Yesterday I got out to shoot the New Year’s Cross race down by lake Ontario. I have always meant to shoot more of this but never have. It fits in well with the winding down of the regular mountain bike season which means I don’t have to juggle any other jobs, or more importantly, rides, to shoot it. There have been a few this fall but other work has prevented me from attending. I had this event earmarked on my calendar as the location was very close to me. The forecast called for wet snow which sounded like what I was after for cyclocross images.
I am still in the infatuation stage with my new 70-200mm VR II so it doesn’t take much to get me out shooting. The lens continues to impress me and I am very happy I made the switch from the VR I. Shooting races is a little different than dedicated shoots in that you have to move quickly and adapt to rapidly changing conditions. You’re not in control of your subject either. For studio and dedicated shoots I am on full manual 99.9% of the time. This simply isn’t practical for races and events however so you need to start trusting your camera’s meter and use some of it’s automated settings. Knowing what your camera’s meter is doing and how to use it to get the exposure you’re after is the key. You need to find a starting place that you can work from. Having a camera like the D3 helps facilitate this with incredible ISO range. I shot most of the day in Auto ISO at 1/1000 - f 5.6. Adjusting exposure with EV compensation at my finger tips. ISO ranged between 1200 – 6400, which is where I told the camera to cap off at.
All in all the day was a success even though the snow never came, only rain. I managed to keep my lens free of rain drops which is the only real issue with shooting in the rain. It’s days like this that remind me why I am a Nikon shooter – trust in knowing your gear is sealed and protected against the elements. The only real disappointment for me was the race course itself. I was happy with the location and overall scenery but there were no real hills to speak of or barricades. Being my first cross shoot I was really looking for that quintessential shot of the bike over the shoulder. Here are some shots from the day, enjoy!