The Ontario Cup downhill Series wrapped up this weekend with the Provincial Championships at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ontario. This has been another great year of downhill racing in the province and the team at Sirbikealot Racing has done an amazing job organizing and promoting the series. Holding events at a world class destination like Blue really helps make these events more than just a race.
I got up to Blue on Friday afternoon to get settled in and check out the course. It was very similar to the East Coast Open track but with a few cool additions. Later in the evening, I got caught up on office work and dialed for the following day. There was a new firmware update announced for my Pocket Wizards and, despite my better judgment, I installed it before the race. I don’t normally do anything like this before a shoot and reserve such upgrades for a time when I can get a few test sessions in before it matters. Fortunately, everything went smoothly and I had fun testing the new features on Saturday. I also had a complete backup system should things have gone haywire.
On Saturday morning I got a lift to the top from Graeme and started to make my way down the course. I was looking for different angles and to showcase the newer sections of the course. My goal was, and always is, to make Ontario downhill look as epic as a World Cup, all while ensuring I get my clients what they need. The light and overall conditions were decent for most of the day with only a bit of precipitation late in the afternoon. Lighting was challenging however and there was never really enough quality, available light to use exclusively. As a result, all of these images are artificially lit, with the exception of one. My vision was to make the light look as natural as possible while still defining my subjects. I had some really cool ideas I wanted to execute this weekend – some happened, others will have to live another day. I simply ran out of time. One of the things I wanted to try this weekend was to get simultaneous images of a rider using a remote camera. You can see an example below in the images of Mikel Schenk. Lighting a scene such that it looks good from multiple angles, camera bodies, exposures and lenses is tricky business! The forecast for Sunday didn’t look promising and I knew there was a real chance that Saturday was going to be my only day to capture the action. It was a fun day on the hill and I’m stoked on the shots I got.
The rain came in overnight and unfortunately made for a treacherous track on race day. I had arranged for a lift up and met Graeme at 9:00 AM on the south side. Even though I am always prepared to shoot in the rain, we both came to the conclusion that the images wouldn’t be what we were after. I waited around for a bit but once the decision was made to change tracks, I decided to call it a day. The racing went on and everyone stayed positive. It’s been a great season and I look forward to seeing you all in 2012!
Huge thanks to Pete, Lee, Greg, Kris, Nicky, Dina and all the team at Sirbikealot for the great times this summer. Thanks also to Graeme, Pete, Dak, Erika, Kevin and the incredible staff at Blue Mountain. You guys all rock!