Sports Photographer: Mountain Bike Racing at Bear Creek

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

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After last year, I knew the Mid-Atlantic Super Series at Bear Creek Mountain Resort wasn’t to be missed: lots of people come out for the final race on a tough course, and the resort serves up hot BBQ and cold beer on the deck afterward!

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Rain and Racing at the Velodrome

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

I got a second chance to catch some track racing at the velodrome in Trexlertown after rain postponed Friday night’s race to Saturday. Though we’d soon find out the rain wasn’t quite done yet:

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Grab Some Popcorn

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

I wasn’t thrilled with the stills I got shooting the On the Bike series, so I took some inspiration from Chase Jarvis and threw all 128 frames into a video:

My video skills are pretty lacking, though I suppose I could just tell you the abrupt ending is a nod to the Sopranos. I exported the photos as 480px JPGs from Aperture, added a last frame with credits, and loaded the image sequence into QuickTime Pro.

Finding the music was an interesting exercise; I went looking for music licensed under Creative Commons and found Jamendo. A few songs by Convey had good strong openings; I settled on a 12-second clip from View from Above.

Evolution

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

img 7895I had a blast shooting the Summer Showdown mountain bike race at Bear Creek this weekend. Not only were the riders doing a great job on a tough course, but I was really hitting my stride with Strobist sports lighting. It’s been a nice evolution from basic motion freeze with a manual flash at the Rally in the Valley, to ETTL flash and some motion effects at On the Rocks, to off-camera flash with gels, motion, and multiple positions at Bear Creek.

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I’m a Dangerous Man

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

At least according to CDC research:

More people are hurt snowboarding than any other outdoor activity, accounting for a quarter of emergency room visits, according to the first national study to estimate recreational injuries. Nearly 26 percent of the injures were from snowboarding followed by sledding (11 percent); hiking (6 percent); mountain biking, personal watercraft, water skiing or tubing (4 percent); fishing (3 percent) and swimming (2 percent).

I’ve taken plenty of lumps biking and boarding, but the worst I’ve racked up was a few stitches on the bike. As for broken bones, my only fracture was a collarbone in a game of flag football ;)

Singlespeed 29er

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Big wheelsAfter test riding a singlespeed 29er last year, I knew one was my next bike, but it took until now to put one together. Since the price and weight points of off-the-shelf and bike store custom jobs weren’t what I wanted, the project became a custom build.

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Rally in the Vally Photo Notes

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

img 8073I had a blast photographing the 2008 Rally in the Valley last weekend; mountain biking gatherings are always fun, and so is capturing them in photos.

Preparation was easy for this one since I’ve volunteered at the event before and ridden the location many times. A test ride with all my gear in the backpack was enough to convince me I wanted to do minimal shuffling while loaded down like a sherpa, so I picked a few spots within a mile of the start off the main trail.

img 8104Another useful activity was making up signs; one saying “Smile! Photographer ahead.” and a few more letting people know where to find my photos on the web. The smile sign really worked; people actually looked at the camera, smiled, and gave thumbs up, peace signs, wheelies, & jumps!

Since the leaves on the trees haven’t come in yet, there was more light than I expected. It was enough to get fast shots along Forbidden Drive, though people’s faces still ended up in the shadows sometimes. On the trails, flash was more of a necessity, but took a bit of trail and error to dial in manually. I think the truth of event photography is that you have to have an automatic, through-the-lens (TTL) metering flash.

img 8295I found I took wider shots to make sure I got people in motion, then cropped them down afterwards. As the day went on, though, it became easier to get tighter, more emotive shots.

With so many people around, it was also great networking. I met a few fellow photographers, both beginners and established pros, some potential customers, and got a few ideas for new opportunities.

Trailside advertisingOther useful odds and ends: bungees to tie signs to existing posts, water and snacks, hat, music for the slow spells. Given my minimal riding, street clothes and shoes were definitely the way to go. Wearing my IMBA jersey even prompted someone to ask me if I had flown out from Boulder for the event. Maybe they’ll come next year, after they see my photos :D

See the 2008 Rally in the Valley Photos

Eastern Woods Research - Local PA Bikes

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Eastern Woods ResearchI met a cool bunch of guys from Eastern Woods Research at the Rally in the Valley. They’re local Pennsylvania frame builders making steel hardtails, with a 29er version in the works. The bikes look great; here are a few more photos.

Rally in the Valley 2008

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Joe jumping the rocksGet your bike and legs ready; this Saturday is the 2008 Rally in the Valley at Wissahickon Park! All funds raised go back into the park and the trails - and it’s a great chance to get out and ride, regardless of your skill level. And don’t forget to smile on those climbs; I’ve volunteered to provide photo coverage of the event and make an additional donation from the print sales.

Support Mountain Biking in Pennsylvania

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

IMBA has put out a call for support and comments on Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry new resource plan. This department manages many state parks and forests, including French Creek. IMBA also provided some good talking points and statistics:

Mountain biking is extremely popular in Pennsylvania. In 2003, 1,677,060 Pennsylvanians rode their bicycles off-road at least once. This is 17.6% of the total adult population in our state. (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2004)

Bicycling (on- and off-road) contributes $4.8 billion annually and 44,000 jobs to the Middle Atlantic region (NJ, NY, PA). (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2007)

You can read about the plan, view the schedule of public meetings, and submit comments online at the Bureau of Forestry’s site.