This last week, some buddies and myself decided we wanted to get away from the cold of New England and go ride down south in North Carolina for the week of Thanksgiving so we packed up everything we needed, hooked up to the camper and off we went.
Along with the three of us, there were four other families coming down to the same area we were so we were going to be in good company with people we enjoyed being around.
The drive down seemed to take forever, and towing the camper did a number on our wallets as we stopped to fill the truck what seemed about every 20 minutes. We continued on through, deep into the night as the traffic vanished and the road became wider and more open and I may have snuck in a minute or two of some Z's where Zach and Mitch stayed awake most of the night.
I woke up around 5:30 in the morning when the GPS had told us we were within in an hour of our destination, and to Mitch saying "About time you wake up, you lazy SOB!" I sat up and as I looked out the window to see the land passing me by, it felt as if we were in a new world; the houses looked different, the land was flat and you could see for miles across the fields that enclosed the road, and most importantly, there were Waffle Houses.
Every year we would usually make at least one trip down to North Carolina to ride various tracks, and last year we went to one sand track that was recommended to us by a friend and it was unlike any track we had ridden, great flow, great sand, safe jumps and really demanding and technical all in the middle of nowhere behind a guys house in Vanceboro, NC.
We loved it so much we knew we had to come back, the track owner would go out of his way to talk to us and see what we thought of the track and see if we wanted anything changed, and he even offered to have us come back and stay in his own home! So thats exactly what we did, we wanted to ride that one of a kind track, and even if we had to drive 12 hours we were gonna go to West Craven MX, home of the Dirt Wizard Joe Sawyer.
We rolled into the track around 7:00 and as we got out of the truck the hot and heavy air hit us like a truck, much different than what we had back home, and we took off our sweatshirts and began to walk around checking out the dirt we would be riding for the next couple days. Shortly after we were approached by a young man who at first seemed to be speaking a different language, using words that I had never heard of, and referring to us as "y'all". His name was Hunter and he was the track owners brother and he had offered to groom the track for us before he went to school, in case we wanted to ride while he was gone. He had something which we wouldn't easily find back home, generosity, and the fact he would go out of his way to make sure we had a nice smooth track to ride on even if it messed up his days schedule. We all were in need of some rest and food so we declined and off to waffle house we went.
With full stomachs and deprived of sleep, we went to work on setting the camper up and doing some bike work and as the hours passed the families would roll in one by one all with the same goal, to ride dirtbikes and have fun.
Mitch, Zach and I all became friends through the passion of riding and what we also had in common was the fact we were balling on a tight budget and didn't bring a large amount of food and with thanksgiving in the middle of our vacation we had planned on going to either KFC or Popeyes instead of bringing all that food and cooking it. Luckily because of how great the moto community is, when thanksgiving rolled around, the Bailey's, Nettleton's, Jenny and Ron had all cooked an amazing meal right out of their campers at the track, and you would have sworn they were in the comfort of their own homes with the food that they created. We all sat around the fire with the essence of exhaust and turkey filling the air as we shoved our faces full until we couldn't eat anymore.
As I looked around I knew this was one of the big things in life I was thankful for, being able to have these great people around and help each other out without asking for anything in return, all sharing that passion for the same sport was something special and I just took a deep breath and took it in and realized how great life was. The fact I was able to do this, and enjoy it with some of the best people was something I had to cherish and take in, life has it's ups and downs and this was certainly an up.
As the week went on, we shared many laughs, stories and foods with each other, and Dirt Wizard and his family all joined in and we were able to combine our various types of cooking and ways of life with one another and even turn up some dirt and hit some jumps.
So about this photo; I took this of Zach going up the face of a jump on Thanksgiving day and it personally interested me due to the lines in the face of the jump. Anyone who has ridden knows the challenges ruts can cause, and for people who haven't ridden, they're caused from tires repeatedly going over the same spot and just wearing it down, and once those ruts are formed, you must follow them with both wheels, so you don't get sketchy and out of control and go off the jump sideways by accident. The lines of the ruts cause your eyes to follow them from the bottom up, eventually bringing your attention to Zach, the main focus of the image and you can almost just imagine how technical the face is from the small ruts going up it.
