Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blowing the dust off (sorta)

My bike shooting this summer was kept to a minimum with the birth of a daughter on July 25th. I did manage to make it out for a road crit in Reston VA. I'm not exactly sure why, but I never posted the photos here. So without further ado...







You'd think that with such small pool of bike shots, it would have dawned on me to actually post some, huh.

I may try to get out a bit this fall and shoot some cross races. But in all honesty, cross racing doesn't hold much interest for me (as either a cyclist or a photographer). Who knows, perhaps I've just not experienced it correctly yet to fall in love. We shall see.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MIA @ W@W #4

It looks like I may miss the fourth and final W@W race tonight. Kinda got a lot going on at the moment, and I don't think I'll have time to do what needs to be done and get to the race. Sadly, that puts my W@W attendance rate at only 50% this year. I had much higher hopes.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

W@W #3, 7-9-08, photos are posted

My shots from the third Wednesday at Wakefield race are posted here.

I think the links to all of galleries (on the left) may actually be fixed, too. If you notice any problems, please email me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Men at work

Most of the links on the left are broken at the moment. I renamed many of my Pbase galleries for easier reading, and didn't realize it would break every link pointing at them. Poor link design on Pbase's part. I'll go through and fix them all this weekend.

W@W #3, 7/10/08

Wednesdays at Wakefield
Take 3

After missing the second W@W race last week due to a schedule conflict, I was able to make it out to the third this week. I'm still going through the photos (and boy, is my "delete" button tired!) and will have them posted this weekend. Until then, here are a few shots I quickly processed last night:


The choke.

Feelink OK.

Pete (I think).

Wheelie droppin'

Every time I shoot, particularly bike races, I learn something new. This week, I learned that you should shoot from somewhere that the racers can see you. People tend to show off for the camera, which results in far more interesting photos than if they don't know you're there. I spent most of the first race sitting in a creek bed, shooting riders as they zoomed past. 99% of the racers had no idea I was there. As a result, there aren't too many shots like the wheelie-drop above. Most people just rode across the tiny creek. Had they known I was there, I bet there's have been some more interesting acrobatics.

The second thing I learned this week is that I need to spend more time considering depth of field when shooting. It's pretty easy to least in theory. But I still managed to completely fail in it's implementation. Even with my handy smartphone-based Java DOF calculator in-hand. My problem, I think, was that I was shooting at a spot ~15' away, and I was focusing *on* that spot. The DOF started at about 15' and went to infinity. Therefore, most of the riders that crossed at that spot were out of focus, while the trees and brush behind them were crystal clear. I suppose I should have focused on a spot maybe 10' away, which would have put the riders in that 15'-to-infinity zone, and therefore in focus. That would have lead to many more keeper shots, and a less traumatized delete-key finger. Something to keep in mind for next time, I guess.

Edit to add: One more thing I learned (or re-learned, or simply remember) after numerous failed shots last night...shooting with really slow shutter speeds (1/60s, 1/80s, 1/100s) and panning with your subjects is quite difficult. Yet another contributing factor to the pile of worthless photos in the recycle bin today.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Ok, all of my shots of the 6/25/2008 W@W race have been posted (thanks to Potomac Velo for the link from the official page!). My gallery is here. See you guys next Wednesday.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Work in progress.

I've got the shots from both the 5:30pm race and the 6pm race posted. I'll get the 7pm race up tomorrow (Saturday).

Standard disclaimers apply: These were quickly (and ham-handedly) resized and sharpened for the web. Electronic copies are free for the taking (for non-commercial use). Right click, save-as, done. If you want to buy a full-sized, lovingly processed digital or print version (assuming the full-res image is up to snuff), without copyright text, contact me at gmr2048 at yahoo-dot-com and we'll work out the details. If you want to use a shot commercially, contact me and we'll figure that out, too.

With a steady flow of riders finishing one race and starting the next, sometimes determining which riders belonged to which group was difficult. So I had to make some guesses. If you were running in the back of the 6pm pack, check the 7pm photo set. I may have accidentally put you in with the wrong group.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

W@W2008, v1.0

**UPDATE** All shots from the 530pm, 6pm and 7pm races are up (plus a few shots of racers pre-riding the course). The gallery is here.

I shot the first Wednesday@Wakefield race of the 2008 season last night. I haven't had a chance to slog through all of the images yet, but I did find this one that I thought I'd throw online as a placeholder. More to come.

Note to self: Flash photography is hard. Trust your f/1.4 lens more next time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Being there

This past Sunday saw the 2008 edition of the "12 Hours of Lodi Farm" mountain bike race in Fredricksburg, VA. Hard as it may be to believe, I actually managed to drag my butt out to shoot it. I was out "in the field" from about 8pm Saturday till 2pm Sunday with naught but a two hour nap between 5am and 7am Sunday. I have no idea how all of those solo racers can actually ride a bike for 12 hours. I could barely walk back to the truck from shooting in the woods at 5am without falling over. Kudos racers.

All of my straight-outta-the-camera shots are on my Pbase site.

As an aside, I've been trying to come up with a way to make the best use of my two paid photo services: Pbase (good for mass image storage and grouping by event) and Flickr (good for general photo exposure and comments/critiques). I think my new plan is to dump every decent image from any given event to Pbase, and then edit/tweak/process my favorite shots and shots of friends and post those to Flickr (with a link back to Pbase site for anybody who wants to wade through all of the images). This, in my mind, seems like a good use of the two services.

