Friday, June 30, 2006

Kobzarenko Champion of 2006 Tour de Beauce


Let's step back from all the drama in the Tour de France right now and recognize some of the riders that make racing in North America so exciting.

Valeriy Kobzarenko is a tough and powerful rider that has earned success on both the road and track. A former Ukrainian National Champion, his soft-spoken demeanor is replaced with a singular focus, once he pins on his race number. The hard roads of Eastern Europe were his training ground and this 3-time Olympian uses the toughness he learned, to become a rock-solid and dependable racer. He can be counted on by his Navigators Insurance teammates to bring the speedsters to the line for a mass-sprint, or drive the bunch into the gutter on cold, wet and windy days in the north of Europe.
- Source Bio

Kobzarenko jumped into the yellow jersey on stage 4's 15km time trial by stomping down a sub-21 minute time, which was second only to Danny Pate of TIAA Cref. Navigators put 3 riders in the top 5 on stage 4. Kobzarenko would hold on to the yellow jersey for the overall win and splash some champagne.

Source: tourdebeauce.com

During the Tour (if there's enough riders left to compete), you might want to keep up with what the Navigators team is doing:

07/05/06 07/17/06 National Road Festival - Silver Springs, PA USA NRC 1.2
07/12/06 07/16/06 Cascade Classic Bend, OR USA NRC 2.3
07/15/06 07/23/06 Tour of Qinghai Lake CHN UCI 2.HC
07/15/06 07/17/06 Tour de White Rock BC Superweek CAN NRC
07/19/06 07/19/06 Gastown Criterium BC Superweek CAN NRC
07/21/06 07/23/06 Tour de Delta BC Superweek CAN NRC
07/22/06 07/23/06 Owasco Stage Race - Owasco, NY USA NRC
07/22/06 07/22/06 Mt Holly - Smithville Invitational GP, NJ USA NRC
07/23/06 07/23/06 Freedom Tour of Long Hill - Stirling, NJ USA NRC
07/24/06 07/30/06 The International Tour de ‘Toona - Altoona, PA USA NRC 2.2

Back to some photography tidbits:

My gear for this Tour de Georgia ITT shot was a Canon Rebel XT; Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens; and a Canon 420EX flash. This is an example of what I've show before - get low and get the face in the shot. Not really a tough shot to grab with the right gear if you're also in the right spot.

Did a little post-processing too. Usually, I just make some minor adjustments in Adobe Lightroom Beta 3 and export the file as a JPEG, which I upload to Smugmug for hosting. Smugmug is the best photo hosting solution I've found. Check out their unlimited photo storage and sharing - FREE Trial of SmugMug.

I did Lightroom thing here too, but I also decided to toy with it in Photoshop too. I learned a new technique for sharpening the other day.

New Sharpening Technique: In Photoshop CS2, Dulicate the Background image from the layer menu; Select the new duplicate layer; Select Filters-->Other-->High Pass; Set radius to 10 - click OK; Select soft light and presto, you've got yourself a sharpened photo without the "funny edges" that you often see with the Unsharp Mask technique!

Not sure what I'm talking about? Want to understand post-processing with Photoshop a little better? Consider a good book by Scott Kelby - the best Photoshop teacher I've read. My personal favorite is The Photoshop CS2 Book for Digital Photographers.

I'm open to comments on how the sharpening looks - also boosted the saturation in the blues for a little more punch off the background.

G'nite, the Prologue starts in a little over 8 hours!

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