The whole trip was eye opening, I had been down South before but never had the chance to talk to people about the things that they did that were different than us Yankees, and hear about what they thought of the North and still at the same time all come together and be one big family brought together by dirtbikes and a man who built an awesome track in the middle of his backyard, that is far from a backyard track, but a high caliber track. It was a week full of berm blasting, good times and even some crashes but most importantly good memories that you couldn't put a price tag on.
Thanks for everything and having a killer track see you soon Dirt Wiz,
Your favorite Yankee
It was a cloudy Saturday in October. The air was light and dirt was flying through the air as the bikes rode by, it was just another day at the track for me, taking photos and videos of people doing some awesome things on dirtbikes, what more could I ask for?
This is my job and I love everything it throws at me, the people I've met because of it and the places and things I've seen wouldn't be possible if I wasn't Cole Beach Photography.
As the day came to a close, the sun began to set, the sound of two and four stroke engines drained away, the dirt settled and natures soundtrack began to take over at the track. Some great girls I had met from taking photos at the races had still been at the track though, and had asked me to take some photos of them down the road at a beautiful location for some fun fall photos, but as we walked around and took a couple at the track, we knew we had to stay and just do the whole photoshoot at the track because that's who they are, thats their background and what defines them as a a group of best friends.
Laura, Cailin, Kylie and Noelle are some of the most unique and down to earth people I have ever met, traits that seem harder and harder to come by in this day of age. They care about everyone around them, and look out for each other like I've never seen before, but also love to have fun and live their lives to the fullest.
Their personalities may actually be pretty different among the four of them, but I think that's what makes them clique so well. I had the honor of meeting the four of them at a race in Marshfield, Massachusetts in the middle of the summer, they had come up to me and asked for me to get a photo of them and their friends and we immediately vibed well and from then on it's been nothing but laughs and good times.
The clouds began to open up and the sun peaked through, and with it setting I knew the shoot was going to be a good one, so we walked around the track and my eye was searching for things that would show the track and the girls at the same time because that's who they were, that's what united this friendship so with every photo I want to tell a story to the viewer and this was one of my favorites from the afternoon.
When looking at this photo, it fills me with excitement and a smile appears on my face, the track is a familiar place with amazing memories of my own being made here. Then when I think of all the memories the ladies have from the track, from the pro nationals to the local races and even the unique J Day races, it's all be special to them and they've been able to meet awesome people from it, and its shaped them for who they are and that's really interesting. You look into the background and you see the sun setting, on the beat up and rough track that just had a day of riders hammering on it, and for anyone that rides it brings that great feeling of seeing those rollers and lines burned into the sand. Not only does it bring good memories and emotions to other riders, but it almost shows that the ladies "rule" this place as they stand in front of it all, with smiles and body stature that suggests their relaxed and almost like they're in control.
The whole afternoon was one of the most enjoyable shoots I've done, being so relaxed with such cool people made my job that much easier. As we went through various spots and poses, they would pipe up with some helpful and insightful tips to only better me as a photographer which makes me see just how caring these girls are. They began to offer suggestions of things I could do, and things they liked and what they wanted to see more of, yes the photos were of them so they wanted them to look good, but sometimes you can just feel that genuine feeling from people and that's exactly what I felt.
Some poses like the ones in this photo were fun and relaxed, but we were also able to do candid, in the moment, photos which are a style I very much enjoy, with capturing emotion in the moment. We even would change it up and try serious looks only to last a couple seconds because I would laugh because they thought they looked tough but in reality they aren't mean and nasty like some people can be.
Overall with this photo my goal was to create a relaxed feel by not directly posing them just having them stand where I wanted and told them to smile. You can see with how they are all standing, all different poses, true, beautiful smiles and leaning in towards one another, the bond between them is apparent. As your eyes pan to the background you see the track which brought these girls together, and this is the place they have spent many weekends at, building life long friendships and memories that'll never fade.
These ladies are some of the best people I have ever met and am honored to call them my friends, thank you for everything guys.
Till I see you next Noelle, rock it in bama and don't forget about your favorite C class racer.
When you think of New England what's one of the first things to come to your mind? The cold winters? The large variety of wildlife? Maybe the New England Patriots? Some meanwhile may say the beautiful fall foliage and I can agree.
I for one am not a fan of cold winters, and the amount of snow that comes with them. I love snowboarding and being at the mountain but besides that, I dread that time of year but the season leading up to it, is definitely my favorite, fall.
