Even though I primarily shoot DH and DJ, my roots are in XC. More trail riding really, but I like the idea of earning my descents. You’d be hard pressed to find an epic DH in Ontario but I ride a pile of epic trail all summer long.
Today was the second installment of the Plastiglas Ontario Cup cross country series which is organized by the fine folks at Chico Racing. Sean and Adam Ruppel are the brains, blood, sweat and tears behind most of the great cycling events in Ontario. They are the promoters of the 24 hour Summer Solstice and Crank the Shield, just to name a few. They have been running races since back when I raced and hopefully will for a long time to come. I have shot a few of their races and also produced a Ride Guide segment for them. They are good guys who are well known and respected in the cycling community. I was pretty excited to get out and shoot some XC at one of their events today. I got a Tweet from @EmilyBatty saying that she was going to race which was a bonus. She is on fire this season! It’s great to see her still supporting local events such as this.
Snow! That’s what I had to deal with today. Ok, It didn’t really snow that much but it was cold enough to make for a rough day of shooting. Even though I have a carbon fiber tripod, most of my lenses and light stands are aluminum. Let me tell ya, they transfer the cold right to your bones. Leaving balmy Toronto in relatively “decent” weather I didn’t prepare as well as I should have. Proper gloves would have gone a long way today. I didn’t end up wearing the pair I had because they hampered my dexterity. I needed to perform the finger gymnastics that is action sports photography and they were cramping my style. Conditions were good for shooting most of the day but went to hell for the elites – typical!
I shot most of the day using strobes, with the exception of the morning when I busted out the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 and shot available light. Such a an impressive lens. You can see how beautifully it renders the out of focus portions of the image below. Selective focus and shallow depth of field are great ways to isolate your subject. It’s a monster though! Weighing in at 10.2 lbs, it rounded off my camera bag’s weight at a comfy 65lbs. I had a full light stand bag as well. Good times! I wouldn’t have it any other way though. I saw a few guys out there shooting paparazzi style with on-camera flash. Personally, I find that look too brash. It separates the viewer from the environment, limits composition and the ability to control the quality and direction of light. It’s a lot easier, from a photographer’s standpoint, but it’s pretty much point and shoot, which I don’t do. While I love and appreciate the freedom this allows you, the ultimate price is mediocre images – something I cannot afford. The easy way is rarely the best way when it comes to photography. Simple perhaps, but not easy. These are certainly not the kind of image I would appreciate being sold and are therefore not the kind of images I feel comfortable putting my name on and selling. If a person is selling their images, they are by definition a professional. Professional’s shouldn’t sell point and shoot images. Here are a few of my shots from today.
All my images from the race are available here in the FastTimes online store. http://fasttimesinc.com/store/index.php?gnum=134
Thanks to Sean, Adam and the great team at Chico Racing. Thanks also to all the great racers for coming out and racing despite the elements!