<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Evanescent Light : Badwater


evanescent
: fleeting, transitory
evanescent wave: a nearfield standing wave, employed for total internal reflection microscopy

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Badwater 135 Ultramarathon
The "World's toughest footrace"


Death Valley to Mount Whitney



Covering 135 miles (217km) non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA, the Badwater® 135 is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet. The start line is at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m), which is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States.

I had previously completed the race 9 times in 2002 through 2011, and returned several times later not as a runner but as race staff photographer. Over those years the race changed considerably. The cutoff time for official completion was reduced from 60 to 48 hours in 2011; in 2014 the Death Valley National Park imposed a moraorium on sporting events so the course was re-routed to include climbs to Horseshoe Meadow and Cerro Gordo; and from 2015 onward the race has started in the evening rather than the morning, so runners are no lnger exposed to the fyll daytime heat of the hottest place on earth.

Click HERE for the Badwater 135 website.

Click on the links below for photos from other annual editions of the Badwater, and for the years (2002-2012) when I was runnng Badwater.

Badwater 2021 Badwater 2019 Badwater 2015

Badwater 2014 Badwater 2013 Badwater 2002-12

Return to Badwater home page

 

 

BADWATER 2015
July 28-30th:   Badwater 135 Ultramarathon

This was my 14th year in a row at the Badwater Ultramarathon, the "World's toughest footrace"; eleven years as a runner or pacer, and the last three helping on the race staff and as a photographer. My approach the first year I came to photograph the race was from the perspective of a landscape photographer, aiming to place the runners in context of the spectacular scenery of Death Valley and the Eastern Sierras. This year I shifted gears, and took on the mindset of a 'street'/portrait photographer, concentrating on the runners and their support crews. I had gained more confidence in this from a photo safari to Burma ("Faces of Burma") where the emphasis was on the photogenic and wonderfully friendly people of that country. Badwater offers much the same opportunity - a photographic challenge of capturing the emotions of a group of very special people pushing themselves to the limit in an extreme environment. Moreover, the runners and their support crews are friendly, like having their pictures taken, and in any case have all signed waivers permitting the taking and publishing of photos!

The images below are a selection from many hundreds of shots. Click HERE for links to to numerous other photos from the 2015 Badwater Ultramarathon.


Portraits of some 'old-time' veteran Badwater runners

The Badwater race returned to its historic course this year, but with evening and night start times most of the running through Death Valley itself was in the dark. I experimented with long exposures to capture the safety lights of the runners, ending with second-curtain flash to expose the runners themselves.




The next day brought full sun, requiring various measures to mitigate the heat as the runners descended into, and then climbed out of Panamint Valley.






By the second morning many runners were on the last stretch, a 13 mile, 5000ft climb up to Whitney Portal and the finish line.


Runner portraits at the finish line - attempts to capture what it feels like to finish the Badwater Ultramarathon!




   

 

IanParker
1146 McGaugh Hall
University of California,
Irvine, CA 92697

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