Going Further at Grandfather Mountain

Photographing Runners on NC’s Iconic Peak

Summer isn't over yet, but despite that we had the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful Fall like weather up at Grandfather Mountain State Park recently working with Tanawha Adventures to photograph their Grandfurther 25k race.

If you're not familiar, this is probably one of the toughest trail races on the East Coast. Boasting around 5,000' of elevation gain up and over the Grandfather Mountain ridge and Calloway Peak in just under 15 miles, it's truly a beast of a course that tests every athlete's mettle.

Our day started early as always at about 4 a.m. getting the camera gear packed up and making sure all the lenses were clean, batteries were charged, and everything that was needed was stored away in the pack. 

After arriving and talking for a bit, we began the climb up to the ridge where we were going to be positioned to take pictures about 6:45 a.m., a little over an hour before the race started and the runners set off. We've done this climb many times before and it's not easy without a pack, but a pack full of camera gear definitely made it quite a bit more difficult. Check out this climb!

Grandfather Mountain Climb

Yeah, by the time we got up there we were soaked in sweat and the cool temps and wind sent chills down our body. This is why you should always be prepared in the High Country, as it wouldn't have taken much to get in trouble here. Luckily though, our trusted Patagonia Nano Puff jacket warmed us up and, in fact, never took it off all day!

We got all set up on the south side of Calloway Peak for the first set of shots about 30 minutes before the runners arrived. Our lens of choice for this day was a vintage 25mm Canon f/2.8 to capture the wide view of the mountains. 

Grandfather Mountain Running

This first vantage point had some great views, but was a little tight so we moved just a little bit further out to another rock outcropping to capture another vantage point for everyone on their way back. 

Trail Running Grandfather Mountain

This vantage point was much better and we really got to capture the runner's emotions as they were struggling to finish the race, but still having a blast doing it!

After all the runners came through, we packed up all the gear and headed back down, stopping at the last aid station and gorging on the remaining food to satiate our hunger. We arrived at the trailhead about 3:00 p.m., a long day indeed but a great day to get outdoors and to be able to bring some great pictures to our partners at Tanawha Adventures and to all the runners!

This capped off a busy week and there is a lot of exciting stuff coming up! We've got another busy week shooting some more videos and working with partners to help them with their marketing, stay tuned for some exciting updates!

Reach out if you have any questions about our photography, we'd love to work with you!