I took the liberty of liberating somebody else's map of the trail network at Lodi from the official race web page. They had it as a 7MB TIFF download. There's no need for that. I converted it to a JPG and reduced its size by an order of magnitude to about 600kb. Much more handy size.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Gary is a slacker, no-motivation having, wannabe photographer

How to be a great photographer: "f/8 and be there"

Why I'm not a great photographer: That whole "be there" part.

I had nothing but good intentions of going to shoot the Greenbrier Challenge mountain bike race this past Sunday. Unfortunately, something came up and I wasn't able to make it.

Looking at local Flickr user extraFunky's shots of the event, there was some good shootin' to be had. Soft lighting, sloppy trails, muddy riders. Man. Wish I would have been there!

Hopefully things will pan out better for next weekend's 12 Hours of Lodi Farm race.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Photo of your's truly behind the lens, by Jim Folliard at

For god's sake, somebody get that boy a sandwich, he's wasting away to nothing!

Next up on the shooting deck: the 2008 Greenbrier Challenge on Sunday.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Leesburg cont'd.

The rest of my Leesburg Baker's Dozen photos are up. Check them out here, broken down (roughly) by hour. These are pretty much straight outta the camera. The only editing I've done is to resize them.

I'm sticking to my "free as in beer" ethos again this year:

If you want a copy of the web-sized version of the image (for non-commercial use on your blog, web page, whatever) right-click, save-as, done. I'd appreciate a link back to my gallery, or an image credit, but I'm not gonna be a hard-ass about it.

If you want an edited, fixed-up, full-res JPG suitable for 8x10" printing, email me. Assuming the full-res image is up-to-snuff, I'm gonna charge $10 for it. If you want an actual mailed print, it'll be more.

If you're a non-profit trying to save the world or something, email me. I'm a sucker for a good cause.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The 2008 mountain bike racing/shooting season kicked off for me on Saturday with the Leesburg Baker's Dozen race in VA. Unfortunately, I had lost track of dates, and was surprised on Friday to find out that there was a race scheduled on Saturday. As I already had plans for most of the afternoon/evening hours Saturday, I decided to hit the race early and try for some shots in the pine grove section (which, while I quite like this shot, overall only went so-so):

Happy racer

My master plan then had me taking off for my other planned activities, and afterward, heading back out to the race for some night-shooting ('round about midnight).

I had a couple of specific shots in mind that I wanted to try after dark, and I think I managed to nail them pretty well. I wanted something with rider's light trails with the farm silo in the background (since this was a race on a farm, I thought it only appropriate):

Race past the silo

And I wanted some shots from a high vantage point, showing the racer's light trails running through the field:

They went that-a-way

After spending most of my daylight shooting hours in the pine grove, I decided to go back and try for some interesting "light-trails-weaving-through-the-trees" shots. Some worked better than others:

Lighted singletrack

My next task is to figure out how to get the light-trail shots, but be able to hit the rider with a flash at the end, so they show up on "film" (similar to what this guy did). The trick is ensuring that I don't distract/blind the riders and cause them to ride off the trail into a tree.

I still have to weed through all of the almost 700 images I shot. I should have un-edited copies up in a day or two. I'll post back here when the task is complete.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gearing up (so to speak)

So, looking forward to warmer times (probably something to do with to the high-of-20-degree days we've been having around here lately), I decided to post up links to a few of the local favorite MTB races coming up this spring. I hope to shoot all of these, but I'm sure conflicts will arise.

Leesburg Bakers Dozen Saturday, April 19, 2008

Greenbrier Challenge Mountain Bike Race April 27, 2008

12 Hours of Lodi May 3-4, 2008

12 Hours of Cranky Monkey Saturday, June 28, 2008 Quantico Marine Corps Base

Cranky Monkey Series
* Race #1 - 7/27/08 - Wakefield Park - Annandale, VA
* Race #2 - 8/10/08 - Fountainhead Regional Park- Fairfax Station, VA
* Race #3 - 8/24/08 - Quantico Marine Corps Base - Quantico, VA

Wednesdays at Wakefield series (hopefully details coming soon). The nice woman who's now running the PVC website contacted me the other day asking to use some of my photos on the site. So look for some of my shots of PVC racers on display when the revamp is complete.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blowing the dust off...

I know. Been mighty quiet around these parts, hasn't it?

Winter is light on MTB races, and heavy on cyclocross races. While 'cross racing seems like a fine sport, it isn't my favorite. I imagine shooting it would be cool enough, but it's much harder for me to motivate to get out to a 'cross race. Ergo no cross photos = no bike photos (not counting drunken personal road cycling outings with friends) = no bike-blog posts. Sorry racefans.

An email from the woman re-vamping the Potomac Velo web page prompted me to invest a little time in this dormant blog. Seems she's going to be revamping their site and asked to make use of a few of my 2007 race photos. Which is cool with me.

I revamped the list of photo galleries on the left side of this page. Listing all the races I've shot in reverse chronological order, instead of just pointing a single link over to my Pbase site and making you wade through the galleries yourselves.

Look for another post in the next day or two. After that...who knows? Spring can't come fast enough as far as I'm concerned.