The velodrome is always a great way to tune up the photo skills. I've got two new camera bodies (7D and 50D), and while the ToC got me well used to them, you don't get to experiment as much when you're at a big race like that. So, I was off to the Testarossa Velodrome Challenge at Hellyer to give it a spin. It's a lot more liberating when you're trying to take a bad shot, just to learn another way of doing it wrong.
Cari Higgins gets a big photo for winning the Keirin and racing mega-tough in the Points race. Laura McCaughey and Higgins started accelerating heading into the final lap. McCaughey drifted up the lane, Higgins let out a yell and hit the deck. The officials decided to restart the race with five more laps. With a new rear wheel and a side of track rash, Higgins not only restarts, but also leads out the final sprint for her teammate Shelley Olds (above). See the blood that on the right knee? See the ripped arm warmer? See the mismatched rear wheels?
Anway, enjoy the photos. It was an interesting challenge shooting, but not being able to really kneel. Sometimes I like something like that to make me think differently. It was my very first time shooting Madison and I sucked at it. Every prediction I had for where the hand-sling would occur went wrong and I was far too optimistic about being able to shoot it wide.
I'll be at the American Velodrome Challenge this weekend, will you? They'll have the winner of the women's race at Nevada City Classic, Shelley Olds, plus the only rider tough enough to hang with Lance and Levi, Ben Jacques-Maynes. Then there's the rider who really showed he isn't scared of Lance by doing this, Roman Kilun.
I'm also flying doing to photograph the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix for some NRC action. We'll see if the recently re-promoted Rahsaan Bahati can continue his streak there. Hopefully Brooke Miller will be there as well to go for another win.
Velodromes may not give you a variety of scenery but they do give you a variety of lighting. There was a period of about 10 minutes where the lighting was just perfect as the sun hit a low angle across the track and made it look like I had two strobes.
As for the racing: pros Ben Jacques-Maynes and Daniel Holloway tag-teaming to lap the field in the points race, a one-lap Flying Madison with a National Champ pairing of Holloway and Olds, and Olds beating Holloway to the line in the scratch race. All on a lazy Saturday at Hellyer.
I had some new equipment to test out so I went out to Hellyer to break it in -- I hate going to a big event like Interbike with stuff I've never used before. I took mostly junk as I was practicing some funky techniques, but I do like how I Triplets of Belleville-ized Roman Kilun.
Thanks to Shelley and Nicky for putting on the event -- beer and sausages always goes with photography.
It's just me and the pets by ourselves this week so I took my dog Ninja down to Hellyer Velodrome to hang out with the geezers who can kick my @$$ Masters and shot some photos of the National Track championship going on there. They don't allow dogs in the infield so I was more often watching after the puppy than shutterbuggin', but it was all good fun and free beer.
This isn't the first time the Friday Night Series has been under the sky of summer fires, but I haven't seen skies like this. I tried to keep the editing on a lot of these to a minimum so you can appreciate the Spooktrackular-ness.
Last night was a Velogirls/La Dolce Velo sponsored Hoedown @ Hellyer. Hoedown + Velogirls + Hellyer = Hernando in a pink cowboy hat and Velogirls skinsuit. The Friday Night Series keeps getting bigger and bigger -- gotta get there early if you want the tasty food.
I went to great lengths to not take the same photos I took last week.This meant turning off my flash a bunch, less work with the telephoto, incorporating more of the track into my photos, and holding my camera upside down on occasion so that the flash would bounce off the track (example 1, example 2). It took some adjusting to fire with the left hand while zooming with the right, but it seemed to intensify the streak-effect in the non-focal area of the image.
There was lots of fun as expected at Hellyer Velodrome on Friday Night. FresnOakland brought the beer, burgers and beats while Hernando brought the fro and PG-13 commentary. Also, plenty of fun cycling stuff, like watching ridiculous accelerations from VMG/Felt's U23 team Daniel Holloway, aka Mr. Pan-Am Silver, the Women's Celebrity Death Match Chariot Race, Dan Smith tear up the Master's scratch race, Shelley Olds dominate the women's field, and a match sprints that pitted Montano Velo vs. Montano Velo and Alto Velo vs. Alto Velo for the final Peterson/Gio showdown.
Plenty of good practice for the photos as you get every lighting condition from daytime through sunset to night lights.