Events

Mountains and Oceans

Mountains and Oceans

Saturday

A weekend spent in the mountains and on the coast is a weekend well spent in my book.

This last Saturday I was in the lower Blue Mountains near Glenbrook shooting one of the Adventure races from Maximum Adventure. We shoot 3 of these races a year and they are a lot of fun. It makes competitors do a bit of orienteering while trail-running, kayaking and mountain-biking there way around a course. Always a very social atmosphere.

Maximum Adventure Adventure race Glenbrook

I tested out a new flash system dipping my toes into the Godox system and checked out the AD200. It will hopefully last me a bit longer than the usual speedlights that I use at the races and tend to burn out on a regular pace. Mixed early results but will give it another good nudge this weekend and hopefully have some more to say afterwards. I may even try to read the instructions beforehand this time.

Sunday

Then for Sunday, it was down to the coast for a sunrise session at a highline. Although the sun didn’t cast its usually morning colours thanks to a big cloudbank sitting on the horizon it was a beautiful morning none the less. Sitting there watching the highliners doing their stuff while surrounded by nature. Whales swam and jumped in the oceans below and black cockatoos flew overhead. A good weekend indeed.

 

Posted by Richard in Adventure Racing, Events, Highlining, 0 comments
OCR World Championships

OCR World Championships

Last weekend was the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Enduro Championships or more commonly known as the OCR World Championships. Competitors ran the 10km course with 30 obstacles in it and tried to knock over as many laps as they could in a 24 hour period.  This year I was chasing Shammes AlShamsi, the only entrant from the United Arab Emirates around the course.

OCR World Championships course map

OCR World Championships course map

The Race

This has to be the toughest and most brutal race that pops up on my calendar. Whilst I think that the people who do 24mtb races and 24hr trail runs are crazy I believe (and please correct me if I am wrong) that these competitors can find a rhythm and lock into it. Obstacle course racers have to break that rhythm every 40m or so to complete a different obstacle. They do a huge variety of obstacles such as rope climbs, crawling in the mud under barbed wire, scaling walls and rope traverses across the creek.

Chasing one competitor around the course is a little bit awkward as the course is so spread out. I found the best place was around the start finish area where the greatest amount of obstacles were found making it easy to jump between one  and another. I didn’t manage to get all the obstacles I still managed to get a good selection of shots with Shammes and and managed to grab a few other folks as I was waiting for Shammes to get back around to me.

Night

This has to be one of my favourite events as I simply love shooting at night. As night fell so too did the rain and fog. Both years I have shot it it has been raining and foggy which definitely add to the atmosphere of the event. I know many photographers don’t like these conditions but I love it. To a point that is, eventually heavy rain can wear me down.

Trying to pick out that one competitor in the night though became even trickier as it was almost impossible to tell one competitor from another in the darkness and the headlights shining into my eyes. I basically just ended up shooting most people in the night and hoping one was Shammes. Its always good fun playing around with different lighting setups at night. Hopefully I didn’t blind anyone but no-one complained to me so that’s always a good thing.

Morning

I got up early for another few shots but had to shoot off before the finish due to another booking. In the early hours of the morning Shammmes, like many others, had pulled the pin due to exhaustion. I still managed to grab a few more frames before I shot off though. Being the athlete that Shammes is though he is off to Andorra this weekend for not one but 2 more Spartan Race events.

I certainly hope to be back again next year. Registration for the event has opened already. The level of fitness of these athletes just astounds me and the vibe at the event itself is just great. It is well worth checking out even if racing is not for you

The rest of the images can be viewed here on my website

Details for signing up for next years event can be found here here otherwise just come along, check it out and marvel at the strength of these crazy athletes.

Posted by Richard in Events, Obstacle Course
Kempsey Enduro: Superflow Championships

Kempsey Enduro: Superflow Championships

Last weekend Kempsey played host to the Superflow Enduro Championship.  Rocky Trail Entertainment has been running the Kempsey Enduro for 3 years now. It is one of my favourites as I get to go stay out at the beautiful Hungry Head campsite.

It was another great weekend of racing. Though a slightly smaller turnout there was lots of new faces on track. I even met a couple of fellows who had done the drive down from Queensland for it. Pre-race rain dampened Sunday a bit and brought the hordes of mosquitos out enmass. I often wonder what bloodsucking creatures like this eat when there is no photographer sitting in the bush.

It also means a little bit of exploring new spots on the way home. This year I stopped off Middle Brother on the way home and had a look around the Blackbutt forest. I spent the night at Seal Rocks, camped at Treachery with the dingos. I didn’t get to see them though I did see their paw prints in the sand on the dunes. From there I headed to the Bombah ferry Stopping off to see the tallest tree in NSW, a 76m flooded gum called Giantis. I crossed the ferry and down the coastal road to Tea Gardens and Hawksnest a nice little detour.

