Monday, September 18, 2006

Unfortunately I had to withdraw after only 200 miles of the ADK 540. So I was forced to feed my cycling monkey by getting some photos.

Shooting a RAAM style race is really different then anything I've tried before. It's the exact opposite of shooting criteriums. At crits you have endless opportunities, but are very limited with regard to settings, angles and backgrounds. At the ADK there were limited photo opps but endless choices with regard to backdrops, settings and angles. With only 6-8 riders out on a 136 mile loop at any one time, just finding them can be a trek. Then catching them in a "nice" spot was the challenge. I drove the entire course backwards more than once looking for riders while constantly scanning the areas for nice shots. Once I'd locate the rider, I'd find a good setup, then wait for them hoping the lighting would hold out, and there wouldn't be any other traffic or distrations in the shot. There was many nice shots to be had, but most of the time there wasn't a place to pull off the road to get to them, or a rider close enough to sit and wait for.

Race winner Brett Walker was just starting the last climb. He'd already ridden 535 miles. I took a series of shots as he rode up the hill. The clouds kept the back lighting to a minimum, but again other traffic was a distraction.

Cropped and "Shopped" the final image. Nice to have the "remove unwanted vehicle" button. Brett rode a near perfect race to beat the course record by 50 minutes.

A bit later and further on up the same hill the distant mountains offered some nice possibilities.

The view is looking west, into the setting sun, so backlighting was going to be vicious - unless the rider came into view just as the sun went down........ and she did. Women's race winner Jennifer Krebs coming up the last hill finishing her 3rd 136 mile lap, riding next to a secondary support vehicle talking about a turkey sandwich.

The final cropped and Shopped image. I was shooting long - ~180mm fl, to bring the distant mountains in closer. Small aperture for a deep field. The mountains in the final almost seem painted, I like the effect. Gotta love shooting in the soft twilight.

A few moments later she was starting the nice 2 mile downhill into Ticonderoga. I was trying to get her "floating" on the road reflection as it blends into the setting sky. Looking at it now I see the only way I couldn't gotten the angle for the effect was if she was riding in the middle of the wrong lane. Oh well.

To get to the final cropped image I "Shopped" out the power lines, and the vehicle. Also brightened up the subject a bit for emphasis. No color correction was used. I liked the hue on the sky just the way it was.

As the sun sets slowly in the west, I bid you adieu


Monday, September 11, 2006

Hilbert #2 Photos

Gallery here

When you think of riding Hilbert, 2 things come to mind.

The nice sections of whoopdedoos,

and the bomb craters - those big clay mounds that are wicked hard to carry any speed through. Like riding a bucking bronco in slow motion. Tried to capture the essence of those craters in some photos, but not sure I quite got it.

The sun was strong and gave some nice texture shining through the leaves.

Still have to work on fine tuning the flash settings. The light from the flash bounces of jerseys giving a weird hue to some folks faces.

Great riding out there by everyone.



Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hilbert #2

Photos are in post production and should all be up be Tuesday morning.

A sneak peek

This photo proves 1 thing -

Even an injured dog does tricks when you throw him a bone.

Air Dan, silky smooth as usual


Thursday, September 07, 2006

7Springs photos are now up.

There are 7 Galleries links are here.

Start photos -

Free for the taking, I almost missed the start, having left the key for my roof rack bike lock down in Somerset. Couldn't get my Rig off the roof of the car. Had to run back into town quick. Got back at the campsite @ 11:55. Foggy shots.

Lap 1 - Start and Last Climb

Photos of the racers coming back around the lake. The rain/fog gives a grainy look. Just couldn't wipe the lense off enough.

Went back to the pits to set up the Rig with all I needed, then rode down the course backwards to meet the race.
Photos at the "base" of the big climb. Not the real base as the climbing began 3 miles back. Just the base of the steep stuff. Almost missed the first 2 - Tinker and the DirtyHarry's guy on the SS (Rig!:-)). Luckily had my trusty point and shoot camera to get them before theu got away.
Lots of good closeups of people deep in the climbing mode. Some nice shots of psople glancing up at the "monster" as they rounded the corner.

Rock Garden

Kept riding the course backwards to the infamous lower rock garden. Lighting was harsh to non-exisistent. Got the angle and flash setting dialed in after a while. One dude blamed me for making him crash. (NOT the guy in the B&W photo below). Actually the dude went down before he saw me, then again as he tried to ride down looking at me. He gave me a wicked tongue lashing full of 4 letter words. "You shouldn't effin be here on this effin' downhill, you're going eff people all up!" Sorry guy, only you. I felt bad he fell, and was glad he didn't get hurt too bad. He should've been at Big Bear 2 years ago where drunken spectators lined the muddiest rock gardens towards the end cheering you on and hoping you'd splat. Dude shoulda walked the garden. His pictures are in the trash.

About 4-5 riders later a guy (the featured photo in the gallery) flies down at warp speed (WAY faster than anyone), says hi, then says "thanks", in mid air as he hears the shutter while I get the picture of him airring it out off the nasty slanted slimey rock. Two extremes - in riding skills AND gratitude.

Rock Garden to the Aid Station -

Kept riding backward all the way to the bottom of the course. Lighting was here and there. Got some nice shots of the new single track section that was just a peanut butter fest. The uphill packed your tires and bike with pounds of mud, then you went down the hill on pure balance. Zero traction.
My camera battery was almost out, and I left the spare up at the pit. DOH! Rode up the service road which joins the course after the garden, before the hill. Climbed up to 1/2 way then stopped to get more photos - HAH - Stopped cause I was in oxygen debt grunting the Rig up that hill with all that camera gear. The first photos are a bit blurry the lense was fogged with sweat. Was carrying the camera around my neck and inside my jacket.

Night to Early Morning -

Wanted to get many more night shots, but the fog was IMPOSSIBLE. Camera didn;t know what to focus on. FLash just bounced back at ya.

Morning Climb -

The sun came out very briefly and got some shots with a sweet background as folks crested the steep part of the last climb. It's easy with nice light.

Morning Around Lake -

Just a few shots in nice light with a crazy sky.

Last Lap Top of the Hill -

Back by the pits as we were tearing down. As I'm taking his picture a racer says - "You gotta get a shot of the girl behind me." I did. Sweet. the Live Dirty Girls ride with style and panache, we need more of 'em. Funny - no girl ever lifted her skirt for me during a road race! I love mountain biking.

Hope ya'll enjoy 'em.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Welcome to the Loves2Ride Photo blog.

Look here for info about photos being posted, info about shooting them, frustrations about poor light and slow lenses, and all associated bunk.

At 7Springs I had the Rig pigged out in photo mode. It worked good. A back seatpost rack to hold a tripod and little stool. A bar bag full of flash batteries, lots of baggies, dry towels for the lenses, and the other stuff you'd carry in you seat bag like multitool, tubes , CO2's etc.

This Tamrac bag worked great for the still camera, 2 lenses, extra 2Gig memory chip, and a video camera. You can whip this bag around your waist without taking it off - it gives quick access to all your stuff.