Sydney

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
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.

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
Ryugi Crew

Ryugi Crew

 I had the chance to shoot with some of Sydney’s finest bboys and a bgirl recently, the Ryugi Crew. I had been wanting to organise another dance shoot for a while but things were just getting away from me and personal shoots had to be put on the backburner.

  I chatted with Josh Knox who got in contact with me after i shot with the Cyber Crew. Josh has his finger on the pulse of the Sydney dance scene and got a small crew together for a shoot in the back streets of Sydney. They knew a great graffitied street so we used that as the backdrop.

  I enjoy shooting dance and the dancers are amazing to watch. It’s similar in shooting style to free-runnning in that it is very acrobatic and obviously has deep urban roots. Hoping to expand my dance work more soon and shoot other forms of dance as well. Things are in the pipeline so keep an eye out

Posted by Richard in Dance
SF Super Series

SF Super Series

There are some things that are definitely worth throwing your support behind, SF Super Series is one of those things. It’s actually a collection of challenges  

There’s some great events held in some fantastic locations. There’s the Surf Coast Century, a 100km trail run held on the Surf Coast in Victoria for the, Gears and Beers in Wagga which ties a 130km bike ride in with the local craft beer and cider festival , Big Feet, Little Feet which will see you walking across a car-free Sydney Harbour Bridge and of course the Endure 24, the 24hr crossfit event held locally at Crossfit Manly Vale. Their are plans afoot to try and get more events on board as well..

 Each event aims to raise money to help the Sanfillipo Children’s Foundation in the fight against Sanfillipo syndrome.Sanfillipo is a genetic disorder which is rare and sadly fatal. Children affected with it have a life expectancy of between 12 and 20 years. Although there is no signs in the early years of childhood an enzyme deficiency prevents the body from going through its normal recycling process, causing cellular malfunction.

If you want to get involved swing over to either the SF Super series website here and sign up for one of the events or go to the Sanfillipo Childrens Foundation website here and throw your support to them directly.

 

Posted by Richard in What's going on, 0 comments
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
Outdoor Retailer Australia Show ’17

Outdoor Retailer Australia Show ’17

 I went to the ORA (Outdoor Retailer Australia show) for a day to have a chat with some people and check out all the new gear that is coming to Australia over the next few months. I teamed up with guest blogger Jason Lorch, editor from Tyres and Soles, who wrote the words below. T&S do loads of great gear reviews on their site and I thought this was exactly their cup of tea. 


It was our first time at the ORA show and I only wish we had gone for more than one day. It was on from the 18th – 20th June 2017 at the Royal Hall of Industries and the Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park.

We couldn’t shoot every product as some were pre-production and prototype models, and the exhibitors didn’t want us shooting those, which is totally understandable. We understand that you need to keep a few tricks up your sleeve in this industry. It’s also worth noting that this event is primarily focused on B2B, so business is key here and media although welcomed, are not the highest on the agenda for the exhibitors. Again, we understand and respect that.

But rest assured, we saw a lot and you should all be getting excited about the new products heading your way.

AXISGO (Aquatech)

Aquatech have been around for years making submersible camera housing and other protective gear, at the highest quality. After making very specific products for a certain target market, Aquatech have now jumped into the global market of the smart phone with their AXISGO iPhone underwater case and we managed have a play with it.

The AXISGO is a housing kit that allows you take your iPhone down to depths of 10 metres! It comes in 3 colour choices, with a trigger handle (which was brilliant!) and different housing lenses for different image effects. We saw some of the photos that had been taken with this gadget and the results were astonishing!

AXISGO

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The impressive AXISGO underwater housing for iPhones from AquaTech. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The AXISGO has several different dome options that produce some incredible imagery. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

Barz Optics

Barz Optics is an Australian based family company located at Burleigh Heads in Queensland on the east coast of Australia. They offer a huge range of optics and frame types for any situation. Floating models, kids polarised models, melanin infused polarised sunglass lenses, polarised lenses with bifocal reader, prescription lenses….

New products at the show included their latest floating model, the Polarised Photochromic BiFocal Reader – the Cabo, as well as the new kids floating polarised model, the Grom. They’ve also released a cycling focused model which have been very popular with the cycling community to date. We recommend you checking them out.

Barz Optics

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
Barz Optics had a huge range of their glasses at the stand. Any combination or prescription type can be tailored for. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Barz Optics polarised sunglasses with Bifocal reader lenses! Pic:©Richard McGibbon

LifeStraw

LifeStraw started in 1994 with their first filter that could remove Guinea worm larvae from water. It then evolved into a more effective pipe form in 1999 and is essentially the design you see today. Since then, more than 37 million LifeStraw Guinea Worm filters have contributed to the near-eradication of the disease.

The design is simple, elegant and highly effective at removing 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. It weighs only 57grams and can be placed into your pack or pocket. You can literally drop down to a dirty puddle and suck it up. The effect it has had on third world communities has been hugely impactful.

LifeStraw now have a range of products from the individual LifeStraw, LifeStraw Go, LifeStraw Mission and the LifeStraw Family. Plus, for each LifeStraw that is purchased, one school child in a developing community receives safe drinking water for an entire school year.

LifeStraw

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
LifeStraw. A device that’s helping millions of people around the world access clean water. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

UQUIP

One of the main purposes of attending the ORA 2017 show was to discover new brands. One such brand is UQUIP. A small company based in Bad Bramstedt in Northern Germany (close to Hamburg). They produce a range of camping products such as stools, beds, portable storage, mats and lights.

