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Posts tagged ‘racing’

Criterium Continues in Portarlington

Coming into the CornerThe Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic continued on to Portarlington yesterday.  Another wonderful day as far as the weather went.  Blue skies with lots of fluffy clouds.  Perfect for taking photos.  I have some more for you today, I hope you aren’t getting too bored with them.

I look at the images and think I could do this or that to them, but right now there is no time, I am having a hard time just getting the posts done each day, no time for fancy editing.

The image above was taken from ground level, well almost, and she was coming into the corner.  I love shots like these, and I am getting the impression you do as well.

Coming out of the CornerFor me, this is a fantastic shot, there are lots of cyclists around, but you really only see one.  It is also a very hard shot to get.  You have to be good at panning, but more on that tomorrow.

While there yesterday, I decided to play with my Holga lens and the fish-eye attachment that I got with it.  I really haven’t done that enough, so I wanted to see if it was possible with cycling.

Through the HolgaThis is probably the best shot I got.  It doesn’t do very well with speed.  It was so hard to get shots that were in focus.  Perhaps it is more of a still life sort of camera, good for things that aren’t moving.

Holga Fish-EyeThis was with the fish-eye attachment, which worked better.  Though it was better conditions as well.  Great effect and I might have to try it more, but not today.

I just want to show you two images that I have did some editing to, but not a lot.  The next two images were taken on the first day in Geelong.

EmmaThis is Emma, she is only 15 and racing with the Elite women, pretty amazing for a girl so young.  I don’t know if many of you are aware of this, but juniors have to race on restricted gearing, I think it is to protect them, so they don’t get injured from pushing really big gears before their bodies are ready.  It also puts them on a fairly fair playing ground with their peers.  Emma is Under 17, so she rides with restricted gearing, even when she is the only one, her gears are still restricted. A tough ask, but it was great to see her out there doing what she could.

LaraThis is Lara and she is from NSW.  She has recently gone up to U19, so gears still restricted, though not much.

With these last two images I have just blurred the back grounds, more to make them stand out.  I wanted to make them the focus of the images.   These are more individual portrait shots, I would call them, rather than shots of the racing.

Today is the last day.  We are off to Williamstown today.  It is going to be hot, 36C or 97F, so not great, but we are expecting southerly sea breezes, so that should make it bearable.  Williamstown always has massive crowds, so it should make for an interesting day.  Am I looking forward to it, I don’t know.

Bay Crits in Geelong

Most years when I go to this event, this is my fourth time, I try and photograph the racing.  You have to do that, it is a race, but that is all I do.  I just walk around and around the circuit taking photos of people racing their bikes.  I suspect this year won’t be any different, except my audience of who is looking at them.  I am taking photos of it this year for you and this blog.  Normally, I am taking photos for the riders.

The Start and the FinishAfter yesterdays post I had a few asking me what a crit was?  A crit is short for criterium and is a race that is done on a short circuit, where the riders do laps.  Usually on streets.  They can range in distance from one to around three kilometres.  I have seen some that are five kilometres or longer, but they are usually considered something else.  A crit will start and finish in the same place.  In the above image, the women are preparing to start and are lined up at the line.  This is also where they finish.

Down the Back StragihtSometimes crits can be done in really nice spots and you can get some nice shots.  Though, I find that the organisers never think what will make great publicity shots and what would be a great for photographs.  The often have the finish with the sun behind them, so crap shots there.  Take the image above, how good would it be to get the Ferris wheel with the riders coming towards me?

Commentating the EventThis crit is a big deal in Australian racing and happens every year.  Crits are only done in summer, the weather is too unpredictable in winter, and can make racing them dangerous.  A lot of clubs will cancel crit racing if it is raining, wet roads just means too many crashes.  I have heard it said that crits are the most dangerous type of racing in cycling, more people come off.  As they are racing on roads, that means lots of skin being removed and it wrecks their kits (what they race in).  Crits are also very fast.  A lot of riders get spat out the back when the speed picks up.  So crashes and speed, that makes it a great spectator sport.

