I took my camera out running on Saturday morning.
For about a week every year, usually around early October, but depending on the weather and flux of the seasons, the leaves turn. I know this is not usual. I happens all over the world: but we live in a city that takes pride in nestling itself in a mostly-preserved natural river valley, a ribbon of summer green that stretches dozens of kilometers from one end to the other, and a ribbon that turns a patchwork of gorgeous reds and golds as the long winter sweeps in around us.
I took my GoPro into the trails, dipping out of suburbia and into the river valley a few klicks from my house, a round trip of nearly ten kilometers all told, but a run weaving through the vibrant fall splendour along a quiet asphalt trail and across the river.
Filming yourself while you run is odd: it’s attention grabbing (in the moment and afterwards) and mildly narcissistic. Ok, not exactly “mildly” but whatever. It is a tricky combination of rapidly identifying a great shot, propping up a wobbly camera on a tiny tripod, with no viewfinder to guide you, then hitting record. You run back a few dozen steps, you dodge into the frame, repeat for luck, then swing back around grabbing the camera from it’s perch as you continue to the next location.
The result is a bunch of blind clips yourself: in their entirety, they look –frankly — ridiculous, an unfiltered collection of stuttering camera dodging, each with a few seconds in the middle, a gem of clear and steady footage. Later, back home, you trim those pieces, digitally splice them together, feed in an epic soundtrack, and the whole thing renders out to four minutes of clever (and yes, narcissistic) video.
The result is that you run up and down the same hill four times to get a good shot and realize that to remove your hat — which you wore to ward off the cold forty minutes ago — would be a great idea, particularly since you’re dripping with sweat, except that you’d mess up the continuity of the footage.
The result is also that despite the apparent loneliness of that footage, dozens of people watch you, stare, comment, ask you awkward questions, comment more, double-take as they speed by on their bikes, or simply laugh.
All that said, it’s my second such video. I knew what I was doing. And in a few years — or maybe just in the deep cold of this coming winter — as goofy as those videos look now I’ll be able to load them up on my TV and watch: the autumn colours, my own crazy-silliness, and, of course, the fun of the run.