As an avid cyclist, I’m a little surprised by how little bike racing/riding/anything I’ve photographed. It seems to be mostly limited to a little BMX racing over the last few years and nothing else. You can imagine how excited I was to cover a mountain bike race this weekend.
Do the Rock 2012 is put on by the Rock Cut Trail Crew. It was a first for me. I didn’t exactly know what to expect. The start/finish line was in a grassy field but most of the course was winding through the dense woods of Rock Cut State Park.
I talked to the race coordinator about where a few good spots would be in the woods for me to shoot. I was glad I wore my boots. I hiked in a ways, backtracking the route. I was carrying my camera, lenses and other accessories in my bag and a light stand.
The race coordinator and a few riders said there was a log crossing that might be a neat spot for photos. I kept walking until I found what I thought was the location they were talking about. I made it there before any riders came through. That gave me time to set up a light and pick my position to shoot that was interesting and safe for both the rider and myself.
I shot it both straight on with a slightly telephoto lens and also up close and wide angle.
While hiking back, I picked a scenic corner and did a pan shot as a rider took the bend.
Taking a closer look at the last photo, I noticed he as a streak of blood on his left forearm. That’s fun. I bet he didn’t even notice.
For you camera tech folks out there, this was shot at 1/40th of a second @ f/10 and ISO 200. It’s a slight crop from the original frame shot at 16mm. And of course, I fired a flash with rear curtain sync to freeze the action.
I was pretty happy with how these images turned out for my first stab at mountain bike racing photography. It did make me want to drop some cash on a new mountain bike of my own and maybe stay off the roads for a little bit. I’m currently accepting donations in the form of cash or a properly fitted 29er.
You can see a few more of my photos at the Rockford Register Star website.
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