Tour of California 2011: Zabriskie

Dave Zabriskie

I wasn't having a good day at the Solvang time trial -- fourth time on the same course and you start running out of ideas for 'new' shots. For Solvang, I alway end up somewhere along Ballard Canyon because it has the most variety of the course. You can stick around in the town itself and get two shots -- start and finish -- but I did that my first year and didn't really want to do that again.

I saw Zabriskie was coming soon and I found myself down the road in not a great spot. I rushed up the road to where a tree was and plopped myself down. I liked the spot because the riders would be in the aero bars. I was also shooting very wide as I feel that gives TT shots a different feel. You have a bigger depth-of-field to play with and the rider feels much closer to you.

Shooting wide in a TT can be a little tricky. The riders were zipping by on a slight downhill and they weren't really sticking to a particular line. On the plus side, the descent is fairly technical so the riders weren't going to be tucking their heads down and hiding their faces. The metering in my camera was really getting confused by sun coming through the shade from the tree, so I had to manually dial things in and hope for the best.

I got lucky. Zabriskie came right along the inside line of the road, so I could point my lens right up in his face and get the shot. The hardest thing is not press the shutter too soon -- you really want that moment where they fill up the wide angle.

Podium Kiss

I didn't spend much time this year shooting podiums, but you always know to stick around when Zabriskie is there. For Solvang, he brought his son on stage, which led to a very different 'podium kiss' shot.

For the final stage, Zabriskie engaged in his traditional dousing of the podium girls with champagne, which was prefaced by this Hulk-like scream:

Zabriskie Champage

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