The full gallery of race images is up over on the Outer Image website here

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Redass Downhill: Lithgow

Redass Downhill: Lithgow

The state finals of the NSW Redass Downhill was held a couple of weeks ago out on the Pony Club trail at Lithgow. It was a big weekend for me as it was on the back of a corporate race that we shoot called The Great Adventure Challenge in the Royal National Park. 

Whilst the rain held off for the Great Adventure Challenge it greeted us as we drove across the mountains on the way out to Lithgow. All things considered though the rain was very welcome as it’s been months since we have seen any around Sydney way and to be honest it was more like a drizzle the any serious rain. Thankfully this type of rain doesn’t really affect but it does offer a great atmosphere in which to shoot. I love shooting in this type of weather.

Most prosumer/professional cameras are perfectly weather-sealed and have no trouble being out in rain like this. The main thing to watch out for is getting raindrops on the lens as these will distort the picture. The use of a lens hood and remembering to keep the lens pointed down usually take care of this problem. If not a quick dab with a  lens cloth sorts it out. There are numerous ways to protect your camera if the weather get worse. I always have one of these OP/Tech rainsleeves in my bag just in case. Very simple to use and will still let me use flashes or triggers mounted on my camera. Otherwise, in a pinch most plastic bags will offer some amount of protection so as to be able to get the job done. 

To see the full gallery of images swing over to the OuterImage website here and check them out

 

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Coastal Classic Trail Run

Coastal Classic Trail Run

Once again it was time for one of the trail runners favourite races, the Coastal Classic. It’s one of Sydney’s highest rated trail runs, taking runners along a beautiful stretch of coastline going through the Royal National Park. Being in a national park though the organisers, Maximum Adventure, cap the number of competitors and so it can be hard to get an entry as they sell out so quickly. The Coastal Classic completes the Thermatech Triple Challenge series which included the Jabulani in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Raffertys Coastal Run at Lake Macquarie on the NSW Central Coast.

Although the Coastal Classic may not be the longest of races it certainly presents a good challenge to those who take it on. The trail takes runners up and down the park’s headlands and onto the numerous sandy beaches along the coast of the Royal National Park . Unlike last year at this time, when there was torrential rain forcing the postponement of the race, we had a beautiful spring day, chilly in the morning but warming up nicely as the day progressed. Out on course I set 5 photographers, myself included, positioned to capture the beautiful coastal scenics and the runners enjoying the trails. There was around 1000 runners on course from all different skill levels, some there to run fast and put in the best time they can while others were taking their time and enjoy the day out.

The Triple Challenge has been a great series to cover. Next up for us in the trail running category will be the Bouddi challenge in October. A new race on the running circuit running through the Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast.

You can find the full gallery of Coastal Classic images here If you want to see the images from the other races of the triple challenge you can find the Jabulani images here and Raffertys Coastal Run images here

Posted by Richard in Events, Trail Running
Stromlo Weekend

Stromlo Weekend

I like Canberra. I never used to but it has grown on me over the years. I still have no idea how to get to anywhere except Mt. Stromlo but I’m getting there. I don’t often get down there in Summer and I am not so sure those scorching hot dry days would suit me so well but, being a winter person, the cold blustery days suit me just fine. 

 I arrived late on the Friday afternoon and caught the sunset. With the sun going down so too was the temperature. Martin from Rocky Trail set up a gas heater inside the marquee and we chatted and ate dinner. I crawled off to bed early, keen to get wrapped up in the warmth of my sleeping bag. At some point in the wee hours of the morning the temperature went sub-zero

Saturday:
I awoke to a thick frost covering the car. The chill made it hard to get up. It was the final round of the Shimano GP series though and I have been shooting this series for a few years now. Stromlo is one of my favourites on the circuit there are some great views to be had around the hill.

A couple of hundred people turned out for the race. I got out onto a new section of track on the backside called slippery rock. Although i say new the track itself is old but its new to the race and new for me to shoot. I made my way upward shooting at various locations along the way. At the top of the section I was greeted with a great open vista across to the Brindabella range to the west. 

The full collection of shots can be found here on the Outer Image website

Sunday:
Day dawned warmer but soon cooled off as a cold wind set in. Today it was the Elite Sprint Cup, a new race for, as the name suggests, some of the top names in the Australian XC racing scene. The course was only 2kms long and as I was here to shoot editorials rather than competitor shots I found myself running around a lot more trying to cram in as many shots and locations as I could in the short time. Thankfully it was a nice compact track. One of the things I love about Canberra at this time is the golden blooms of wattle And this short course ran straight through one of the finest stands of wattle trees at Stromlo. It also ran across the 4 cross track and so I found myself running between the 2 sections each lap. It was great to see the impressive pace these athletes all kept up.

The rain moved in as we were packing up. I heard mention that it was snowing 10kms up the road in the hills so I took a short detour (completely in the wrong direction) and dashed up into the Brindabellas. I had all the weather on the way there rain followed by hail followed by sunshine followed by snow. As I near the top of the range the snowfall became quite heavy and started to sit on the road. Since I realised I was no longer going around corners but rather more drifting around them I turned back down the hill and decided to start the long drive home

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events, Landscapes