With the cool breeze, thin and light air that surrounds us, beautiful colors spanning from yellow to orange littered among the trees, it's a season that's hard to dislike. There aren't any of those high 90 degree days with high humidity, just the happy medium with temperatures ranging from the 50's to high 60's. You don't have to pile on layers of clothes just to be able to stand outside for a little, throw on a sweatshirt and you'll be perfect, and for any motocross racer that you ask, they'll say fall is their favorite time to ride.
Perfect temperatures and the beautiful colors make for some awesome race days that aren't in need of umbrellas to shield people from the beating sun of the summer, or multiple coats and jackets that people may wear in the early spring to deal with the cold. For most riders, these are the last few times of riding that they'll be able to get in before they have to put the bike away for the winter, at least up here in New England so we always try to make the most of it.
I've always wanted to get a photo that really represented New England well and I think this one does just that.
I went out with my pal Dylan to our local pit, and just wanted to play around with some things and practice because I always strive to improve my work and get better so anytime I have a free moment I try to go take some photos.
The sun was on it's way down, on the early October day and we rushed to get any last shots we could while we had the light. My favorite time to shoot to get that beautiful warm feel is always when the sun is setting, so I was looking for something that sparked my eye with the light and being able to capture it with Dylan as well.
This particular shot wasn't totally planned, Dylan was trying some jumps that he had found and I was attempting to shoot towards the sun with Dylan jumping in front of me but as I looked on the screen of my camera, what I saw didn't wow me so we both stopped to talk for a second and so Dylan could catch his breath. He sat on top of one of the tallest mounds of sand in the pit, and I was probably 12 feet below him on a shorter pile, and probably 30-40 feet away from him.
As he stopped and we began to talk, I saw the opportunity for a beautiful image. The trees behind him were still being hit by the everlasting light that was existent as the sun set, and that light really brought out the warm, fall feel in those changing leaves. I waited for Dylan to look at me and snapped away, putting him the lower part of the frame so the trees behind were still visible, and underexposing the shot so instead of seeing a lot of light, you're able to focus more on that warm feel that the colors provide.
Theres just something about getting a shot like this, its rewarding to see it and put it together and to create something that can actually give off a mood and feel just from looking at it, and that's one of the big reasons why I have such a passion for photography, images like these. Some may not understand and may believe it's all in the camera or all you do is "press a button" but as a photographer you control everything, you are solely responsible for making the image that is captured by your camera, everything can affect it and its up to you to decide how it appears and what it represents. It's an art.
For motocross, this is a sight everyone loves to see; a dirtbike and those colors on the trees, it represents the best riding time of the year, something you can only find in New England.
Thanks for reading!
What a crazy past few weeks..
The week of August 21st was one that was filled, every single day with something different which is a big step in my career. I've always had stuff to do, but not a different shoot everyday of the week, but my weekend was the most busy.
I had contacted companies about shooting more pro nationals for them and provide them with photos that they would be able to post online and do with them as they wish, and some had contacted me back and then I applied for a press pass and I was off, and August 26th the pro national was in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
My buddy Corey was going as well to attempt to race it, but I didn't wanna travel together incase something happened I didn't want to be in his way by staying there all day long, so I decided to drive myself out.
It was a 14 hour drive and I've done longer before, but never alone, or even in my own vehicle where nobody else could switch off with me and I could rest while driving, but I was up for the challenge.
I loaded up my little Colorado with enough clothes and food to last me the weekend and left right around 3:30 friday morning and drove straight through to Indiana, only stopping to use the bathroom or fuel up. I got to the hotel Corey, Tyler and Nicole were staying at right around dinner time so we all walked across the street and got some dinner at Cracker Barrel and then went back to the hotel to prep for the next day of racing. (which included a quick dip in the hot tub)
We woke up right around 6:30 and got dressed and had some breakfast and off to the Ironman National we went.
The weather was great, not too hot and pleasant and sunny, and the track was so interesting with huge jumps, large amount of elevation change, and even a racer, from overseas who has never competed in the pro nationals over here, came to race the event, so the hype and excitement in the air was apparent.
As practice started, all the other photographers posted themselves all over the track in order to capture that morning light and the best looking shots, but as 450 B Practice finished up, it was like a photographer call had been heard down by the starting gate and they came by the masses.
Wondering what they were doing, I then remembered that Jefferey Herlings the Dutchman would be in this practice session and everyone wanted photos of him, and so did I.
