This weekend I made my way to Kelso for the third stop in the Ontario Cup Downhill series. This is the same location as the first race I photographed earlier this year but on a different track. Shane Joachim headed up another great build day and made some major improvements to the track. Everyone seemed pleased and the turn out was good.
I made my way up on Saturday to get a lay of the land and eyeball the new sections for myself. All these Ocup races are as challenging to shoot as they are to ride. There aren’t many locations on the track where everyone will look good. Like last year, there is a great rock section but it has numerous lines and It’s not something I can cover with one lighting setup. I knew I could have made some nice exposures on one of the lines but I also knew the payoff would be that the racers who chose one of the other two lines would not get a shot. I found a few nice areas last year but thought I would try something different this year. I shot all day Saturday but was plagued by a nagging issue with my strobes that caused some inconsistent lighting. I unfortunately spent most of my day troubleshooting it but still got some nice shots in one of the new sections. Photography is often about problem solving.
On Sunday I was fairly confident I had my strobe issues sorted but decided to try my luck in the open. I noticed the light was nice while walking down the hill and one of the ski jumps caught my eye. I looked long and hard at this jump last year but opted not to shoot it. I’m glad I took another look at it this year and am pretty stoked on the shots I got from there. It was a jump that everyone looked decent hitting. There was a lot of dust but luckily there was a nice breeze as well which helped clear the air between riders. If you were second or third down in a train, forget it though. I was initially only going to stay for a few frames and move to my next spot but I could see riders going for it and didn’t want to let anyone down. I’m pretty sure I got one of everyone there. These are some of the ones that caught my eye while getting the images ready for my online store.
For the the race itself, I decided to try a location I captured last year but incorporate the new features from this year. My strobes worked better and I think I solved the issue from Saturday. Unfortunately the location I chose had me extremely close to the stream and I was getting sprayed with each passing rider. I was able to get my shot and cover my lens easily enough but one of my strobes was taking the brunt of the spray. I managed to dry it off and get back shooting fairly quickly but it caused me to miss a few runs, sorry guys.
I had a fun time pulling frames but, as always, the best part was seeing everyone. I brought some prints for customers, and while I like seeing people’s comments online, nothing beats seeing their reaction in person. It’s why I do this, chicken soup for the soul. You really can’t appreciate how good these shots can look until you see them printed on some beautiful paper stock. Thanks to everyone who came up and said, “hi” and offered their support. You guys rock!
Thanks, as always, to Pete, Lee, Greg, Kris, Dina and all the friendly staff at Sirbikealot Racing. Big props to Shane for building another great course. Like to also say thanks to Nicky who keeps everybody safe on course. She keeps things flowing much better than they did when I raced. No one puts Nicky in a corner!
Most of all though, thanks to my beautiful wife and daughter for understanding and supporting me to go shoot this on yet another big family day, fathers day. Everyday is fathers day with you guys in my life.
All my images from the race are available here in the FastTimes online store. http://www.fasttimesinc.com/store/index.php?gnum=164