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Siltbeds and Rocks and Brothels! Oh My! – Vegas to Reno, The Long Way.

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For 2009 Best In The Desert (BITD) decided to up the ante on its annual Vegas to Reno off road race.  Traditionally it is a 1 day point to point race from Beatty to Dayton, NV and approximately 500 miles. This time it would be a three day race covering 996 miles of tough Nevada desert.

I had been debating whether I would shoot this race for months.  With just a few weeks to go I committed to covering it but I was really dreading going given how long it would take and no time to pre run the course to scout photo locations.

My trip began on the morning of Tuesday, August 18th with a drive to Primm, NV for Time Trials (qualifying).  The course was laid out behind the fabulous Buffalo Bill’s casino and was almost identical to the course used at the previous race, the Terrible’s 250 at Primm in April.

While doing a little scouting of the course I found a large soft berm in the middle of the track.  On the recon lap I expected the drivers to throw a lot of the soft silty dirt making a cool shot and I was not disappointed, well I was at first.  The turn leading to the lane I was working must not have been very well marked as 7 of the first 8 drivers totally missed the turn and ended up going backwards on the course.  This leads to some interesting situations.

Steven Appleton almost crashes head on with Rick Brabec after going the wrong way on the Time Trial course.

Steven Appleton almost crashes head on with Rick Brabec after going the wrong way on the Time Trial course.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f8, 1/800th.

The issue was quickly remedied with a person flagging the corner and then we were back under way.

Tim Herbst

Tim Herbst

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, F8, 1/800th.

From this spot I could see a straightaway in the background with 3 jumps.  I should have checked out the jumps before the track went hot, as they had changed from the last race and were causing most buggies to buck.  Shortly into the session a buggy bucked really bad on the third jump and did a full barrel roll, which I of course missed.

DSC_3153

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, F8, 1/800th.

Video dude John Tuba had his new camera enclosure out at the same spot and the very first car ran it over and laid rubber across the top.  I expect the video will look very cool.

John Tuba

John Tuba

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, f8, 1/800th.

For the hot lap I moved over to the end of the jumps and next to a nice silty corner.  I could get a good head on jump shot with long glass then grab the wide angle and shoot the racers throwing silt in the corner.

Sam Berri

Sam Berri

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f10, 1/800th.

Pat Dean

Pat Dean

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f9, 1/1000th.

Towards the end of the session BJ Baldwin came through and did a decent skysheelie.

BJ Baldwin

BJ Baldwin

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f10, 1/800th.

I was standing there thinking it was pretty cool when madman Jerry Whelchel came down the lane with his right foot firmly planted.  He kicked the front end up enough to slam the rear bumper on the ground with no tires touching and he even managed to crack the bedside.  Unfortunately there was a lot of dust still in the air from the previous car which hurts the shot but that is just something you have to deal with shooting off road.

Jerry Whelchel

Jerry Whelchel

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f10, 1/800th.

DSC_7361

DSC_7365

With Time Trials finished I drove up to Vegas to edit and transmit photos for my various assignments.  On the way I saw this sign, started laughing, grabbed my camera and almost wadded up my truck while shooting it.  It was worth it since the sign amuses me so much.

DSC_4666

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f9, 1/800th.

I spent Wednesday at Tech and Contingency at the Sunset Station in Henderson.  Tech is a good time to shoot some headshots as the drivers and other personalities of the sport make their way through all the vendors.

Dirtsports Publisher Jim Ryan (left) and BF Goodrich Main Man Frank DeAngelo (right)

Dirtsports Publisher Jim Ryan (left) and BF Goodrich Main Man Frank DeAngelo (right)

Nikon D700, 24-85mm, ISO200, f20, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

Pistol Pete Sohren (left) and Andy McMillin (right) discuss aerodynamic properties of the mullet

Pistol Pete Sohren (left) and Andy McMillin (right) discuss aerodynamic properties of the mullet

Nikon D700. 24-85mm, ISO200, f20, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

In addition to the regular racers I ran into a few celebrities.

Food Network star Guy Fieri

Food Network star Guy Fieri

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f5, 1/200th.

Adult film star Mike Horner

Adult film star Mike Horner

Nikon D700, 24-85mm, ISO200, f18, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

For most races I prerun at least several sections of the course to determine where I want to shoot.  For Vegas to Reno I was not able to prerun so it would be very tricky finding good photo spots.  I knew of a couple spots I wanted to use from past races but for the most part I would be driving to a pit then scouting on foot for a few minutes to find something cool.  I prefer to plan things out but flying by the seat of my pants is its own kind of fun challenge.