Behind the riders you can see some guys sitting with almost white shirts.  They are, from the right, Matt Keenan, Scott McGrory and Phil Liggett.  If you ever follow cycling on television then you will know the British voice of Phil Liggett.  He is known internationally as the voice of cycling.  We know his voice when we hear it.  He comes here every year to commentate the bay crits and is also a very nice person.

Taking the CornersThe one thing that most crits have is dangerous corners.  This circuit at Geelong is called a hotdog circuit.  Named because it looks like one.  There are two straights, and either end are some very tight corners.  People gather on the corners because that is where most crashes happen.  It is where all the photographers go, me included, but it is also where you get some of the best photos.

They race for around 45 minutes, or one hour, then they get so many laps after that.  Usually 45 minutes then 3 laps.  It is unusual in that respect, most racing, you have no idea how long it will take, but that isn’t so with this.  So the riders know how long they have and work out what they have to do in that time.

I love photographing criterium racing and is by far my favourite type of racing to take photos of.  It is exciting and so fast.  I am going to do a post on how to photograph a crit, or how I do it, but I need more time than is available right now.  I am thinking I might do that on Friday when it is all over.  That is if you would like me to.  I can also take about accreditation and stuff as well.  Let me now.

Racing a Bike Up a Mountain

As I stated yesterday, the Baw Baw Classic was on and I was on the back of a motorbike taking photos of it.  I don’t really like road racing in general.  It can be hard to do, especially a race like this, where they start in one place and finish in another.  They race up a mountain and finish there, which also means all there supporters and the people they come with follow them up the mountain.  Last year when I did it, I found it really difficult in the car.  I couldn’t get past all the people.  Some of the driving I did, was really scary.  I decided if I was going to do it again, it would be best on a motorbike.

Except for the backside issue, it was so much better.  The above image was one of the first places we stopped on the side of the road.  I can’t remember if this was A grade or B grade.  It was one of the large groups that went past.  It is lovely site to see a group of cyclists together on a country road.  They started in a group, but it sure isn’t how they finished.

The Warragul Cycling Club have some interesting information about the race, if you are interested click here.

I don’t know if you can tell, but the above image was taken on the motorbike as we went past the group.  You can get some good shots of the riders as we go past them.  If I am lucky I can also get a great background as well.

The scenery can be fantastic, and one of the things we are always on the look out for, is some great scenery shots to use as backgrounds.  I loved the enclosed landscape here and tried to get the cyclists as they were coming over a small rise in the road.

This image was taken in basically the same area as the previous one.  I thought the cyclists coming around the corner gave the bunch great depth.  Again, the trees on both sides of the road, frame the cyclists really nicely, do you agree?

Back on the bike now and watching the bunch (that’s what you call a group of cyclists) spread out as the go down a small incline.  I got this shot sitting on the bike as we came up to them.  I took several shots, most were out of focus, but was happy that this one worked.

I don’t know if you have ever watched the Tour de France, or other races that are really famous, often the photographers sit backwards on the bikes.  Then you can take photos from the front of the riders.  Unfortunately it isn’t legal here.  Unless the road is closed for the race, then you have to sit facing the front.  It makes it a little harder, but it is still better than being in a car.  I haven’t had an opportunity to photograph a race where I can sit backwards, but I am hoping there might be a chance later in the year.

This image was taken from the motorbike, but I put the camera over my shoulder and just shoot, hoping that I will get something, and this time I did.  I am getting much better at doing this.

The guys in the race above are in A Grade.  You saw how big the bunches were at the start, and these guys are in the lead, though the guy that won isn’t in this bunch.  He must have powered so much to get past and then win.  It really is incredible to watch these people.

The Baw Baw Classic really is not a race for the “faint hearted”.  It is gruelling, and it breaks many riders.  I spoke about how hard it was yesterday.  Photographing it, is hard as well.  There are plenty of places to take photos with lovely backdrops, but if you stop too many times, then you don’t have enough time to get to the top for the finish.