I went down to the gate and saw the whole line of riders ready to take the track, but a swarm of blue vests surrounded Jefferey, it was like the other riders weren't even there everyone just wanted photos of the 784.
He had a different attitude about him, he didn't soak in the attention like some might, or even acknowledge the cameras and people surrounding him, he had a very serious feel emitting from him, he was here to do a job and prove a point for all of the guys who race overseas.
He did just that, by going 1-1 on the day and totally sweeping the Americans on their home turf.
It stirred up the pot of emotions and angered plenty, but as the riders finished their second motos, the top rider in America Eli Tomac had just won the 450 class national championship so his celebration was the focus of everyone, draining out Jefferey in the backgrond with chants from the crowd of "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
Another national was done, I had gotten quite a few decent shots, and even was able to send them right from my camera to the people throughout the day who had asked me to take photos for them. I learned a lot, and was able to make new connections and overall had an awesome day.
The day was from over though.
I got in my truck as the celebrations concluded and started driving, and no not back to the hotel but back to Connecticut.
I had gotten hired to shoot the NEATV race the next day in Planfield, CT, and the only way I was getting there on my budget was driving through the night, something I had little experience with as well.
Most kids growing up usually attempt to be rebellious and will pull an "all nighter" but I guess I was never one of those kids and always needed my sleep, so going 24 hours without any sleep was going to be new and probably tough.
I drove on my first tank of gas until around 10 pm in which I figured it'd be a good time to get a quick bite to eat. I was feeling great, jamming out to some music I felt as if I would have no problem going all night.
Oh man was I wrong.
Once 2 am hit, I was ready to pass out, and not wanting to take any risks I pulled into a rest stop, got some gas and I ran around the rest stop. I figured with some blood flow it'd help and it did, for only an hour in which I pulled over again and repeated the same process. This continued until about 6 am when I hit the jersey turnpike and started to recognize where I was and the sun began to come up. I had an energy drink or two, which I rarely drink, and put the hammer down through New York City.
The sun coming up definitely helped, but doing the same thing over and over for that long amount of time without rest was brutal, and in order to prevent myself from dozing off I would call people because talking kept my brain going. You can only talk to people for so long though and it was still early on a Sunday so there wasn't many people to call.
I was about an hour away from the track when I had to pull over one last time because I started to doze again, and did my lap around the rest stop and told myself I was almost there, and that this is all for my career and my passion.
My father I consider to be one of the most motivated people I've met, when he sets his mind to something and wants it, he will succeed no matter what, so I just thought about what he would always tell me, "If you set your mind to it, you can do it"
I got to Central at 8:30 and then started another whole day of shooting, doing what I love and being able to make money at it. What more could I ask for?
I absolutey love photography and being able to preserve those special memories and even see some of the coolest things in the world, along with travel and see parts of the country I never had before!
This is my passion, and I'm able to wake up everyday saying I love what I do, and to always continue learning and improving my work.
Thankful for it all and here's to the future
Hey there guys-
This article is about how I was able to shoot the Unadilla Pro National on Saturday, with the granting of a press credential pass with the help of the famous Mr. Paul Buckley. (Thank you for all your help Paul, it's meant the world to me!)
Unadilla is a national round my dad and I have gone to for the last three years, it's the second closest round and we love the national scene and seeing the racing live and in person. This year we had planned for the same thing, to go and drive three and a half hours to go hangout for the day and watch the excitement.
After the Southwick National, I started looking for ways to be able to take photos at more rounds, because of how great of a time I had at Southwick. After talking to some people, Paul helped me out and wrote me the letter to MX Sports so I could gain access inside the fence and shoot the racing up close, and upon the email back from MX Sports stating my credential had been approved I became overjoyed to be able to have the chance to do this again.
Then I realized something; I wouldn't be able to hangout with my Father as much throughout the day like we always had in years past. (even if one year resulted in us having an argument and leaving each other for the day) I was bummed because it's always a great day hanging out with him, and hearing him get super excited about the racing. "Cole did you see that?! He was flying!" or "If I was out there on my bike right now Tomac wouldn't stand a chance" I texted other friends that we go riding with and asked if they were going, to see if they would want to hangout with my Dad for the day so he wouldn't be alone, but in the end he actually wanted to go alone so he didn't feel like he was in anyone's way or holding anyone back from what they wanted to do, so it all worked out.
