East Kent Cyclocross & Lond0n Cyclocross League
.An hours drive for me to get to Bettishanger (Fowlmead) - I new the weather was going to be a challenge, rain all day. Normally I would shy away from a day in the rain as it can get expensive when the camera gear gets wet.
I was asked to get some shots from the event as part of the London cyclocross League.
Driving down I was thinking the best way to deal with the conditions. Normally I run around with 2 cameras - short lens, and long lens , couple of flashes, food and water.
I decided to go with one camera loads of water proofs with my fishing umbrella which is 5ft wide when open, I should be easy to spot with that.
Three youth races, under 10s, under 16s, then youth upto junior. Parents running around shouting, "big gear - stick it in the big gear - pedal! PEDAL!"
Bell Rings last lap - race done - whistle blows kids line up - mobile phones and tablets at the ready - instruction flying around "get to the front for the first bend" from parents.
Bell rings last lap - claps and cheers, cuddles and towels - -next the youth race.
With the youth racers done the course fills up with the vets, seniors, and women getting some practice laps in while the youngsters file off back to the car park and home for lunch.
Vets 40 Plus was soon under way. I decided to give the start a miss to find a place further out into the course. When I found a location that I thought might make a good landscape style shot with the riders coming through before the split into solos.
by lap 3 I saw Sturt Spies, Chaingang, had gained the lead position. Seeing this i though I'd better get some decent shots just in case he holds out to win, I then saw Steve Gibson,
4T+ Velo was further back down the main group of riders. I later found out that for some reason he was at the back of the race when it started missing his seeding. during the first lap there was some riders who got involved in a crash where Steve managed to avoid and proffet moving himself up the the main group of riders. It wasn't long before Steve had Sturt in sight.
On the last lap Steve had caught and passed Sturt for the win.
Vets 50 Plus and women's race. A steady smooth ride by eventual winner Jez Parsons
Brighton Excelsior. The women's race threw up a surprise with Louise Heywood MahÉ looking to bag another win when Emily Ashwood WXC World Racing steadily road herself up to Louise for the final sprint to the line to win.
Senior race got off on time with Michael Butler , Hargroves Cycles getting a good start ahead of Alex Paton, Madison, Who had to start unseeded due to the lack of Cyclocross races over the winter season, soon reeled in Michael at Half distance. After catching Michael and passing him. Alex then suffered a puncture, getting back to the pits where there was no spare bike waiting he had to do the old fashion inner tube swapp then rejoined the race.
For Michael that secured his win. "I was looking forward to a good battle with Alex, would of been fun to have a good scrap but fate had other ideas.
Eddie Davis, Dulwich Paragon CC, had a steady ride to be the first junior rider home ahead of Thomas Burnett ,Velo Club Londres.
The comments of the day was very positive VC Deal had setup a fast flowing course that everybody loved, even the bad wet weather added a positive reaction. "Real Mud at Last!"
Bring Studio style lighting to a wet location
I'd already decided to run around with just the one camera as I'd be having to work with a big umbrella to keep me and my camera as dry as possible. For the last senior race I was thinking on using off camera flash, the light was dropping making it possible to use a remote flash gun.
\i had a cheap lightweight folding tripod that had a bracket that could hold a flashgun and a large reflector used on studio monolights. in order to keep the unit dry I use a recycling bin liner which happens to be almost translucent and white, which kind of softens the light from the reflector, similar to having a softbox.
I also had a 2nd flash on my camera that was capable of controlling and firing the remote flash.
The plan was find a good location, a bend or something that I could make a little dramatic with the flashes. Using the remote flash as a back light on the rider with the on camera flash to drop a little light on the riders face to lift the dull shadows, sort of cross lighting.