Jetblack 24hr

Jetblack 24hr: James Estate

Torrential rain and howling winds were what preceded the Jetblack 24hr this year. For me it occurred as I was driving to James Estate winery, the location of this year’s race, for those who had arrived earlier and had already set camp it meant destruction of tents and marquees as gale force winds tore through the camp.

With this in mind it was great to see morning dawn crisp and cool. All signs of the afternoon before had been cleaned and the campsite was filling quickly with racers and supporters alike. The got off on schedule with a great field full of familiar faces. Gil, my colleague at Outerimage, set off in one direction and covered the first half of the track while I went and covered the second half. I had shot through this half quite a bit but I had ideas of different angles and shots that I hoped to improve upon. As the sun rose so did the temperature and humidity.

I stayed out for a while after the sun had dipped below the surrounding hills. I found myself back at an old favourite spot which is a classic view of riders, vineyards and the setting sun trying to capture the lights of the riders bikes. After a quick dinner back at camp I went back out though I stayed close to the camp. Since the camp was well lit and, although I chose a dark corner, I hoped my flashes wouldn’t have to much of a detrimental effect on the riders night vision. I covered my flashes with with some coloured gels and played around with different lighting.

After a short sleep I headed back out for the early morning light. Gil and I swapped track halves and I found dead myself in a section of vineyard that was new to me. I’m always amazed at the stamina of the 24hr solo racers and although there was definite signs of fatigue creeping in on many there was also determination showing as well. After only a couple of hours sleep fatigue was starting to sink it’s claws into me too. I drifted around finding some great spots and getting stuck in others where I couldn’t find a good angle. By my last location I was really struggling to keep awake.

Despite the lack of sleep I really enjoy the 24hr races. I love the fact that we get to shoot in all types of light, from the soft early morning to the harsh midday to the black of night. It offers the full spectrum to play around in.