The day started off as a beautiful Saturday morning, the air was filled with the one of a kind smell of race fuel that racers all love, and thousands of people, talking and cheering, only to be drained out by the roaring of those built 4 stroke engines.... and Steinke's onetwofive banger. Practice went by smoothly and when the motos came around, the other photographers started to talk about the threat of rain coming through. Luckily I was prepared and brought a poncho and plastic bags.
Clouds slowly creeped into sight and covered the sun, creating an overcast and dark feel, and I knew I didn't want to be caught in the middle of the moto without my rain gear on, so I put all my batteries and memory cards into plastic bags, and a camera bag over my camera and my poncho on. I was the only idiot out there who had my poncho on at the time and got plenty of looks, but once that 450 moto started, the sprinkles started and people began to run to cover.
10 minutes later, the rain was coming down so hard you couldn't see 15 feet infront of you, the race was still in progress and it was a slop fest everywhere. All the media personel hid under a big Red Bull tent in the middle of the track, but me along with some others were still out in the rain. I loved every second of being poured on and all I could do was smile, I had never taken photos in the rain before and it made for some really unique photos with the rain splashing down on the riders. Then the race was ended early because of the fact lighting was spotted, and the day was placed on a delay until the lighting passed.
I went back to the truck and my Father and I exchanged stories about how the day had gone and listened to the radio for when racing would resume, and a couple hours later we finally got the message that the second motos would start back up and be shorter than usual with a little bit of a shorter track. So I walked down to the starting gate to see the start stretch under water along with the starting gate. Multiple racers were actually stationed in sitting water in their gate and then upon looking down to see where I was standing, off the track, my feet were in mud too. The place was a mess and it wasn't just the track that was muddy, the spectating area was slippery and muddy on top of it.
Now I mean no disrespect to other sports or hobbies out there, but there are very few to no other sports that would still finish the day in the conditions that these guy do, and yet they are some of the most underpaid athletes on this planet even after what they go through. Not just the racers, but as I looked around into the spectating areas, it still looked as packed as it did before the rain started coming down, the fans in motocross have such heart and love for the sport, that the weather wasn't going to prevent them from watching some awesome racing! The whole moto community has such a passion for the sport that I have not seen in any other sport, the racers, the fans will do it all no matter what the circumstances are and that's something I admire about the sport that we all care about, no babies allowed!
Once that gate dropped, the racing did not disappoint, those forty racers gave it everything they had for twenty minutes plus one lap on the muddiest track I had ever seen, and I got to capture all of it with my camera! I had never taken photos of a mudder and tried to capture the pure struggle and determination in the riders as they went by me each lap.
Now to the photo I selected. (Finally)
The 450's were the last moto of the day, they got the track as rough as it gets, and on top of that, they machines that they're racing are much more powerful than the 250's, so when they get tired out there its that much more dangerous to hold on to if they get a little whiskey throttle.
As the checkered flag waved, the racers all came off the track in relief, the day was finally over, and they could get out of their mud drenched gear and hopefully clean up. I was positioned right at the finish line, to capture any emotions that would become visible, and as Matt Bisceglia came across the line, you could see how tired he was in his body positioning, and so I followed him with my camera as he went by. He ripped his goggles off, in a last exhausted action that seemed to drain the last little bit of fuel he had in the tank. He then turned around, as seen in this picture and seemed to look at me, the big weird looking photographer in a big green poncho, and you can see the look of exhaustion in his eyes, and the mud over all of his body tells you that he was just though something quite dirty and tiring. That look is a look of relief, a look of all those days and hours of training paying off, although he may not of won, he still made it through the moto and finished in 7th, after how his first moto went of looping it out while in a podium position, I'm sure he was happy to stay up in the second moto.
His body was beat, it was drained and it needed rest, and that single photo tells me all of that just from how he's holding himself and his facial expression.
These guys go through the gnarliest of conditions and do things other people wouldn't. Even in ankle deep mud, they go unreal speeds on dirtbikes and deserve all the respect from all athletes for being truly bad dudes.
Onto Budds Creek,
-Cole Beach Photo
Hey guys been a little while since I've done one of these! Been so busy and taking more photos than ever and learning more day in and day out, cant complain about any of it though!
About a month ago I was racing locally when I had a little tip over and when trying to save myself from hitting the ground, I outstretched my arm and upon impact the force drove my elbow right out of place, again.
