This weekend was the second Ontario Cup downhill which took place at the Heights of Horseshoe. This has been a legendary stop for the Ontario Cups and was even part of the Canada Cup circuit at one point in time. I won nationals and provincials there in my category the first year I raced. Eric Cseff, who became national champ there for the first time, built the original track. The buzz on the track at that time was all about a tiny log gap with a chicken line called “Eric’s Dilemma”. Guys from across the country, including Andrew Shandro, came to race this track. A lot has changed with respect to racing in Canada. With a great resort like Blue Mountain in the province I think it’s time for a national level event to come to town. The East Coast Open is sure to draw much needed attention our way.
Shane Joachim built the course again this year and succeeded in making another track guys were stoked on. When I asked Shane about the build he had this to say: “Most important to me is….Petey Appleton who lets me “do my own thing” without any question! We would not have that track if it was not for him letting me do my thing!!”. It was a fast, wide open track that had everyone on their toes. It was obvious who had been training and who had been watching Supercross on TV all winter like me. But honestly, this season of SX was not to be missed for anything. Conditions leading up to the race made for a nice tacky track that really only started to get dusty by the time the pros rolled out of the gate late on Sunday.
The buds are starting to come out in the city and I have already cut my lawn twice. Things are a little behind north of the city and I once again found myself shooting in a bare forest at high noon. Both days were beautiful though and everyone seemed to finally be comfortable in saying that the nice weather had arrived. Working in shorts is never a bad thing. In full sun, the black flies were just starting to wake so that gives us a couple of weeks before they are out in full force.
Saturday was a bit overcast and lighting was all over the place varying from harsh direct sun to complete cloud cover. It would have been a great day to shoot epic black and whites. I shot some with that in mind but stuck to colour for the rest. I tried a few spots using available light then eventually settled on shooting a berm everybody looked decent railing. As always, there are spots where the top guys look good, where it is possible to get a great shot, but 90% of the field will look less than impressive in the same locations. My goal is always to make everybody look good. Here are a few shots from Saturday.
The morning of the race, during practice, I shot up in the middle of the course. I knew this was where the action was and that this would be the racers last chance to push it and try their lines. I shot with available light because to light the two main lines would have been a major production and neither would look perfect. I think this location would have looked nice during the race, with the crowd there, but I still like the look of a clean background and the light was better in the morning. The shadows were harsh so I decided to try and catch riders in the shafts of light as they came through, using the shadows as leading lines and compositional elements.
For the race runs, I decided to shoot the same location I had last year. I knew everyone from beginner to pro would look good there. Last year there was a nice green backdrop but this year there was nothing but bare trees. There were some nice Simpsons clouds in the background though so I decided to make it look a bit more iconic by dropping the ambient by a few stops and burning in the riders with strobes. As I suspected, the crowds had gathered up top so I had nice clean shots for the whole race. I was even able to compose a nice landscape shot, which wasn’t possible last year. I really like how these turned out. They’ll make some pretty sick posters.
I normally don’t get into the racing itself as this is more of a photo report than a race report but Mike Hermanovsky won and I feel that deserves comment. He’s a good guy and this was a big win for him – his first. He is a big part of the scene and this is sure to keep the season interesting. I like all the guys – Mike, Rob, Sid, TR, Matt and I wish they could all win, but that’s not what racing is about. Stoked for Mike! He looked good in practice and I knew he had it when he charged by me on his race run. Congrats buddy!
Thanks, as always, to Pete, Lee, Greg, Kris, Dina and all the friendly staff at Sirbikealot Racing. Big props to Shane for building such a great course. Thanks also to Mike Ossterveld, Paul Evans, Taylor Rowlands, Jason Bayens, Markos, Monika Luebke and all the others who came out to help build. These courses are a lot of work to build and every bit of man power helps. Want to shape the community and have a say, that’s how ya do it. Like to also say thanks to the great course marshals like Nicky and Swatty. You guys are awesome!
Most of all though, thanks to my beautiful wife and daughter for understanding and supporting me to go shoot this even on their special day. I love you both and couldn’t do any of this without you.
All my images from the race are available here in the FastTimes online store. http://www.fasttimesinc.com/store/index.php?gnum=157
I know a LOT of you have been asking for a low res image price so you can buy files to use online and share with friends. I am happy to announce that I have added a $9.95 web res image. It will be exactly as the images are here in the blog. Enjoy guys!
I apologize for the huge logo on the images in the online store but because some people have tried to use them without my permission, I had no choice. I know it’s harder to see yourselves in some cases. I do go through each shot and I don’t post blinkers or awkward faces. These aren’t just batch processed and dumped online, I go through each shot. They are all tack sharp and will print up beautifully. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop me a line and I will be happy to help you with whatever you need. You can use the” Email to a Friend” button to send me the image(s) in question- use landry(at)fasttimesinc.com as the recipient’s email address. Just enter your questions in the notes.
Also wanted to add that there is a “standard image retouching” option available when you order an image. This is normally used for my portrait work but if there is something about an image you would like “Photoshopped” simply add this option and send me some instructions. A prime example would be removing a lone spectator in your shot such as this.
As always, comments are appreciated.