24º

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

24o

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.

Mission Accomplished

Well, I did it.  I said I would and I did.  I went into panic mode in the first 200 meters of the swim because I started the race cold and my heart rate skyrocketed.  And you can’t really stop and rest when you’re swimming in open water.  I found my stride at about the 1/4-mile mark and shaved about 20 minutes off my swim time of my first (and only other) Olympic some 20 years ago.  The run was a little slow because I was favoring my leg from the surgery, but all in all I’m pleased with how I did and how far I’ve come since the end of January.


  

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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Challenge

I’m committing to competing in the Challenge Williamsburg this Summer.  I took an entire year off of racing and am itching to get back “in the saddle” so to speak.  I think I might be done (won’t really say “never”) with pure bicycle racing for now, but need/want to stay fit.  I think this is how I’ll do it.  I was looking over the course maps and sure enough, this is where it starts!

Jamestown Beach Park near Williamsburg, VA

Jamestown Beach Park near Williamsburg, VA

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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12/24

If you asked me a year ago with which lens I preferred to use to shoot races I would have answered, without hesitation, “my 70-200.”  These days, not so much.  Almost 50% of my images from the last two weekends of shooting cyclocross were shot on my 12-24 lens.  This also plays into my purposeful shooting method for sports.  Today’s image has nothing to do with cycling other than it was shot at one of the coolest race venues around.

Every year I discover that the Warfield Complex is more boarded up in certain places and more dilapidated in others.  It certainly makes for some fun images .

Every year I discover that the Warfield Complex is more boarded up in certain places and more dilapidated in others. It certainly makes for some fun images .

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.

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.

Head On

I’m self-taught on several subjects.  Specifically bike maintenance and mechanics and videography/photography.  The two areas that have essentially dominated my life for the past 20/30 years.  I’ve turned both into successful professional careers at one point or another.

As a side note, I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from James Madison University.

My kids think it's hilarious that their father has a BS Degree.

My kids think it’s hilarious that I have a BS Degree.

It’s really a tough way to do it for many reasons, but mostly because you’re at the mercy of your own motivation and commitment.  Freelancing is a tough road, but it can be rewarding.  The one thing I’ve learned through my “travels” is that whatever the new technique is or whatever the new trend in the industry is, you gotta jump right in to stay current.  Learn as you go, make mistakes and improve your craft.  Whatever it is.  Just go for it – head on.

Trying to take my photography to a new level.  Ha!  I just heard that in my head.

Trying to take my photography to a new level. Ha! I just heard that in my head.

Dear Today

Letter to Today:


Dear Today,

You could have been better to me.  While washing the car, I almost ripped the fingernail off my middle left finger.  Yeah, this one.  The one I’m holding up and showing to you.  Yeah, that one.  Hurts like crap.  Then I had to cancel a credit card due to fraudulent charges.  It’s getting to the point that the banks red flag ANY spending that’s even slightly outside of my pattern.  I get it, but it’s frustrating when it happens.  I think I’m on my 3rd new credit card in the past year!  Oh, and I ran into the back of a car on my bike ride.  Credit card fraud really sucks.

So, yeah, you could have been better to me.

Sincerely,

Me


And just a FYI, I’m fine after the cycling incident (for those of you asking).  I was more embarrassed than I was concerned.  It was one of those “I’ve-ripped-the-fingernail-off-my-middle-finger-(the-one-I’m-showing-you-now)-and-somebody-is-trying-to-steal-money-from-me-but-I-want-to-get-a-ride-in-so-I’m-in-a-hurry-and-I’m-not-paying-any-attention” kind of incidents.

If you play the guitar, you can identify and here’s why.  Let’s say you play the guitar.  You know all the chords.  You’ve practiced.  You know ’em.  But ya still look at the frets from time to time, right?  Ya just do.  That’s the way it works.  It’s the same with us cyclists.  I know where my pedals are.  I know how my shoes fit into the cleats.  But I still look at the pedals every once in a while.  Imagine you’re playing the guitar.  You got a pretty good tune going on.  You’re strumming along and you glance down to check the proper fingering and WHAMMO!  You just ran into the back of a stopped car.  See, now you understand.

There was really no damage to either me or the car, but guess what took the brunt of the impact.  Yeah, my left middle finger (the one I’m showing you now).

Yeah, today could have gone better.

I’m thinking those agoraphobics are on to something.  Of course, I wouldn’t be able to capture images like these if I never went anywhere.

Murphy's Law

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