24º

This is what 24ºC looks like to me in Febraury.  Come on, how could I not?!

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Racing

It was more than cool to get reconnected to bike racing this past week.  I was able to offer my home to a top-level pro women’s cycling team that went on to kick some butt at their races in DC this weekend.  I’d like to think I had the tiniest sliver of something to do with their success.  We DID offer the tranquility and slower pace of rural Winchester and Frederick County.  A sort of zen if you think about it (compared to their more-than-hectic lifestyle).  Anyway, enough rambling – here’s my take on their race on Sunday in Crystal City, VA.

Come On…

Come on Spring – kinda tired of riding my bike inside all the time.  Need some variety.

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Places

If you don’t have one, you need to get something that is a solid head leveler.  You know, one of those things that can be your go-to activity that takes you away from it all and can really get your head back on straight.  A head leveler.   Mine is my bike.  There’s nothing like a good bike ride for me.  I’ve had cycling in my life now for over 30 years.  Through all of my ups and downs, I still have my bike.  I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t ride.  And a year ago I wasn’t so sure about it.  Glad I have it.  It take me places.

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I got this bike back in 1999 and absolutely love it.  It’s ironic that I’ve held onto this for so long when I’m the type who’s always in line to get the next best gadget.  It’s like a comfortable pair of jeans really.  It just fits right.

Real World

As fun and exciting as it was to be at the UCI Road World Championships for the past week, I’m facing the harsh reality that the real world picks back up tomorrow.  I’ve got plenty of images to edit and am pretty pleased with how everything went.  Check that one of the bucket list.  Spring classics are next…

Peter Sagan was my favorite all along. | Check out more of my Worlds images here.

Peter Sagan was my favorite all along. | Check out more of my Worlds images here.

Surreal

Everybody needs those stories that they can tell for years and years to come.  It’s going to be pretty cool to watch professional road racing next year and when they identify the world champions, I can say I was there.  Looking forward to tomorrow, rain or not here I come.  The whole thing has kinda been surreal.

#Richmond2015

I wouldn’t have missed this for the world(s).  Ha – see what I did there?

Even at level that they're competing, they still have fun.  Gotta love it!

Even at level that they’re competing, they still have fun. Gotta love it!  More photos here.

Wheelhouse

When the UCI Road World Championships come to the United States, there’s no excuse not to go.  I’m a cyclist of 30+ years and a photographer.  This is where I’m supposed to be right now.

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I came to Richmond with the goal of getting images that I’d want to hang on my wall. I’m off to a good start – Lots of images to come. I’m posting them here.

From The Top

A view I grew up with near Harrisonburg – Reddish Knob.  Road this mountain many times.  By the way, hope you enjoy the new look.

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Character

I end up shooting almost as much of the location at cyclocross races as I do of the race itself.  The Luray caverns cross race has some very cool buildings and old farm equipment on the property.  Lots and lots of character and textures.  Just really cool to shoot there.

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How It’s Done

And that, folks, is how it’s done.

Having some fun at the Rocktown Cyclocross Festical today in Harrisonburg, VA

Having some fun at the Rocktown Cyclocross Festical today in Harrisonburg, VA

Do Something With It

When I started shooting (both video and stills) I would just shoot anything and everything.  I had no vision and real purpose for what I was shooting.  I shot because, well, I could.  I see so many people these days shooting video and stills and I always wonder what they do with it.  My philosophy these days is “why shoot if you’re not going to do anything with it.”  It doesn’t have to be posted on a social media site.  It doesn’t have to be on broadcast TV.  It could simply be shared with friends around the kitchen counter, but do something with it, otherwise it was pointless to shoot it in the first place.  IMHO.

I choose to share mine online.  My original intent for purchasing an aerial camera was to shoot cyclocross racing.  So here’s a first look at a couple of cross races I’ve shot this season.  I actually plan on putting together a piece for the Psycho Cross race – a sort of promo of sorts.  Order a print of the featured image here.

Maps

I’ve got a series of images that I’ll eventually combine to create a “mapping” image of the Psycho Cross course in Sykesville.  There’s so much that’s cool about this venue, but what’s really awesome is that if I look up the address on my iPhone/Mac maps I can actually see the worn areas that mark the race course.  Check it out.

