Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bike Jam

The kids and adult racers at Saturday's Bike Jam were incredible.  I shot about 1,700 images, and posted a few hundred to the web.  Light was fine -- bright, sunny and contrasty.  I pushed ISO to 800 for the later races, which gave good depth (e.g., F8+ @ 1/1250).  The Canon 5D handles high ISO very well; it's tough to see different image quality from ISO 400 to 800.

My friend and favorite bike photographer -- il miglior fabbro -- Kevin Dillard was at the Jam, so we coughed-it-up a bit.  I did a number of shots of photographers at the race.  I think these guys and gals are sometimes the odd appendages that really inform us about what is going on.  Not unusual for a 75-degree sunny day athletic event, there were a lot of gorgeous folks about.  And some canines.  So you'll find them in the mix of spandex and sweat.  Also, some blue sky American flag images.  Memorial Day weekend 2008.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Can-Am U19 Challenge

The Can-Am U19 Challenge (organized by Skylands Cycling) is consistently the best all-around  junior bicycling race on the East coast.  2008 marked NCVC Juniors' fourth consecutive year at Can-Am.  We brought seven young men to the three event omnium -- an uphill mountain time trial, a ballpark criterium, and a fairgrounds circuit race.  All very beautiful venues -- and, for once in quite a few races this season, the weather was perfect.  A little rain closed Sunday's circuit event, but that was good against lofty expectations.  The guys did great -- several podiums, and a team trophy.  My 17 year-old pushed to a mid-race tie for first place overall (GC -- general classification), but was marked, blocked and faded to a very respectable top-ten GC result.  His powerful teammate grabbed GC 2nd in the 17-18 year class.  Next year, when both boys will be racing age 18, is quite promising.  Same story for our 15 year-old hot shots.

The photography was pretty good.  950 images; posted 210+ to website.  (Satisfactory yield was pretty high -- near 40% -- but didn't post many shots with folks I didn't know.)

Stuck ISO at 800 except for in the best light where I shot 400.  This let me work at 1/1250 and F8 +/- ... The cycling photography sweet spot for the 70-200 F4L seems to be F8 -- sharp and reasonable depth for the action.  Bicycling seems to require about 1/1250 if you're not panning.  I adjusted ISO to be near this sweet spot for action ... crowd/candid stuff generally gets about 1/320 ... higher if I want more bokeh.  Got a couple nice race shots at about 1/320 while panning.

Lots of kids racing bikes, a number of good crowd (and friend) shots, and a couple odd dog and bug images.  Enjoy.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Poolesville Road Race

NCVC's Poolesville Road Race is always epic: 4-to-7 ten mile laps (depending on category) on country roads, with a one mile dirt stretch along the Potomac River. The dirt is often sketchy, with gravel spots and potholes. One dirt section got about covered with water-bottles shook loose. About 100 volunteers required for the event. I worked morning shift as lead driver for the Women's Pro/1/2/3 race. In afternoon, I shot some pictures. Good light, nice contrast, ISO 400, 1/1250 shutter speed, better quality. About 60 posted to web. Take was low because about mid-afternoon I got called to EMT duty. A junior went down hard, (briefly) unconscious. I followed his care to the ER that night, where CAT scans showed normal. While paid EMT squad was busy with this patient, I treated others at finish area. Long day.