The same injury had happened 3 years prior at the same track, and I knew when I hit the ground that a hospital trip was in my near future. I got up and picked my bike up and since I couldn't pick my arm up to pull in the clutch lever, I had a flagger push me down the hill so I could shift my bike into 1st and ride off the track, to see my buddies Corey and Nicole who brought me to the race, shaking their heads and running back to the van.
I got back and once my jersey came off, you could see just how bad the elbow was out of place, so we rushed to load everything up, and get out of there, and back to the hospital I had visited three years ago.
Friends and fellow riders all came over to check on me and help me load up, and send their best wishes, which is something that really is awesome about the moto community. I was just racing against these guys and then they all come over to check on me or even go out of their way to call me to see how I'm doing, so to all you who did that; Thank you guys.
Once everything was put back into place, the doctor told me I had to take some time away from riding to recover, which was the smart thing to do and I agreed.
I still was dying to be at the track every weekend like I was before, so what better way to do that then bring my camera and provide people with photos, and work on my photography skills!
Week in week out I was at the races, still seeing all my buddies even though I wasn't on my bike it was everything I could've asked for with the situation I was dealing with. I took thousands of photos, spent long nights editing and sending the photos to everyone, and learning new things each time.
Now to explain this photo though, one of my favorites.
This past weekend my buddy Zach invited me to stay up in his camper and come hangout and take photos of the Jday race in Maine, and of course I said yes.
I was able to meet some really great people up there as well, his buddy Richie and his girlfriend Kate, and Zach's friend Marissa. We all hungout and had a great time, creating memories and friendships that'll last forever. Sunday was race day, and girls being girls, told me that they really wanted some photos of them with their men on the starting line before the race and I liked the idea, and wanted to see what kind of emotion I could capture.
We took some normal posed shots, with the two, arms around one another and beautiful smiles. You always have to have those shots, everyone loves them and they're easy. What I strive for though is different, the photos that will really stick forever and create an everlasting impression, moments that most may not see. I want that one split second that can just tell such an amazing story.
That's what I got with this photo.
Kate is extremely supportive of Richie and his racing, she was up there all weekend just to be there for him and cheer him on. She cooked him meals, and always made sure he wasn't doing anything too stupid. (whats up yo) Truly a special girl.
On the line we took the photos of the two together and as the start of the race got closer, all the other friends and family of the racers began to leave the starting area, to make sure they wouldn't get run over when the race started. Kate and I were about to leave when she started to say goodbye and good luck to Richie and I made sure to pay close attention, I set the exposure on my camera as close as possible and I held my camera low right in front of his fender, and began firing away. I captured moments of Kate talking to Richie and then when she kissed his helmet, something symbolic to me.
They may not of actually kissed on the lips, but there was more meaning to it. You could tell this was something they do before every race and it's part of who they are together and unique for them. Richie even puckers his lips as though he's going to kiss Kate throught he helmet, and the connection between them is strong enough to really make that kiss seem to connect to one another.
Racing can be dangerous and they both are fully aware of this, knowing that each race could be life threatening, so they want to make sure the other knows just how much they care about one another before going out and taking huge risks. This is something that Richie could think about while he's out there racing, and when things get tough and tiring, he may just remember how caring Kate is and how much they love one another, something to keep him pushing.
A moment like this will last forever and tells such a unique story. I'm stoked I was able to preserve it and provide them with this photo.
Thanks for all the rad times.
Ask me about photos
This blog is going to be a little different. I'm going to talk more about the whole day I was able to experience this past weekend versus just how I took a photo.
This past Saturday was New England Motocross' ultimate day, the day all the fans could come see the big dogs come race the local track that anyone who is involved in moto has been to, the day the local stars could show their speed against the guys who get paid millions, the day us New Englanders get to earn our respect as racers for racing on one of the toughest tracks.
I had always wanted to be inside the fence, close to the action, when shooting this event, shooting from the outside in can be a pain and people can get in the way. Luckily this year I was able to, with the great help of New England's most established and famous photographer. He has been shooting this event since 1976 and you could say he knows the ins and outs of it- he even has a part of the track named after him!
I was beyond thankful he gave me the chance to shoot, just to be in there is an experience in itself. On top of that, my best bud was attempting to qualify with a fast lap time to be able to race the fastest 40 in the country, something he's come up so close on.
