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Athlete: Renata Chlumska

September 14th, 2006

SEPTEMBER 13, 2006 – WARM BEACH, WA While many of my days begin with my slippers, a cup of coffee, and checking my email, this one was different. And quite nice. Sweden called, there was an athlete finishing a trip around the circumference of the lower 48. She did it by bike and kayak. Damn.

It was Wednesday and Nina, the client, didn’t know much beyond the suggestion that Friday would be a good day to photograph the athlete’s return to Seattle after some 430 days of travel. It was the end of the day for her but mine was just starting.

A few web searches, a couple of phone calls, and I was talking with the athlete, Renata Chlumska, as she rode the last few miles before unhitching her kayak from her bike for the final leg of trip. I gathered my gear, throwing a couple strobes and stands in for good measure, and was out the door with a peanut butter and jelly in hand.

An hour and a half later I was shaking hands with an unassuming, attractive, hard-woman and the documentary film maker who was with her for the final stretch.

That night I uploaded a web gallery, the next day Sweden showed me the mock-ups. I had nailed it: a cover and a spread and a mug shot, just as Nina asked for. Within 24 hours of her phone call she had images to work with, in 48 she had her finals–all of it before she thought I’d even be making my first images of Renata. That makes me feel good.

And in the end? I met someone who had an idea and the guts to follow it. I mean, would you or I even *think* to circumnavigate the lower 48? Doubtful. So hats off to Renata, a hard-woman for sure.

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