Decisions have to be made about how to photograph it as well.  What do I concentrate on.  If I was just taking photos for this, or for Cycling Victoria, then I would probably do it differently, it would be easier to do.  However, since I don’t get paid to take photos, then I need to sell the images and try and make money that way.  It really is a hard way to earn a living.

Last year, when I got to the top, I took photos of the first few finishing, then I walked down a couple of hundred metres and photographed the cyclists as they came up a steep part.  This time I decided to stick with the finish and photograph that.  I guess I will find out if that was a good decision or not.  I am hoping the riders will want a photo of them finishing.  I suppose I will find out soon.

For anyone looking for the photos from the racing, they are now up on my website.

Christmas Carnivals 2010

The Christmas Carnivals are over for another year.  This year only 3 days with Maryborough deciding not to hold them.  I wish I could say I was disappointed, but I was glad it was only 3 days.  It was a lot of traveling, going from Melbourne to Horsham, then to Bendigo and Shepparton and driving home very late on the last night. 

I made the decision early on that I would only do a few hours in Horsham.  It started at two and my intention was to leave by five.  Well, it took me longer to get there than I thought, so I didn’t get there until half past two, and when I wanted to leave the wheelraces were happening so I had to stay for those, and then there were the presentations, so needed to get those, especially when Jason Niblett was presenting them.  I think I got away closer to six.

The racing was good and the temperature was great.  Unfortunately with Victoria experiencing a locust plague, the grasshoppers weren’t so good.  They were everywhere.  You had to be careful walking around because it stirred them up and then they were flying around everywhere.  They were hard to see in the grass, they camouflage very well.  In the photo to the left there are two, see if you can see them.

I knew they would be around, but I wasn’t really prepared for them.  I was also informed that they weren’t as bad as they had been.  That surprised me.  I thought they were bad.  I had put some netting on the front of my car so they didn’t go onto the radiator and overheat the car, but apparently it would have been OK anyway.

Bendigo was the next day and I had booked myself into some nice accommodation and wanted to spend as much time in it as I could.  I arrived at Bendigo about eight thirty and was so relieved to find the place good.  The racing didn’t start until three on Tuesday so I had a lovely morning reading the paper and watching some DVD’s I was given for Christmas.

The velodrome at Bendigo is great.  Big, but good.  It is red, which makes it a great backdrop for photos.  People stand out on it and the photos look great.  If you want to check out the photos look at my website Leanne Cole Photography.  I also like the shapes and surroundings around the track.  I got some great shots last year and I was hoping to repeat them or rather improve on them from last year.

However, one of the things that I really took to first were the clouds.  I like collecting photos of clouds and I hope that one day I will be able to learn photoshop well enough that I will be able to use the clouds to put into other shots of landscapes that have boring skies.  Well that  is the plan.  I am sure people thought I was crazy taking photos of the clouds all the time.  They were so wispy and I liked the fairy floss look of them.

The stands at Bendigo are also exceptional and I liked the look of them in photos from last time.  I knew this time that I needed more light on the faces of the riders and I did my best to achieve that.  Not always sure I managed to get it, but I will find out when I try using them for prints.  They had some writing, the name of the stand, on the top but during the day it keep blending into the sky in the photos.  At night, and after another ground sunset., something that you can nearly always be guaranteed of during summer, especially when the weather is warm, are sunsets, red skies and clouds that look like they are on fire.

Once the sun went down photos became easier to take because the shadows from the harsh sun were gone and the flash was easier to control, though not always the case.  I did try taking some photos without the flash, but they only worked if I wanted to get overall shots from a distance.  In the photo to the right I quite like the deep blue colour of the sky.  I had to try several different setting before getting this one and being happy with it.  This was before a wheelrace and the men were just riding around while there holders/pushers were getting into place.  Wheelraces, or handicap races are not my favourite to photograph.  I find that all the holders stay out in the middle and can make it really hard for me to get any good shots.  Many shots have been spoiled because of those people.  I can’t say anything to them, but they do make it really hard.  On a big track like this it isn’t too bad, but at DISC it can be impossible.

