The Drive… to achieve, to compete, to win, many people endured that thought over three hours of racing on Saturday at the Maximum Adventure Go Natural Multisport event. As competitors cycle the 32Km leg from Akuna bay out to Westhead and back, then jump in a kayak and paddle 12km to Bobbin Head to only then have to run 9km thru bush trails before stopping. What drives these people? I saw all age groups and all fitness levels competing so it’s not just the elite that are out there. Is it personal achievement then that drives these people to suffer the wind, the sun, the blisters?
I believe it is all of the above, a big Kudos goes out to all the competitors, the organizers and to the National Parks for allowing the use of the pristine land and waterways of Ku-ring-gai national park. As always, I find it immensely satisfying to have the opportunity to capture these moments. It drives me to try and visualize, locate and capture images that resonate what the competitor is experiencing.
It no longer amazes me how many people compete at these events, this was a smaller event with 400 people, thats 400 bikes, 400 kayaks and 800 shoes. The event would surely be even bigger if not restricted by the parks to limit wear and tear on courses. But what my mind does now lean to is what drives these people doing these events? I grew up in an outdoors / active lifestyle so I understand but everywhere around us in the news we are apparently becoming a more and more lethargic society…… well just sign up and come out to one of Maximum Adventures events and see how untrue that appears to be.
If you were a competior out there on the weekend, jump over to the gallery and search your competitor number to locate any images that you have been tagged in. Otherwise, browse away as many competitor numbers were not visible making identification impossible.
Manly Warringah Cycling Cycling and MWMTB clubs ran their fourth round of the CX winter series on Saturday, only thing lacking….. winter weather. The CX series is growing in popularity as the numbers relfected this. There was approximately 30 riders in the final prestige CX only race where previous series only had around 40 people total for all races. Also growing in number were the brands and quality of proper CX bikes being used, three competitors all showed up with new Ridley CX bikes. Brands now seen on course are Giant, Ridley, Cannondale, Trek, Yeti, Boardman, Kinesis, Lynskey and Scott.
Some track changes have also made for a very tight winding course with a great mixture of terrian, congrats to Rob for the new layout, love it. With the new layout it has given me some new ideas for shots and I will be trying to create something different over the next two rounds. If the riders that are competing see anything they like, let me know, as I am happy to try and push the envelope and create something other than the traditional CX image. I have some great ideas that I will be saving for the two rounds during the national series.
As for this week, some harsh sunlight again proved challenging and rather than trying to balance out these harsh lighting conditions I have been trying to shoot and edit images to include this. Bright highlights, high contrast, desaturated colours are the result and some may like it or some will not, let me know your thoughts.
I have also spoken to some competitors about providing prints of any images from these races and had some feedback, if anyone would like to provide further thoughts love to hear them either by reply or email. Great racing again fellas, wish I was able to join you out there, looks like way too much fun.
Even though this was suppose to be the first round of a winter series the weather was far from winter like. The mid-afternoon start meant that the racers had some hot work to do if they wanted a win. Great racing as usual with expanded racing categories with the CX-only race run last.
MWCC CX WinterSeries R1
As for the images, the hard bright sun can always be challenging but as long as you keep your eye and creativity open you can find images that work. The biggest trick is to try and avoid the harsh light and use different angles so that the light is not flat and uninteresting. Flash can be used to fill in backlit subjects or try to balance out high contrast shots but trying to do to much with flash will drain batteries quickly and long recycle times between shots causing you to miss shots.
MWCC CX WinterSeries R1
Again, all images are available to competitors for sale thru online purchasing by visiting the gallery from the day. I have also decided to start bringing some printed images to subsequent rounds for purchase at the event for people who don’t have access to a good quality printer. Contact me if you would like to purchase and have me print out for the next round or keep an eye out for these near the registration booth.
Today Manly Warringah Cycling Club held there final round of their cyclocross racing series. A great turnout considering the weather was far from favourable. Speaking to Rob Parbery from MWMTB club before the race, it was decided to remove the dreaded mud pit from the course to allow more racing rather than mud collecting, good choice in hindsight.
The turnouts for these events has been really impressive and today was no different. Plenty of families out to watch mum or dad race and even have a run down the track themselves. Great to see so many smiling kids outside playing rather than stuck at home in front of the TV or computer.