Day 1 race map

On Thursday the race would begin 130 miles from Las Vegas in Beatty, NV.  I was up early and made it to Beatty about an hour before the start.  First I met up with Bud from Ion Earth to get my tracking unit.  Ion Earth provides vehicle tracking for various forms of racing among other cool high tech stuff.  For race teams a tracker goes in each racecar and support vehicle.  The crews get real time data on where their race car is as well as each other support vehicle.  My unit is more of a master view showing all of the racers but no chase trucks.  I am very grateful to Ion Earth and the guys there as the tracker is a huge help when I am shooting.  Instead of guessing where the lead car or car I need to shoot is, I can just look at my PDA and find out.  This allows me to be far more efficient in the use of my time.

Bud Gaston and his son

Ion Earth's Bud Gaston and his son

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/4ooth.

Detail view

Detail view

Map view

Map view

During the race my truck would be my miniature command center using any and all data I can collect to decide where to shoot, figure out who is in the lead or who is on the move through the field.

The Media Mobile

The Media Mobile

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f10, 1/60th, on camera flash.

With 45 minutes or so to kill before the start I moved around the start line and staging area shooting head and feature shots.

Jerry Whelchel

Jerry Whelchel

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f4.5, 1/800th.

Rick D. Jonhson

Rick D. Jonhson

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f5, 1/1000th.

The starting line prior to the start of the race.

The starting line prior to the start of the race.

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f5, 1/3200th.

With minutes to go I moved past the Red Bull arch at the start.  I wanted a shot of the first car taking the green flag and planned to later get a shot of the lead car taking the checkers.  Well this did not work out at all.  It turns out BITD uses a light system instead of a flagman.  Typically I am out in the middle of nowhere so I have never shot the starting line at BITD.  I still managed some cool shots but not at all what I wanted.

Andy McMillin takes the green light to start Vegas to Reno The Long Way.

Andy McMillin takes the green light to start Vegas to Reno The Long Way.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f11, 1/400th.

John Herder starts Vegas to Reno

John Herder starts Vegas to Reno

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f16, 1/200th.

After the first three left the line I went back to my truck to head north.  Looking at the map on the way I noticed a road crossing early in the race and after checking my Ion Earth tracker I could see I would beat them to the crossing.  I made a few quick shots of the 3 leaders and got back in the truck again to make my way to race mile 99 and the Cottontail pit.

John Herder

John Herder

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f11, 1/500th.

While driving up the 95 I could see the leader, Andy McMillin leaving a nice dust trail across the desert floor so I fired a few shots while driving.

Andy McMillin leads the race near mile 45.

Andy McMillin leads the race near mile 45.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f10, 1/500th.

I arrived at Pit 3/Cottontail only to be disappointed again.  The Cottontail Ranch is one of Nevada’s many brothels and I had envisioned a really cool shot of racers flying through the dirt with some of the ranch girls in the background.  The contrast of the two worlds would have made a very interesting shot but the ranch is closed so no dice.  There was however a very nice silty high speed turn before the racers came into the pit area.

BJ Baldwin at race mile 99

BJ Baldwin at race mile 99

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f8, 1/640th.

Sam Berri at race mile 99

Sam Berri at race mile 99

Nikon D700, 70-200, ISO200, f8, 1/800th.

Turning around I could also get an away shot of the drivers.

Al Hogan races towards pit 3

Al Hogan races towards pit 3

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f9, 1/800th.

John Herder pits

John Herder pits

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f8, 1/800th.

Shooting in a siltbed makes great shots but there are drawbacks.  Below is my leg with desert camo 30 minutes after arriving at the siltbed.

Desert Camo

Desert Camo

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f8, 1/500th.

The show below shows my view after a car passes.  The dirt typically hangs for 2 mionutes or so.

Silty

Silty

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f8, 1/500th.

While studying the map that morning I noticed a section of the course where it almost drives over itself, at race mile 216 and 265.  I could shoot the cars at 216 for awhile then move up the highway a mile or so and get them at 265 again.  After leaving pit 3 I made my way up towards 216 but while passing pit 4 at Alkali I saw I was ahead of some the racers I wanted to shoot on my Ion Earth tracker so I pulled in for a quick recon.  This was a fairly boring chunk of course with a road crossing and flat pit area.  On the north side of the course was a hill, so I grabbed my long glass and hiked up it.  I usually don’t get to shoot down on the racers so while it was not a very exciting location I could get a unique angle and salvage the stop.