I knew the day was going to be different, I was going to be shooting my first national, and even though Corey had broken is wrist 3 weeks prior, he had the determination and mindset to be able to do it. He had been talking to me the whole week before hand about how he's so excited and he was confident he was going to be able to do it.
He was right.
For the first time ever Corey Ridel qualified for the 250 class main event putting him on the gate with the fastest 40 riders in the country. When he came off the track, I ran over to him and so did his cousin who has seen him go through the hard work, and we both hugged him in pure joy and relief that he was finally able to do it. We felt Corey's happiness and we could relate, I felt as if I had just qualified myself because of the fact I've trained with him and been through a good amount of it with him.
He rode back to his van, where he family was stationed. I followed up even almost cracking a tear of happiness, as I saw each one of his family come up and congratulate him and hug him. Slowly friends would come through, close friends, some friends he hasn't talked to much recently. Anyone who was in the sport and knew Corey, knew this was huge and how happy he was. The whole group just stood around him as he tried to cool down and relax, in awe and smiling. As a photographer those are the moments i want to capture, only thing was, i was doing the same.
To see someone who you care about, succeed at what they've worked for is truly really cool. It is unlike any emotion I've gone through, and I think everyone in that circle could relate. I wasn't even thinking about taking photos at my first ever national anymore, it was just all about him. As the time passed more people came by to give their kind words and I decided I better get back to my big day!
To see all the riders you watch on TV, rip up your local track so stinking fast just helps you understand just how much of another level these guys are on. If you've ridden the track, you know what it takes to go around and complete a lap at whatever pace and then these guys will just make you look that much slower. (In my case waayyyyyy slower)
Then it was time for my best bud to lineup for his first ever professional moto, so I made sure to be down on the gate with him to take some photos so he could remember the big day and what was going through his mind at that time, and even be able to relive that amazing memory. I then talked to him a little bit and told him to just go out there and have fun that's what it's all about, thats why we started racing; because it is truly one of the most enjoyable things to do.
As the gate dropped I couldn't help but smile for Corey, just imagining what was going through his mind. His dream had finally come true! Then I realized I was able to go take photos of his dream and all the other pros so I ran off and took a very large amount of photos because of how excited I was to be there.
This photo I selected was from Corey's second moto start. I positioned myself on the side of the start stretch with my 300 to get up close to corey to see the intensity before the start. As the 30 second board went up, all the riders mechanics left the gate and had to walk to the mechanic's area, only way to get there? Walk right in front of me. I waited for them to all get by but it seemed to never end! So I decided just to get ready and look through the viewfinder and shoot away.
This was right before the gate dropped and someone had walked in front of the camera, but their arm had lifted enough to make it so I could still see and focus on Corey. The guy's body on the left and his arm on the right frame corey in, bringing your attention right to him, actually turning out pretty cool! You can see the determination and concentration in his body positioning as he prepares to dump the clutch and start the race.
The banner behind him signifies how professional and important this race is, and you can slightly see the rider next to Corey doing the same as him, signifying strong fierce competition. A very strong photo if you know Corey's story, and what he's been through, worth a thousand words and memories.
Proud of you buddy, lets work and make it happen for the rest of the year.
Thank you for everything.
This week I changed it up a bit, and took a self portrait.
I'm always trying to play with light, and shoot from the shadows and thats exactly what I did.
I was sitting home alone and wanted to learn more about the flash that I had, but had used very little, so I figured I'd attempt to shoot a self portrait with my dirtbike and see what I could do.
With some inspiration from the gear ads i see for Fasthouse Moto gear, I wanted to create a serious feel, that wasn't set up in a studio (I don't have a studio anyways) and show the hard edgy feel that moto can bring. I set my camera up on a tripod, and my light on a stand with an umbrella to soften the harsh light. After setting my focus and exposure where I wanted, slightly darker with a smaller aperture to capture my bike behind me in more detail and not completely blurred out, I set the self timer on the camera and sat in a chair in front of my bike.
After seeing the results, I would keep redoing it, whether it'd be moving of the light to not cast a shadow on the bike or just to change my posing, it took a while due to i had to take my helmet off each time to set the camera up and look through the view finder to make sure my composition was correct. I tried seeing what the light would look like on a higher power, then a lower power.
Not completely satisfied I turned to a more familiar light, my phone.