As for the photography, it was a very challenging day. When shooting at bigger events I usually setup in a location and stay put for the duration or in the 24hour events only move around every 3 hours or so. Today was challenging as I wanted to catch more editorial images and get a feel for the whole event. This meant setting up new shots every 15mins or so and changing lenses which is difficult while trying to hold or stay under an umbrella. At one point the clouds rolled in so thick it was almost black in the background of shots. The flashes had to be turned right down to minimize the “deer in the headlights” look. The Nikon D3s didn’t even notice the soaking it took, I was however, a little concerned about the PocketWizard TT1 and AC3 being tolerant of so much wet stuff. Great gear though, all is good.
So as everyone huddled around the marquee and cheared on the last few competitors and the lighting strikes got louder, the first MWCC and MWMTB cyclocross series came to an end. The club plans to run this event on a monthly basis starting in a few months time. I am sure they will have even better turn outs as cycclocross popularity grows and more and more people hear of the event. Look forward to shooting the coming races over 2012.
Sorry everyone who I told this would come a day or two after event, but internet connection has been acting up.
On Saturday January 7, the Warringah CC put on round 3 of their cyclocross racing series and I was expecting alot of chilled out, slightly plump and entertaining racing, especially after only being one week after the holiday festivities. I was wrong, people were keen to race and race hard. Maybe everyone had recharged their batteries and the legs were fresh and wanted to start the new year off with a win. Either way the racing was very entertaining. More riders in the main event and more CX bikes popping out of the wood-works.
Cyclocross Round 3
This week I didn’t have a buddy as my lighting assistant so just stuck to only two places and get some good shots. It proved a little more difficult this week as the sun was out and blasting the riders with harsh highlights and darks shadows. Two off camera Nikon flashes help level out this lighting and produced some good results but took alot of test shots to get the exposures right. This first photo was in amongst the trees and placement of the flashes was critical, I had moved them probably about 4x before I found a suitable and safe position. Amazing how exact the lighting needs to be sometimes, experimenting keeps coming up with new ideas and looks.
Cyclocross Round 3
The next shot was just available light and shooting direct towards the sun putting a nice rim light around the rider and creating a shadow in front. This can be really hit and miss stuff but can sometimes really create a great image. I find shooting with spot metering to help but not always as a competitor in complete black gear compared to white will dramatically change the exposure. Sometimes good sometimes not.
Cyclocross Round 3
This last image worked but not as I had hoped. Too much sun in a totally open area and reflecting off the mud. Will try again if different weather conditions or in another location/situation.
Cyclocross Round 3
Either way, this event is awesome fun and such a great location. Great mixture of terrain and surfaces, another wipeout on the gravel corner, makes it good to watch. To the boys at MWCC and MWMTB good work, keep it up and I will spread the word. Great racing guys, check out the gallery and see if you were snapped and again all pics available for purchase thru site.
I was out today testing some new gear, Pocketwizard’s Mini TT1, Flex TT5 and AC3 Zone Controller. These radio triggers have replaced my eBay radio triggers and have alot more coverage, features and reliability but do have a price to match. I decided a trip out to Manly Dam was a good testing ground to see how they worked. I must say that I am impressed and the money was definitely worth it. Not only am I able to shoot TTL now over any usable distance but I have complete power control over different flashes in different groups. Great for two fill flashes used in a fill-flash and rim light setup.
The AC3 Zone Controller allowed me to dial power levels without having to keep moving back and forth to the flashes which were stuck in the bushes off to the sides of the track. Big time saver. My first experience is that TTL will chew thru my batteries alot quicker but there is a Manual mode which should extend this period. More testing to do.
As many of the riders were out enjoying the cooler weather and doing multiple laps of the dam, they started to stop and ask me what I was shooting for and where the images could be found. Well guys, you can browse the gallery and if you want to purchase any I have made them very affordable.
Thanks and I will be posting more about these new toys as I test them out in different scenarios. Happy shooting.
As a regular practice I like to visit to a local newsagent and survey what types of work is being achieved by photographers with similar interests. Usually this means grabbing one of the “outdoor lifestyle” or “adventure racing” style of magazines and seeing what images are being used for commercial use and what event images are popular. All in all, this practice is used to inspire me with new ideas and how I can try and come up with a new look or perspective on capturing the same action but in a different way.