What impressed us was the detail and the level of quality in their designs. One item caught our eye straight away. It was a teeny weeny folding chair, that looked as if it would fit a very small dog or kitten. In fact it can hold up to 150kgs of weight yet it only weighs 250grams! So we just had to test this out for ourselves.

Although I’m nowhere near that weight, it felt incredibly secure and rigid under me. It was also surprisingly comfortable.  We could see this stool being incredibly handy for many uses especially for the professional photographer who needs to carry a lot of stuff around and sitting in the same spot for long periods of time.

UQIP

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
UQUIP are developing some very high quality camping products. Definitely worth checking them out. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
No, there was no forced perspective or crazy Lord of the Rings photo magic going on here. The stool really is that small and incredibly strong. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
 

THERMAREST

We’re fans of the THERMAREST products, namely their air mattresses and sleeping bags but we haven’t had much exposure to their tent range, so were happy  to see their Tranquility tent on display.  The tent itself appeared well built and had all the quality you would expect from this brand. It is aimed more at car camping, so don’t expect anything lightweight that you can carry in your pack for multiple days.

The 4 man tent weighs in at 5.19 kg. If you’re looking for high quality and not concerned about weight for those short trips to your favourite car camp spot, then you’d do well with these tents. Thermarest offer a range of 4 to 6 man tents, shelters and footprints.

THERMAREST

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Tranquility tent by Thermarest. Perfect for car camping. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

The Tent Field

We headed out to the tent area where a lot of tents were set up, in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
One man tent from Zempire. A New Zealand company making it’s way here to Australia. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Easy Up tent by Outdoor Connection. Super-easy to set up but you may need a degree in mathematics to pack it down. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
We are a big fan of the fly style shelter. So easy to set up and you can arrange them in a variety of ways, depending on the location and the weather conditions. This was from Outdoor Connections. Sometimes simplicity is the best. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

PELICAN

Pelican have been around for years and are best known for their virtually indestructible travel cases. What caught our eye this year was their range of drinkware and cooler boxes. The Traveler Tumbler can store hot or cold liquids at the correct temperature all day, and come with a narrower bottom section so they can fit into most vehicle holders.

We were told that the cooler boxes can retain ice for ten days!  One of the Pelican exhibitors recently came back from a ten day fishing trip where he had fish stored in the box but was dubious about opening it up and releasing all the cold air, but he took a gamble and opened it anyway. To his surprise there was still ice in the bottom, after ten days!

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The new cooler boxes and travel tumblers from Pelican. They even come in colours other than black and white. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

ONE PLANET

The reason we didn’t shoot as much as we wanted was that we got stuck at the One Planet stand for longer than expected. We’re big fans of One Planet and any opportunity to catch up with them is a bonus for us. One Planet are based out of Melbourne and have been manufacturing outdoor equipment for more than 30 years. They have a reputation for creating gear that’s incredibly tough and durable.

It’s was great to see how the One Planet range has evolved over time. Offering more and more products each year, from their beloved backpacks and sleeping bags to tents, jackets and footwear. They still remain true to their core market and their consistency for high quality, super-tough gear can be seen across all of these products.

Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Stiletto High Visibility pack is stunning and was a pleasant surprise from their usual dark blue or red colours. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
It’s been great to see the One Planet brand and product range grow over the years. Check out the little kiddies range, bottom right. The One Planet range at the ORA 2017 show is a testament that they are providing solutions not only to the hardcore adventurer but also the daily commuters. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The new down jackets coming out are impressive and we’re very excited to see these hit the shelves. The two models on offer were targeted at typical Winter conditions through to high altitude mountaineering conditions. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
ora 2017
The Cocoon Sleeping bag from One Planet. There are some very nice features on this bag. Small details that make a big difference when out in the field. We particularly liked the way they have designed the baffle as to not get caught in the zip. We know only to well how frustrating that can be. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

 
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
The Duffle bags come in a range of sizes and colours. We think you could literally hang a small car off the straps of these. They’re called Tuff Nut for a reason. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
One Planet admit that the “4Midable” tent, blurs the line between a tent and a fly, and defies pigeonholing, we’d have to agree. It’s simple and versatile. The tent can be pitched using trekking poles to save weight. You can add the footprint and an optional inner mesh, turning it into a bug-free retreat for two. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
There was a new shoe on display at the ORA 2017 show. It had a mix of an approach shoe with its lacing system and rubber toe area and a hiking shoe with its  grip and aggressive tread. We really liked it. Pic:©Richard McGibbon
Outdoor Retailer Show 2017
No show is complete without a few freebies. Yep, someone has to look like a plonker, so I took that award out on the day, but thanks to XTM Performance for this awesome little free gift. A beanie with a detachable head light. Pic:©Richard McGibbon

All in all it was a really good show with a ton of interesting brands and products on display, I just wished we’d come for more than one day. If you want to find out who was exhibiting, then just click here for the full list of exhibitors.


Author: Jason Lorch

Born and grew up in Wales but now a fully fledged Aussie. A passionate mountain biker, hiker and general nature addict. He also fancies himself as a bit of a muso and enjoy a good craft beer every now and again (probably too often).

His blog at Tyres and Soles will inspire people to get out there and experience first hand, the natural wonders that surround them. and is well worth checking out. Be sure and go get lost in the stories and reviews over at Tyres and Soles.

 

Posted by Richard in Events, Gear Review, Outdoor Kit, Product, What's going on