I attended the 12 Hours of Quantico MTB race this weekend and tried some new stuff while I was walking around the course. If I told you what I tried out, you'd laugh. But it worked. Really well.
All I will say is that I'm finding that photography (cycling photography at least) is a bit like makeup. I know that sounds strange, so let me explain. Women who wear makeup "right" use it to make themselves look "natural." Strange, no? Applying makeup to make yourself look like you're not wearing makeup. Because, no woman wants to look like she's wearing makeup.
So, when I set out to take a picture of a bike racer, I want to make the shot look as "natural" as possible. To get a shot to look natural, it helps to apply some photographic "makeup." But it has to look like there's no makeup in my shots. Get it? And, no, I'm not talking about Photoshop,or cropping, or shooting raw files and manipulating them to death. I really dislike the over-processed look that Photoshop produces. I want to get it right in the camera, the way photographers used to do when they shot 35mm film...before the days of Photoshop. Anybody can use a computer. Not anybody can get it right in the field. Plus, getting it right means I can work faster once the event is over. Nobody wants to wait a week to see pictures of themselves racing.
All in all, it was a great weekend for racing and for pictures. The weather was spectacular, the course was mostly rideable (not too much rain) and the shots are turning out to be fantastic. This one, in particular, looks great! Natural light, a sense of action, crisp focus, and when you blow it up you can see his eyes intensely focused on the trail. In fact, I doubt this guy even saw me sitting right next to the trail as he zoomed by.