Today I got out to shoot the Ontario Cup downhill race at Kelso. The race is organized by Peter Appleton of Sirbikealot Racing. The forecast was calling for rain and thunderstorms but I had made up my mind to go anyway. Inclement weather can make for great light. I’m used to shooting in bad weather and have complete confidence in my Nikon”s weather-sealing. I have proper rain gear for all my other equipment as well. At the end of the day, after only a few drops of rain fell, the only challenge was the scorching sun and humidity. Oh, and the huge tree that came crashing down on the course due to high winds. You know, typical stuff.
Summer is my busiest season and I am pretty much booked until the snow flies. On any given weekend I have the option to shoot 4-5 events. On the rare days I am not already contracted, I elect to shoot what is the most profitable such as running, moto or a triathlon. I base my decision on the prospect of selling shots from that event, either to publications, participants or sponsors. My decision to shoot Kelso, or any other O-Cup for that matter, is based on my love for the sport and my desire to support the scene. Other than the parents of the kids racing and the event organizer, no one is interested in shots from an O-Cup. I go because I really enjoy the vibe and seeing familiar faces. I raced there over a decade ago and enjoy coming back as a photographer.
I got to the venue early so I could park in the expo area. I have a pile of gear and it really helps to be close to the car. I only had about 30min between practice and the race to get all my gear repacked and charged. I hiked up the course and found a few good locations. When shooting a race, I don’t change locations often. There is a difference between covering a race from a photo-journalistic standpoint and shooting a race as an event, where your goal is to capture as many riders as possible. I was doing the latter today. Once I have my lighting setup I shoot there until I think I have a good shot of everyone before I move on. It’s easy enough to saunter around when you are shooting available light but it’s a whole other matter when you need to position strobes. It is also challenging to find a location on the course that will be flattering to a beginner rider as much as it would a pro. A pro will typical look stylish on the simplest feature whereas a beginner can look awkward on just about anything. I do my best to make people look good. Today I focused on three spots that I thought showed different aspects of the course. Here is a sampling of today’s shots.
All my shots from today are available in the FastTimes online store here: http://fasttimesinc.com/store/index.php?gnum=133
If you want to have a professional photographer come to the races, please help support me by purchasing some prints. You also have the option to purchase the file as a high-res download if you prefer.
Full Results available at Sirbikealot Racing. See you at the races!