With great surprise, I picked up the latest edition of Outer Edge magazine and as I flipped the pages I spotted some imagery that looked familiar. As mentioned before, I have been working for Aurora Images at events over the last four months and was very excited to see some images from the Mont 24 MTB race which was held in Canberra on April 9th and 10th.
I am, as some of you know, an ex-cyclist who use to road race. Now I admit, I was a virgin to such a spectacle these events offer as the article confesses. 24-hour MTB racing is huge in Australia now and popular from the like of the pros to your weekend warriors justing wanting to get out for the weekend. Just the sheer numbers prove it, 2856 competitors alone at this event.
So if you, like me, want some inspiration pickup a copy of Outer Edge and flip to page 58 and sit back in your favourite chair and look over the selection of images that shows just how much fun can be had whether it be hammering a muddy corner perfectly, raising your arms as race leader, or weaving thru the trees at last light with only a helmet light to guide you.
A fellow photographer friend of mine knows some really good triathletes and has been asked to take some photos of them before. So on Sunday we couldn’t resist and took the opportunity to try out some different shots than what you would normally see from a triathlon race. Now it helps, that this was a training session and not an official “race” as normally you cannot drive your vehicle on the same course the riders are on. We wanted to achieve something different and avoid that “cat in the headlights” sort of image and capture a bit of what the triathletes are feeling; the heat, the wind, the pain. In some ways, I think we achieved just that, some of my photos were just painful and some were hot, but that is what trying new stuff is all about; ideas, incorrect exposures, even failure with the odd image that is just magic.
I took some of these ideas a bit further in post-processing. I played with the either loved or hated vignette, desaturation, cross-processing, black and white and found some new looks for me that I will try out some more and possible perfect or totally throw out. The real important thing here is that by trying out different techniques you can keep your photography fresh and your work unique. There’s no way of telling when you might just stumple upon the next new look that everyone will be trying to copy.
Please feel free to put in your input, love to hear your comments and even see your work to discuss how some shots were achieve. Drop me a link or website address in the comments.
To the gang at PB3 well done and great training session on such a hot day
Well this weeks post is something a little different. I am indoors this time at a bicycle workshop in Brookvale where I have decided to shoot some high-end bikes for some product photography. Now some of you know I use to race road bikes and still love riding when time permits, so what better product to shoot. Seeing that the cycling has grown so much in Australia since I stopped racing it was easy to find some samples of bikes that got my heart racing.
But back to the photography. As I have just finished a fantastic lighting course at the Australian Centre of Photography, www.acp.org.au in Paddington lead by the experienced and funny man Geoff McGeachin. I recently purchased some light modifiers and stands to use my Nikon speedlights in and try out some of the newly gained skills. Now i have used flash outdoors with some success at events but shooting indoors and stationary objects should be easy… Well, light is a key and tricky. I was shooting with flash only so no modeling lights that you would normally find in studio tungsten mono-lights. But with some trial and error and creative thinking some great results can be achieved.
My buddy Jason Tsui , www.jasontsui.com joined me as well and we came up with some very pleasing compositions but definitely will be doing this again as we hit a few snags along the way. Space was the main issue as was size of backgrounds. I have been shooting some small objects up to recently and when you are then required to shoot larger you quickly need a space that will accommodate this, we have more ideas for next time to fix this. As for shooting this subject with the large studio lights, we had more than enough light with the softboxes designed for strobists which I purchased at Dragon Image. I will do a review of these products in the future after I have put them thru some more work and can give a thumbs up or thumbs down, check back for that.
As for the compositions, we discussed a bit as to what really catches your eye about a bike, is it the components, the engineering / design of the frame or just the colour scheme of the bike. Most of the lighting tried on the night was from side on to create a mood or shape to the bike. This proved a little difficult as the bike is so thin the light just wrapped around it and gave pretty even light if too high a flash power used. My preferred point of view was definitely side on, but maybe a future shoot will open up new ideas and I will find something better.
Well enough for now. The image above links to the gallery on my image archive, their promises to be more to come as I still have many creative ideas that need to be flushed out of the system so to say. Hope you enjoy them and please comments are very welcome. I am always looking for other photographers in the Sydney area to join up with or have join me to shoot anything, especially if it has any link to enjoying an outdoor lifestyle.