Australia

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.

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
Scott Graham: Mountain Biker

Scott Graham: Mountain Biker

I was at the new Trailshare MTB trails on the weekend to shoot some product and some portfolio shots with Scott Graham. Scott is currently leading the competition in State Downhill series and needed a few shots to pump up his portfolio for his sponsors. We thought we should also tie in a product shoot for Tyres and Soles shooting the new AMS bike strap, a silicon strap designed to hold your tyre repair kit and spare tube on your bike.

Trailshare and its cabins

We also had an exclusive tour around the new bike park on the NSW Central Coast called Trailshare. Chief trail-builder Josh Paul Smith pointed out a few of the features on the black trail for us to session. It’s still a work in progress though it already boasts 27kms of trails of varying degrees of difficulty. We spent the day on the Black run but I am looking forward to seeing the Red trail, very picturesque from all I hear. to top it off it has its own set of cabins tucked away in the bush. The trails start right at the doorstep making it the perfect little weekend getaway for riding.

It’s a great area and I look forward to getting back up there soon and checking out some of the other trails.

If you need some images for a portfolio or some new images to upgrade your profile send me a message and let’s see what we can make happen.

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Portraits, Sport, 0 comments
Downhill Nationals, Awaba

Downhill Nationals, Awaba

The weekend saw the first of the Downhill Nationals rounds for 2017. Since it was at Awaba (which is not that far away from me) and I figured I needed to get my eye in again after the christmas period I headed up for a couple of days shooting. The plan was more to just play around and try some new things than do any serious shooting. I missed the Friday practice due to other commitments but after hearing that the temperatures hit a toasty 45C I was quite happy I missed it.

 Despite having shot at Awaba on numerous occasions it was the first time that I had ever shot a downhill race there and the first time I did a complete track walk-through. I love shooting new tracks because all the angles are new and fresh. It’s also good because when I need to shoot here again I know where to go to get the good shots.

Events like this where I am not committed to give me a chance to try different techniques. I played a bit with panning and blurred shots this time too. It’s not something I get to do too often as I usually need to see numbers to identify the competitor in the photo. 

You can see the full selection and purchase your favourite images here on my website. Just put your number into the search box at the top or click the view all tags button beneath the search box and find your number that way.

If you have an event that you would like covered swing on over to Outer Image and touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events, What's going on, 0 comments
The Jetblack 12hr Mountain Bike Race

The Jetblack 12hr Mountain Bike Race

The final mountain bike race for the 2016 Rocky Trail Entertainment XC season was the Jetblack 12 hour. This year it was held at Mowbray farm MTB track near Picton in the southwest of Sydney. It was a couple of years since previously shooting my last XC race there. Though the course was basically the same, weather over the last month or so had altered the terrain around it.

The main change in the features around the course was the missing lake. Heavy rainfall of the previous weeks managed to wash away a dam, draining the lake in the middle of the course. Rain had left the track over-saturated. More rain overnight had also added to the puddles, making some sections of the track more like water crossings. Although the previous night had been another wet one, the new day dawned windy but otherwise the weather was great.

Terrain along the track varies quite a bit. It heads through open fields with some nice views across to the city, crosses and drifts along a small creek that was once the lake and heads off into a young pine forest. The wet weather had closed a couple of sections of the track making the course shorter. However, this just meant faster laps, bringing the riders back in front of our cameras more often.

At 10am a mass start sent mountain bikers racing off into the fields. The harsh light in the open fields below the start line meant shooting there was tricky. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a few clouds came rolling in and softened up the light a bit. I followed the track in the same direction as the riders were headed, stopping when I came across shots that I liked. By mid afternoon I had made it probably halfway around the track. I realised the best locations to shoot the sunset would be in the fields and dams back near the start so I packed up my kit and headed back in that direction.

Nightfall saw me playing with my lights around the lakes and puddles. By using a mix of flashes and dragging the shutter to create long exposures I was able came up with some interesting effects. When water was added to the frame I threw reflections of the riders lights into the mix. I always have trouble balancing the riders lights with my flashes.  The problem is, I end up losing portions of the bikes due to over-exposure caused by the riders lights. Exposing for the riders lights is tricky as no 2 riders seem to have lights of the same brightness. Practice makes perfect though and each time I am out there I seem to get a little bit better. The good thing about 12 hour and 24 hour races is that I get plenty of practice and plenty of chances to get it right.

