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Le Tour de Mont Pleasant

And, there off!

My first bike race (there’s probably a more technical term for these events)!  I should qualify that.  I’ve seen this race briefly before.  But, this was my first attempt at photographing it.  They started at about 10:30 am in downtown Mt Pleasant.  I expected this to be a high energy start, maybe even a wheelie!.  But, it was a slow, deliberate start – almost leisurely.

Rounding the corner in Shepherd

That may be due to the length of the race, 128 miles.  I was out with a my photog friend, Randy.  We had been talking about getting out to shoot it for about a week.  I had to shoot a state golf tourney (in the rain) on Friday and a Regional baseball and softball Saturday.  But, I really wanted to try my hand at shooting a cycle race.  So, I got my butt out of bed early on Sunday for a new experience.   I had no idea of what would be good angles, but I did want to shoot a panning shot.  That proved to be very difficult.

This is probably my best result.  The idea is that you move the camera along (pan) with the racers and shoot them at a slow shutter speed.  As you can see, this technique blurs out the background and is suppose to leave important parts of the racers sharper (follow the link on panning above for a better example).  I found in my early attempts that I wasn’t panning near fast enough to keep up with the cyclist.  I sped up on my later attempts (above), but still need practice on holding the camera steady during the panning, and getting the optimal shutter speed. Practice, practice practice!!  I love what the slow shutter speed does with the tires though.  Randy had warned me about choosing good backgrounds.  You can see here that the partial treed background ends up being too distracting in the picture.

All that being said, I did learn and had a great time.  I can’t wait until next year (unless I can find another race sooner!).  Did you shoot any of the race?  If so, please share links to some of your shots below!

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