joy in running.
But during his college years, he started to get the itch to try running again.
Derrick went to college in Utah and had no shortage of mountains and trails to run upon, and after a few runs on the trails he started to fall in love with the sport.
And as he got more entrenched in the trail running community and culture, that love only grew.
Developing His Passions
In addition to discovering his joy for running in college, Derrick developed his passion for being in nature and photography in college as well.
Hearing Derrick talk about the area where he went to college, it’s not hard to see how his passion for nature developed. Having access to a multitude of trails and mountains literally outside his door provided him with the opportunity to experience the beauty on a regular basis.
In terms of photography, Derrick had an interest in photography and documenting moments on film as a kid, but it wasn’t until getting into college that he really started taking photography seriously.
As he kept spending more time outdoors and diving more into photography, those passions have continued to deepen.
Derrick also loves using photos to tell a story visually, and his photos definitely do that.
Want to Take a Decent Photo?
I’ve seen some truly epic photos of runners that were taken by some of my Facebook and Instagram friends.
I have taken some truly terrible running photos that I’ve been too embarrassed to ever share.
So when I had a chance to talk to Derrick, I had to ask him for some tips to at least help me take some decent action shots with my phone.
According to Derrick Lytle, there are basically 3 tips to keep in mind when it comes to taking a good photo:
- Consider the Environment: It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the mountains or running the streets of your town, how you frame your photos can make a difference in whether your photo is a dud or not. Make sure you (or the person that you’re shooting) can be seen, but also make sure your photo shows a bit of the background area as well.
- Taking the Picture: A simple tripod with a clamp for your phone is all you really need to take photos of yourself. Then set up a self timer on the phone and you’re good to go. Derrick also recommends using burst mode for taking your photos so that you’ll end up with a few options of photos to help prevent your eyes being closed, awkward foot placement, or other little things that can make a photo look less than epic. And another tip from the pro: don’t forget to clean your lens. Those things can get funky, especially if you’ve been running for awhile, so take the 2 seconds to wipe it off before you set up your photo.
- The Final Output: Using an app to improve your photo isn’t cheating, it’s smart. Derrick said that most of the good ones are free, and recommended Snapseed as his go to app of choice. Snapseed is free and is pretty easy to use, though for a complete noob like me there is a bit of a learning curve. (It’s not difficult, I just don’t know what all of the options that are available can do, so there is some trial and error taking place to figure out how best to optimize my photos now.) Adding a little saturation or contrast can really make your photo pop, especially when people are scrolling through in Facebook or Instagram.
Ultimately, Keep It Fun
Don’t make the pursuit of an epic photo a stressor to your life.
Like Derrick says, there is enough stress in daily life that we don’t need running or taking photos to add to our stress!
So make taking photos fun. Play with the settings, learn as you go, and just keep doing it! Your eye will get better with time, but if you’re new to photography don’t worry about the quality of your photos.
Just enjoy the process, and don’t be surprised when you start taking some great photos sooner rather than later.
If you want to check out Derrick’s work, follow him on Instagram. And make sure you say hi to him on Twitter as well!
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