Below are my picks for the race. The full gallery of images that Gil and I captured can be found over on the Outerimage website here

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Stromlo for the Shimano GP

Stromlo for the Shimano GP

And yet again, though this will be the last time for a while, it was back to Canberra. This time it was round 4 in the series of this year’s Shimano GP taking place at Mt Stromlo Forest Park. 

We went down on Friday afternoon and sat around having dinner together with the Rocky Trail race organisers Martin and Juliane. It was a nice relaxing evening catching up and talking through the race season so far. Then off to the car to set up for the night.  The Saturday dawned chilly but not frosty like the previous weekend’s Rollercoaster, no frozen puddles this weekend. There was no brilliant sunrise though just a flat grey sky.

I had the option of getting a lift to the top and walking down or start at the bottom and walk up. I decided on the bottom as I wanted to shoot the riders among some of the beautiful wattles that were in bloom down there before the sun burnt through the clouds and made the light too harsh. Unfortunately, this meant that all up my day was spent walking uphill and shooting riders as they came uphill, not usually what I would normally choose. As it was the soft cloudy light stuck around for most of the day so I could have done it the other way around.  Over the rest of the day, I slowly made my way uphill making the most of the soft light by shooting in the trees. There are some great views around the track which makes Stromlo one of my favourite to shoot. I tried to include these in my shots as much as possible (no point in having these views if I don’t use them).

At the end of the day, I ended up near the top at Echidna Pass shooting the riders as the came through a gap between a couple of big boulders. Having shot there before I count the gap as an old favourite of mine. Gil finished off his day shooting in the trees below me on skyline which was great as it meant that I could get a lift back down the hill.

We didn’t hang around for too long afterwards but drove back North and headed out to Bungonia Gorge for the night. A couple of lookouts there overlook a slot canyon down in the valley below. Plans are already being made for an excursion down into the canyon.

Below is a small selection of the shots from the day. You can visit the full race gallery from Gil and I and check out the photos here. Remember if you raced over the weekend you can download your images for free thanks to the folks over at Shimano, just send us a message over on the Outer Image website and we shall check you off the list and throw you the password.

 

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events
Stromlo Rollercoaster, the final round.

Stromlo Rollercoaster, the final round.

 

It’s hectic weekends at the moment as I flit from race to race. Not that I am complaining mind you, I love travelling round and visiting a new place each weekend or revisiting as the case may be. This time it was back to Stromlo in Canberra for the final round of Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Fox Rollercoaster.

With three tracks running the Rollercoaster covered a large section of Mt Stromlo. We went down on the Friday so we could have a bit an explore around the area. We drove out west past Cotter Dam and along Paddy’s River to the space station at Tidbinbilla. We spent the night camped up along the river. Snug as it was wrapped up in the sleeping bag it was an icy morning with puddles frozen and a layer of frost over everything.

Saturday was practice runs at Stromlo. Gil and I took our cameras and headed off to the vapor trail or, as it was known on race day, the Camelbak Track. Gil took to the top half while I explored the lower half. I was quite keen on getting a few shots of the big wallrides in action plus we were just doing a bit of recon for shooting locations on race day. Not nearly as many people were hitting the wallrides as I had expected but I did manage to get a couple of shots. With locations scouted I started on my way back down heading via a field where I knew the kangaroos gathered and snapped a few shots. The sounds of music further down the hill lured me on to the dirt jumps where I met the guys from backbone BMX and did a few shots with them to finish off the days shooting.

Early Sunday morning and apparently the temperatures hit a chilly -4. So I awoke to yet another frosty morning. I don’t mind the cold temperatures but it does make it harder to get out of bed in the morning. Race day all went smoothly. Gil and I shot at the locations we had scouted the day before. Gil got some great shots of a drop up top while I shot lower down on a berm I knew of. I even managed to get a few more sneaky wallride shots in.

A huge congratulation to all those place-getters and an even bigger one to Michael Vanos and Vanessa Thompson who won the male and female elite series. You can, as always see the full results on the Rocky Trail website here. All the images are available for viewing on the Outer Image website here and don’t forget to download your shots if you raced on the day.

A huge thanks to all those who made the series as wonderful as it was. Top of the list is Martin and Juliana of Rocky Trail Entertainment without whom we wouldn’t have a series in the first place. To the fine folks at Fox racing and Camelbak for sponsoring all the races. To all the caretakers that maintain the tracks that the races are run upon and of course to all the competitors who are the soul of the series and who make each event so much fun

Richard

Posted by Richard in Bikes, Events