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Purposeful

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from all my sports shooting it’s that high-speed burst shooting should be used very sparingly.  I think it was last year that I came home from shooting Winchester Applecross with close to 7,000 images.  Three 0’s people!  Sure the high-speed bursts have their place, but for me I’d rather come home with images that were shot purposefully as opposed to images that are simply part of a series of high-speed bursts where maybe one is decent.  I don’t want to be that photographer who tries to impress people with the sound of their shutter rapidly firing off 20 frames at a time in a couple of seconds.  So how, then, do you get the good images you might ask?  Anticipate the action and know the sport you’re shooting.  I still came home with a crap ton of images (2k but that’s a far cry from 7,000).

Winchester Applecross coming my way.

Winchester Applecross coming my way.

Flat

I spent the day at the local city park shooting cyclocross.  I don’t race cyclocross and never will.  My license plate even indicates that I’m a road cyclist.  Anyway, I don’t know what the cyclists were complaining about all day – that Belgian wall looks pretty flat to me.  Easily rideable.

The Belgian Wall at the Applecross cyclocross race in Winchester is approximately a 45º angle, which is eliminated with this top-down, mapping view.

The Belgian Wall at the Applecross cyclocross race in Winchester is approximately a 45° angle, which is eliminated with this top-down, mapping view.

Cross Season

Who thought I would ever be looking forward to cross season as much as I am this year?  Cyclocross season, that is.  I’ve shot cycling now for several years and am always looking for new ways to differentiate myself from other shooters.  A definite difference, IMO, is the fact that I shoot both still and video.  I’m leaning more toward the still side these days, but I produce both and I have a great time doing it.  I certainly created a buzz when I shot an aerial video in Page County earlier this year and plan to do more like it.  But what’s crazy to me is that when I look at a new piece of gear these days I find myself thinking “wow, that would be awesome for cross season.”  So, I may never race during cross season, but at least I’m out there supporting it.  That’s a start, right?  Can’t wait to put the new iPhone 6 through it’s paces this Sunday at the annual Winchester Applecross race.

Granted, this is a video of my dog, but think of all the amazing race footage I can get with it!

Tri-al Period

Something weird is happening.  I’m hating running less these days.  I’m not a runner and am not trying to be one.  I’d still always choose the bike over running.  But I don’t dislike it as much as I used to.  This is probably how I’ll remain in shape throughout the winter.  Perhaps next year I’ll focus on some sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.  Who knows?  I do know this though – my body hates running much more than I do.  I’m going for a ride.

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BMX

A little BMX action at the park today.  I’d never shot a BMX race before and I haven’t the first clue about the sport, but it’s cool that we have a track here in Winchester.

There will eventually be a BMX category in my galleries.

There will eventually be a BMX category in my galleries.

Down Time

There’s a lot of down time when I shoot a road race.  Even though there are 3 fields on the course at once, they pass by me within 10 minutes of each other leaving me a big gap of about 25-30 minutes until they come by again.  What do I do during those breaks?  These days I attract a lot of attention with the drone.

Whenever I shoot a race I’m always concerned about being on somebody else’s property because most road races are out in the country and the only place to park is along the road.  And when I’m in their way it’s even worse.  At my first location today I ended up blocking the entrance to a farmer’s field.  He needed to pull in and I was in the way.  Great!  Not a good way for me to start the day.  Fast forward to the last location of the day.  I had pulled over near a very colorful barn because I thought it would make a great background in my shots.  Next thing I know, a truck pulls up and I get that feeling that I’m about to get chewed out – you know the feeling.  But no, that same farmer (the one I had blocked before) pops out of his truck and excitedly asks about my aerial camera.  We get to talking and I discover that he’s in the Screen Actors Guild and he’s met some amazing people through that work.  He asks how long I’ll be there because he wants to go get his daughters to watch me fly.  Then he flags down a buddy to pull over and watch, too!  Party at Jimmy’s place!  He tops the day off by telling me that he respects all the riders in the races and thinks it’s a great thing for the county.  There are some awesome people in Page County!  Thanks Jimmy for letting me park on your property today.

Down Time

Click here for more race photos from today.

Mobile Office

My office “window” for the day (that’s Shenandoah National Park in the distance).  Today was the first race I shot with the new camera and it was certainly a challenge.  At times I was shooting with three different cameras almost simultaneously.  It’s a crazy concept to shoot with the quadcopter.  When I needed to shoot with my wide on the ground, I would simply elevate the drone and let it hover until I was finished shooting – weird.  I really only shot video with it because I didn’t want to miss an actual still shot from the ground.  It was photog multi-tasking to the extreme.  And loads of fun!

By the way, race photos are being posted here.

Order a print of this image.

Order a print of this image.