I propped my phone up against a bucket so it'd have the light directly on me, from below. After some adjusting to make sure the bike was seen and no shadows were blocking my gear, I got the shot I was looking for. The light creates a separation from the darkness that surrounds me, and alllows you to even see through my goggles, and see the serious look in my eyes.
At first you see me, all geared up, some may not know what the gear is for but as your eyes wander you see the bike behind me, which answers that question. I'm up close to the camera to create that gritty, alternative feel of being up close and personal, yet stern and to the point.
Sometimes the light you know, can be easier to use and create that photo you're looking for. I wanted to capture a photo that portrayed a mood onto the viewer and used an off camera light to light it, and I think I came up with something pretty cool!
Thanks for reading!
I made it to the second week; and was only a day late!
Thank you again, for reading this, it was pretty cool to have people read the last one and tell me they enjoyed it (even if they were lying).
This week I didn't shoot as much as I should've, sadly. Just swamped with stuff going on and getting ready for racing on the weekend. I did really want to shoot Saturday, and when I woke up was let down, seeing the rain come pouring down outside. Then I thought to myself; "I've never really shot in the rain, or even on a cloudy, gloomy day so let's try it!" While trying to decide on what to shoot, I also thought about how I had little experience with shooting girls, and had been wanting to shoot some more to improve. I reached out to a friend, who I met through an old job and asked if she would like to model for me. Hesitant at first, she accepted and later that day we met up.
The rain had stopped for a couple hours, and only clouds filled the late afternoon sky, the sun was setting, but no sunset was visible which was upsetting but I figured it'd only teach me more by shooting in situations that weren't perfect. We went to a field, not far from my house and walked through the tall, damp grass. One thing I knew was going to be difficult about shooting girls or anyone in general was posing. It can be hard to instruct, and the person having their photo taken may feel a little awkward, but I chose to attempt to create a more laid back environment without such formal poses. I tried to just hold a conversation and make small talk to relax my subject, maybe giving a helpful tip for posing here or there. I had to adjust my white balance to account for the cloudy sky that was surrounding us, which brought a sense of warmth back to the photos that wasn't there, before the adjustment. I shot at a medium shutter speed, with my 70-200 at 2.8 and got this shot of Morgan actually walking away from me, a more candid style shot, instead of a normal shot of her just smiling looking at me. It makes you wonder, where is she heading? What's back there? Causing your eyes drift the the background in search of an answer. I edited it to have a more matte, and vintage look, to bring your eyes to her hair and jacket, which have the most color in the photo.
Was the shoot worth all the ticks we found on us?
In my opinion yes, Morgan, probably not so much.
Till next week-
Hello to anyone reading this, first off I appreciate you taking the time to read this and visit my site, it means a ton! I've decided to start a weekly blog, about what I've been working on, and what I've shot and attempted to make a part of my photos that I took.
This week I shot a good amount, but I want to talk about the photos I took on sunday.
I race motocross every weekend across New England, and it's something I love to do, even though I may not be any good at it. I've surrounded myself with great people and even better memories, and even some broken bones along the way but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
This past Sunday I had a race and in my downtime while other classes are racing I'm usually hanging out, resting, or watching, and I brought my camera so of course I had to shoot a little bit. The sun was setting as the day dragged on, and it created a glare through the heavily wooded area that surrounded the track. Small light spots appeared in the dirt of the track and as the riders went by, the dirt flown from their tires would glimmer in the light and I knew it'd make for some really neat looking photos so I ran back to the truck and snapped away.
I underexposed my shot to accommodate the light that was passing through the trees in certain spots, and exposed for the one light spot in the corner I set up in. Laps went by and I kept shooting, trying different shots, and exposures in order to create a warm and dark feel.
I chose this shot as one of my favorites because of not only the composition, but the light, and how it is highlighting the roost thrown from the bike. The trees in the background seem to grab your eyes and lead them down to the action below, and create a feeling of being deep in the woods, where it is so quiet and tranquil, yet when when your eyes lead you down, you see a dirtbike; something not so peaceful and quiet.
The rider is sliding through the berm just fast enough to where the dirt being thrown up is pretty significant, and I waited for the right moment to start shooting, and this shot was the last of three I took that second, where the most action was happening and it was the most appealing to my eye.
Overall; playing with light in the afternoon sun was my goal of this week and I'm happy with how the photo came out! Thanks for reading, onto next week, if I remember of course.