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Featured Photo of the Month: August, 2014

As part of a regular feature on this website, I am going to feature one of my favorite photos each month and talk a little bit about how I got the shot, where it is located and what it means to me. This month's entry is a photo of one of my favorite events of the year, the Blessing of the Fleet road race. Held each July in Narragansett, the event features well over 3,000 runners and walkers and I've been "blessed" to cover it for several years now.

I hate running.

No, I don't just mean I hate the physical act of running, I mean that I hate the entire idea of running, both as an activity and a sport.

Yet, perhaps more so than any other sport out there, I am constantly finding myself at a crossroads of emotions about this particular event.

And I blame the Blessing of the Fleet road race for that.

For those of you unfamiliar, the Blessing of the Fleet road race is an annual event held in Narragansett, Rhode Island and it may just be my favorite sporting event to cover during the entire year.

The reasons why are simple: 1.) I usually get to sit in the pace car and take photographs in a moving vehicle while others cheer me on and 2.) Sitting in the pace car allows me the rare opportunity to watch the entire race as it unfolds.

Part of the reason I love this race so much is that the sheer amazement it always leaves me in as I watch seasoned pros plot their strategy and decide when to push down on the proverbial pedal and when to ease up.

And that's why I pictured the photo above as my featured photo from the month of August.

See, in that one photo above, you can glean an entire story. Out in front (camera left, wearing #7) is Warwick resident Matt Pelletier, one of the best pound-for-pound runners I have ever seen.

Immediately on his tail, as they were the entire race last week, are a group of about six or seven individuals and, out of focus, is a massive crowd of people who, while running in the same direction and for the same purpose, simply aren't on the same playing field as the gentlemen in front.

This one moment in time, which happened in a split second, describes this race perfectly. Try as they might, all of those faceless bodies you see in the background had no chance of winning and were really just background noise to the main stage players in front.

I love this photo for what it represents and what it says about the nature of running. While everyone in this photo has essentially the same skill set--a passion for the sport, two legs and a will to go in one direction for 10 miles--there is running and then there is what those in the front do.

It really is a great representation of the time, energy and training that those top tier individuals put in, day in and day out, when no one is watching and they're the ones blurring into the background on your tracks and city streets.

The fact that I shot this while sitting on the back of a moving vehicle traveling quickly down South Pier Street in Narragansett and only had a second to nail it? Well, that's just the icing on the cake.

The Specifics:

Title: Leaders of the Pack

Taken: July 25th, 2014 in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Shot with: Nikon D-3 camera body, Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 D ED lens.

Shot at: 200 mm, 1/2500 sec at f / 3.5, ISO 800


Beyond the Lens: A blog by Paul J. Spetrini

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