I am skipping over some of our Pacific Northwest touring, to which I will return later. First some shots I took yesterday in Montana.
After traveling east from the coast with a stop in Eastern Washington, I continued on to Missoula, MT to visit with my cousin and his wife. Immediately upon my arrival, we trekked up to nearby Marshall Mountain, a sometime ski area which has been repurposed during the summer as a mountain bike course. They happened to be holding the Missoula XC mountain bike race yesterday, which attracts both professionals and other serious riders. I don’t know a lot about the sport, but this event apparently includes Olympians, national champions, and the like.
My interest, as you might imagine, was primarily photographic. I walked maybe half of the 4.4km course backward, and shot as I went. Given the 850 foot elevation change over the length of the course (all of which I covered), this was challenging. Of course, the guys on the bikes did it 5 times and at speed, so I guess I cannot complain too much.
I had a great deal of fun playing with the camera to obtain the effects I wanted. I mostly shot Aperture Priority, but in some spots, I went manual, especially where the camera was having trouble with the shadow / sunlight mix. For example, the shot of rider 46 in the gallery below required me to spot meter in the shadow. The background is blown out, but the rider, and especially his face, is reasonably exposed (and sharp). Actually, he is slightly over exposed, but I think it works for this shot.
I also tried to impart a sense of motion with blurred backgrounds. I put the camera in continuous shutter release mode, where it fires as fast as it can while you hold the shutter release, and then tracked with the riders. Getting it just right is a balancing act between shutter speed (for motion blur, but not too much), aperture (for depth of field), and ISO setting (which combined with the others sets the exposure), but when it works, it really gives you a sense of the motion you feel when you are standing two feet away from the passing bike.
All in all, I am pretty satisfied with the results. It was a great educational experience for me. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the riders were, so I cannot give any names, but they certainly were fun to photograph.