The Belize island of Ambergris Caye is a long, narrow strip of sand and palm trees. There’s the town of San Pedro and a whole lot of beach resorts. There are almost no cars on the island. The main form of mechanized transport is the golf cart, but this is mostly the domain of tourists. The best and most common way to get around Ambergris Caye is the lowly bicycle, and every San Pedro resident seems to ride a version of the same beat-up beach cruiser bike. Here are a few of them. View full post »

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Tough Mudder St. Louis 2013: It must be something about the quality of the soil in the Midwest, but these middle of the country Tough Mudders always turn out the blackest, filthiest, muddiest mud I’ve ever seen. Checking the Missouri weather forecast in the week leading up to the event I was crapping my pants a little – temperatures were hovering around 100 degrees. Lucky for me (and the thousands of Tough Mudder participants) a cold front swept in on Friday and weekend temps stayed in the 70s – it was just perfect. I had my normal spate of cart trouble – my UTV broke down in the middle of the course on Saturday and a different one ran out of gas on Sunday. No matter, I’ve hiked my fair share of Mudders. Click through for some more highlights from this great event. View full post »

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Tough Mudder New England 2013. My third year returning to shoot Tough Mudder at Mount Snow, Vermont. And what a beautiful event it was. Friday’s humidity and thunderstorms gave way to a glorious, dry, sunny weekend. The TMHQ crew put together a great course – these ski mountain Tough Mudders are some of the hardest, for obvious, vertical reasons. But for me the weekend belonged to Noah Galloway, the Iraq war veteran and double amputee who tackled the course on his own on Saturday. I had photographed Noah at a previous event when he was part of a larger team. This time he was by himself, determined to overcome as many obstacles as possible without help. I caught him going over the 12′ Berlin Walls obstacle like it was nothing. Then he tackled Everest – and got up on the first attempt. That’s the photo on top, and I am so lucky to have had the chance to capture it.

I know it’s cheesy and obvious to write something like “This is what Tough Mudder is all about!”. But fuck it – this is what Tough Mudder, at its best, is all about.  Getting over obstacles, whatever they may be, making no excuses… and also accepting a little bit of help when it matters. You should have heard the cheers.

Click through for some highlights from Tough Mudder Vermont, including some shots of Noah getting over Berlin Walls. View full post »

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Tough Mudder Minnesota 2013, technically held in Somerset, Wisconsin. But close enough to Minneapolis-St. Paul that we can fudge it. Cool venue, rolling hills and soybean fields. Hot, sunny, dusty as hell on Saturday, rainy for half the day on Sunday – always good when the weather decides to split the weekend. Also, the muddiest mud in recent mud memory. People were NASTY after Mud Mile. Enjoy the highlights.

Note to participants: I shoot for Tough Mudder so I can’t give/sell you photos. Sorry! But if you go to you can find thousands of shots from Marathon Foto.  View full post »

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Yep, I've got a photo on a Wheaties box

Did you eat your Wheaties this morning? If you did, maybe you noticed that they came out of a different-looking box. Wheaties cereal recently became a sponsor of Tough Mudder and this summer they released a Tough Mudder-branded box. Guess what lucky photographer has two thumbs and got to shoot the photos for it? This lucky photographer.

I’ve been sitting on writing about this for a few months, waiting for the new boxes to hit stores, and they finally have. Two million of them, actually! It’s surreal and funny and pretty damn cool – the Wheaties box is just such an iconic piece of Americana. For an athlete to be featured on a box is a shorthand for the height of fame and achievement. By sponsoring Tough Mudder, Wheaties are embracing the “casual athlete” trend that’s exploded with mud runs like TM. So this Wheaties box is a milestone – the first one to feature non-professional, non-famous athletes. Just regular people dominating an obstacle course.

How it went down: The shoot took place at a Tough Mudder event in Arizona back in January. My man Zack DeLaune filled in with event coverage while I worked with a designer for General Mills and a team of Tough Mudder participants that were running the whole course. We were shooting for a couple of design concepts but the main one was to incorporate Tough Mudder’s Everest quarter-pipe obstacle into the Wheaties logo on the box. Great idea, as this is an obstacle that really highlights the combination of individual effort and camaraderie that defines Tough Mudder.

One of the source photos

We shot quite a few of versions of this shot to give the General Mills designers a lot to work with. Some compositing and Photoshop, and we have our cereal box! 

A couple of days ago I walked into a grocery store in Minneapolis and finally saw my first box out in the wild. Of course I bought one. My box-cereal-eating days are long behind me (I was a Frosted Flakes kid), but these Wheaties are actually pretty good!


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