Orange County Triathlon 2008

September 29, 2008

This past Sunday we went to the Orange County Triathlon. This event happens to be a fairly short drive from our house. We left our house at about 5am, we were met with a very dense fog on the drive over. It was actually frighteningly dense, we couldn’t see 2 feet in front of our car. When we got to the course, which partially took place on beautiful Lake Mission Viejo, the fog was settled on the lake. It was amazing that the athletes were able to find their way through the fog while they did their swim. You could hardly see the buoys. Luckily, the fog started to burn off by the time the first few swimmers entered the transition.

 This was the inaugural event for this particular triathlon. I find it unbelievable that Orange County didn’t have an official triathlon before, the whole area is full of athletes and many other triathlons take place in various areas of the county. Mission Viejo has a rich history in endurance sports, most notably it is home to the finish line for the road race course at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. You can tell that the city is very proud of this piece of it’s history, as the finish line is permanently etched into the street, properly named Olympiad, with a plaque and other accents that let you know the Olympics were there.
This was one of those rare events where the conditions were great to photograph in. With the exception of the dense fog in the morning, the sun shined the rest of the day. It ended up being hot, which might not have been so fun for the athletes. After all this was an Olympic distance and there were lots of hills throughout the course. However, I think the sunshine provided us with some excellent shots, even if we had to underexpose just slightly. We hope this event comes back next year as it was definitely a highlight in our event portfolio.
For more race coverage check out Bryan’s race report at Amateur Endurance and check out some shots we took at the event in our gallery.

Long Beach Triathlon 2008 and What I’ve Learned

September 22, 2008

This past weekend was the Long Beach Triathlon. The event took place where most events take place in Long Beach, off of Shoreline Drive near the convention center, aquarium and the Queen Mary. This particular event is our fifth triathlon that we have covered and their are a few things that I have learned since we started.

In covering a triathlon you must first be prepared to wake up early. We arrived at 5am to this triathlon, before most of the athletes even arrived. The picture to the left was taken of the Queen Mary somewhere around the time of 5:30am. Why wake up so early? Well if you want to cover an event, particularly if the event has a course of some kind, it is a good idea to stake it out first. Whether this be the day before the event or in the hours before, this is a good way to find where the best place for good shots are. Bryan and I walked down to where the run course would be and found a great spot for him to take shots of the runners with the Queen Mary in the background.

The second thing I learned; be prepared to risk your life. Now obviously if you have to choose between getting the shot or possible death, please choose life. However, don’t let a little danger get in the way of a good photograph. For example, I staked out a position on a road just ahead of the transition. It was a 2 lane road that was coned off for the event, it was also on a steep incline. People transitioning would ride up the hill to the bike course on Shoreline Drive and when they finished their second loop they would come to a sharp turn which led right back down the same incline. I positioned myself between the cones near the the top of the incline. This was not a problem when bikes were coming out of the transition, as they would have to had taken a wide line to come anywhere near me, however, the bikes coming back from their second loop into the transition for the run almost always took the line of the cones. I want to make something perfectly clear, I was NEVER in the path of an oncoming cyclist, I don’t recommend that. That is not only dangerous for you but very dangerous for the athlete, and the last thing you want to do is put the athlete’s life at risk. There was a chance though that if one of the cyclist didn’t take the turn right and crashed I would have been crashed into. I always tried to have an area that I could move into if that happened. Fortunately that didn’t happen and I came away with some great shots even if the other spectators thought I was crazy.

Usually events such as triathlons are covered by photographers hired specifically by the event coordinators. These photographers are usually given access to the best spots along the course. Don’t think that because you are not the official event photographer that you can’t take the same shots in the same places. At this particular triathlon I got to take almost the same shots as the “official” photographers because I strategically placed myself in these areas. As long as you are not blocking these photographers shots than you can usually get away with being in the same spots. At the finish line there were two “official” photographers sitting at either side of the gates. I simply placed myself behind them, I stood in the middle so they didn’t block my view of the incoming runners and I snapped away. As long as I moved out of the way when the runners came closer to me no one had a problem with me standing there. Don’t assume that everything is off limits, unless the race director tells you otherwise, don’t be afraid to get the shots you want.

Overall, this event went very well. We got a lot of good shots out of the event that we have posted in our gallery. Check out Bryan’s race report at Amateur Endurance.

New Stuff!

September 16, 2008

If you haven’t already noticed we have put up a few new things on the site. As you can see we have completely changed the look of our home page. It is still a work in progress, we hope to be adding more features to our page. We have also added a video that we made in one of our classes, enjoy a few of our photographs and listen to the sweet sounds of our friends Last American Buffalo.

I have also added a few new-old pictures in the gallery. You can find them in the Black & White and Horse galleries. We will be quite busy the next few weeks. We have several triathlons we will be covering locally and in San Diego, so keep checking back for updates. Also Bryan has been writing a few articles for our friends at Amateur Endurance, check out his article Weekend Warrior and his series on Mountain Bikes.

That’s all for now, see you next week for the Long Beach Triathlon!