Monday, May 08, 2006

J.J. Haedo - Ready to Strike

Here's George Fraser leading out Juan Jose Haedo and Freddy Rodriguez in the final sprint of the '06 Tour de Georgia. At the 100 meters to go mark, Fraser was giving it all he could but Haedo (left) was too much and simply out-sprinted Fraser for the stage win. In a post-race interview Fraser call it a "fair and square" sprint after expressing his disappointment with second place finishes on the podium. Stage 6 was the only stage this year that a rider from a continental team won.

About the shot: I like this shot. I like the intensity of sprints. Originally, I was unhappy with my positioning for this part of the stage. However, a shot like this would not have been possible from the other side of the road. The final couple hundred meters of this stage were enlosed by cattle gates and covered by sponsors' signs. Additionally, there was a slight left hand bend and uphill slope for the finish. Here, I was literally leaning on the 100m to go flag pole and out across the barrier. Because of the left turn in the course the riders hugged the barriers all the way in on every pass of the circuit. I actually had to pull my camera in on one pass to keep from striking a racer. What was good about it though, when the riders round the bend I had a straight-on shot of the sprint. I didn't have a lot of time to shoot it though. The other side of the road would have given me a longer approach to shoot more frames but I never would have gotten the shot of the sprinters coming at me like this.

As an aside, congrats to J.J. Haedo for another first place finish at the Sunny King Criterium on Saturday, May 6. Expect to see J.J. racing across the pond soon. You can check out the full results of the Sunny King Criterium here. Here's another shot of J.J., doing an interview before the final stage and his sprint victory.

To digress a bit further, you can now reach the Cycling Shots blog at www.cyclingshots.com. The new contact email is contact@cyclingshots.com (very original, I know). The blogspot address is still in use as well. Expect a full move to the new domain later on this summer, along with gallery access to the photos you see here and many more. If you've got any suggestions or comments for the blog feel free to let me know - on the blog comments or by email. Additionally, if you know of something worth shooting in the East Tennessee area (small trail rides are game) or even larger events in the Southeast, by all means buzz me. I'm tentatively planning a trip to the NORBA Showdown at Sugar Race in June. I'll keep you posted. Until next time. Cheers!

3 Comments:

Blogger Frank Steele said...

My favorite thing about that shot is the herd spread out behind Fraser, Haedo, and Rodriguez.

How about more information on what equipment you're shooting with? I shot 5 stages of the Tour de Georgia, all as a spectator, with my d70 and (most frequently) a 28-200 f/3.5-5.6 lens. I also got some shots around the podiums with a 50mm f/1.8.

I wished for a faster and longer zoom, but my results were probably 10x better than last year with my point-and-shoot. On several stages, I felt like the only way I could have done better would have been to get credentials.

In case anybody's interested, here are my photosets:

Stage 2
Stage 3 - ITT
Stage 5
Stage 6

If you've got your shots collected in a set somewhere, I would love to link them from my Tour de Georgia weblog.

5/08/2006 6:13 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Hey Frank!

I shot with a Canon Rebel XT and a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. The f/2.8 aperture came in very handy on some of the cloudy/rainy days at the TDG this year. I would imagine that your f/5.6 at 200mm left you wanting on some of the stages, resulting in some undesired blur or forcing you to boost the ISO to get a reasonable shutter speed.

I also attached my 420EX most of the time I was shooting for some fill flash. This is really a good idea, especially for single rider shots. Think about it, your light source is above the subject that your shooting and your subject is hunched over - resulting in unwanted shadows on the rider's face and body.

I used my kit lens (Canon EF 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6) with fill flash a little on the Brasstown stage with good results.

Additionally, I only shoot RAW. I was there for 4 stages and took about 850 shots. That's a lot of post-processing, but there's so much more info there than a JPEG file. If your flash doesn't fire because your snapping faster than it can recycle, you'll have a much easier time pulling out the shadows and getting a "keeper" out of the shot with RAW than JPEG. I post-process in Adobe Lightroom Beta 2 and will certainly purchase the full version the day that it's released. It's the best RAW processer I've seen. It's in public beta form for Mac right now and is a free download from Adobe's site.

I'm working on getting all my photos assembled online. I'll make sure and let everyone know when they're ready. Also, I plan on doing a few photo technique blog posts in the near future. Check back in on me.

Looking over your shots on Flickr, I'm actually surprised at the quality of your shots with a 28-200 lens. Is it a Nikon? Generally, superzooms like this aren't really much for quality. But I'm impressed. Also, good coverage on your Tour de Georgia blog. I agree with your sentiment regarding media credentials, although it forced me to be more creative at times. Perhaps next year, eh?

Happy Shooting!

5/08/2006 6:53 PM  
Blogger Frank Steele said...

Yep, it's this one, which I got for ~$300. It looks like most people are going for Nikon's tasty new 18-200 VR instead, these days.

With the clouds rolling in and out, I was messing with my settings all day, and as you say, I did have a few shots where Auto-ISO left me with more grain than I'd like.

One thing I liked about having the superzoom was the flexibility to screw around. The real pros appeared to shoot TTs like this: Super long zoom (400 or more), wide open, nailed in place, and shoot every minute (2 minutes at the end) all day long. Graham Watson's Giro time trial shots follow that technique. (No dis to GW -- if you need a great, consistent shot of every rider, that's the way to go).

The 28-200 is light enough and short enough to shoot handheld, so I could play around with angles, and gives enough zoom that I had a couple of chances at each rider.

5/08/2006 11:55 PM  

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