The Frank McCaig Stand, there it is.  I don’t know what they do to it at night to make it stand out, but stand out it does.  I loved it.  I would love to get back and take more photos of the racing in Bendigo just to try and get that perfect shot of the stands with the racing.  It will take me longer I suspect than just going up there once a year.

The locusts or grasshoppers at Bendigo were worse than Horsham, though I had been told that they were really bad, but they must have mostly moved on by the time we got there.  When I got to Shepparton the next day, there didn’t seem to be any.  The weather up until then had been quite good, though it looked like it was going to be a hot day in Shepparton, as always, and it was.  The cycling club at Shepparton had lost its roof back in Febuary and they still hadn’t had it replaced.  We were told work was starting on the new one in Febuary, so I hope it goes well and look forward to seeing it the next time I’m there.

Our reprieve from the locusts were short lived, and out of the three days I think it is fair to say that they were the worse in Shepparton.  They were flying to the west all day.  Quite a few shots were ruined because of flying locusts.  All the dots in the image left are the locusts.  This man was walking through the middle and he stirred them up and away they went.  I think this is probably the best image I got of them.  You can see how bad they are, though, once again, not as bad as they have been.  I’m really glad I didn’t get to see them at their worse.

They would fly up the west end of the track and sit on it.  More so as the sun went down.  I don’t know how many squished grasshoppers there were by the end of the racing.  Quite extraordinary really.

Though with Shepparton I will remember the bugs.  Grasshoppers during the day and lots and lots and lots of mosquitoes at night.  You could see them flying around everywhere.  They were terrible.  Caused by all the rain they have had and the water lying around everywhere. Why does there always have to be consequences from the weather?

So they are over for another year.  Time will tell if I go again.  But it was nice catching up with people and also taking photos of track outdoors for a change, though, not something I would want to do too often.  Too hot.

Stratford to Dargo

What a day.  What a nightmare.  It was by far the worse I have ever tried to photograph.  I really think they need to rethink the way they run it.  Usually I wait for everyone to go past and then I take off to get past them again.  There were so many cars following the race that it took me about 60kms to get in front of the lead group again.  Getting past the riders wasn’t the problem, it was getting past the followers.

Opportunities to take photos were limited.  It was a shame too, as there was some beautiful country side and it would have been nice to get the riders in that more.  Perhaps next time it would be better to make a decision to just follow one or two grades through the whole race rather than concentrating on them all.

While I was waiting for the first group some horses in a paddock entertained me and I took some photos.  Such nosey creatures.  The bridge was interesting, and seemed to be a bit annoying to the riders, because they had to slow down and weren’t allowed to ride over it.  Briony was the first person we saw on a bike.  She wasn’t racing, but just riding the circuit with the idea of racing it next year.  She was very careful riding over it.

The first group that went over it were the A graders and they made so much noise, plus they all stopped just over the bridge to relieve themselves, it sent the horses off cantering round and round the paddock.They didn’t quite do the same thing for any of the grades as they went through, though I don’t think anyone made as big a scene as the A graders.

Not sure I would go back and do this race again.  Though if Briony is racing in it next year, then I might, but I would change how I photographed it.  I would try and get a motorbike, or I would just follow one bunch around.  It’s hard.

A Quickie

I have lost the internet connection at home.  I’m not sure when it is going to be back on and a friend, Caroline, has very kindly let me use her internet to give a quick update and post a few photos.

I was in Geelong on Saturday to photograph the VSCC state final.  It was a lovely spot and at one end we could see all the barricades for the UCI World Cycling Road Championships.  Just before the U19’s started we realised that the women were about to go past so we raced over to watch.  It was all over in about 30 seconds, but still exciting to see.

And then they were gone.  It would be another 30 to 40 minutes before they came around again.  I couldn’t wait, I had to get back to photograph what I was there to photograph.  I did hear the helicopters again and I know they went past a few more times, but this was all I saw.

Though after they went I couldn’t believe the number of cars following the race.

They were almost as exciting.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back on, soon I hope.  The new modem is supposed to arrived in the next couple of days.  We will see how got big pond are.