Greg Nunley pits at mile 161

Greg Nunley pits at mile 161

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f11, 1/640th.

Bryan Folks

Bryan Folks

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f9, 1/640th.

Bryan Folks is flagged into his pit

Bryan Folks is flagged into his pit

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f13, 1/640th.

After a few minutes at pit 4 I took a backroad up to race mile 216.  This took me through the little town of Silver Peak, NV.  Being a fan of the movie Vegas Vacation I always wondered where Cousin Eddie lived.  It seems that Silver Peak is the place, after finding it I was looking forward to heading to the local casino after the days racing to play some Rock Paper Scissors and Guess Which Hand.

Cousin Eddie's house, I could not find the buried money

Cousin Eddie's house, I could not find the buried money

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f8, 1/500th.

When I arrive at mile 216 I found a decent soft corner with a little off camber dropoff, nothing too exciting but what I liked was that it was right next to the highway which I could bring into the shot for something different.

Dave Mason

Dave Mason

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f9, 1/800th.

Al Hogan

Al Hogan

Nikon D700, 70-200, ISO200, f11, 1/800th.

At 265 I found a small dropoff with a nice mountain backdrop.

Greg Nunley

Greg Nunley

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISo200, f20, 1/320th.

This section also paralleled the highway and a bit of luck and timing allowed me to get this shot of Marc Burnett in his 7200 truck as one of his chase vans paced him on the highway.

Marc Burnett

Marc Burnett

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f16, 1/500th.

With the course so close to the roads visibility can get very low.

View from my truck on the Silver Peak highway, race course is on the left

Next I drove to the finish line in Tonopah to get a shot of a client taking the checkers but once there I learned they would take a DNF for the day so I went to my hotel to edit and transmit some shots from the first day.

Day 2 race map

Day 2 of the race would start in Tonopah and head south past Goldfield before turning north and finishing in Hawthorne.  At the far southern section of the course was an short narrow tunnel that went under highway 95 at race mile 383.  At only 7 feet tall it was going to be a very tight squeeze for some of the racers, when I saw it in person it looked even shorter, closer to 6’6”.  There was some fencing near the exit of the tunnel so I hung a remote camera on the exit with a magic arm attached to a fence pole.

I then moved back so I could get a head on shot of the cars entering, going through and exiting the tunnel.  I could then pivot left and get an away shot.  The tunnel gave the shots a very unique look and in standing in one spot I could get 5 different looks.

Andy McMillin

Andy McMillin

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f14, 1/400th.

Dennis Boyle

Dennis Boyle

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISo200, f10, 1/400th.

Jesse Jones raced with zero test miles on his new Geiser Trick Truck

Jesse Jones raced with zero test miles on his new Geiser Trick Truck

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f11, 1/400th.

Tim Casey exits the tunnel with little room to spare

Tim Casey exits the tunnel with little room to spare

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f13, 1/500th.

Rick D. Johnson

Rick D. Johnson

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f11, 1/400th.

A few racers came through nose to tail which gave a subtle and cool shot with the outline of one in the tunnel and another out.

Vince Galewick leads Chris Kemp through the tunnel

Vince Galewick leads Chris Kemp through the tunnel

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f13, 1/250th.

DSC_9325


Since Highway 95 was open there were cars passing overhead as the racers came through the tunnel.  As each racer came into view I would glance at the highway to see if a car was coming.  I wanted a shot of a racer entering the tunnel with a car passing overhead but the timing would be very tricky.  I managed to get it just right a couple of times.  Since the racers were coming at me head on they would look to be stopped so I slowed the shutter way down to give some blur to the cars above on the highway to give a sense of movement.

Todd Elam enters the tunnel as an RV passes above on Highway 95

Todd Elam enters the tunnel as an RV passes above on Highway 95

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f20, 1/160th.

Above the tunnel was a small flat spot and ledge of concrete and after shooting the first 30 or so racers I moved above the tunnel to shoot down on the cars.

Ron Whitton passes below me as he exits the tunnel

Ron Whitton passes below me as he exits the tunnel

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f13, 1/500th.

This particular shot is a look I have never seen anyone do and I was excited to get something very different.  As the first racers passed I fired the camera and examined the results.  It looked even cooler than I was hoping.  Add it some graphics and it looked just like the exterior camera view of a video game like Dirt, Baja or my personal favorite Gran Turismo.

Ron Whitton

Ron Whitton

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f13, 1/250th.

Baja Edge of Control 2 screenshot?

Baja Edge of Control 2 screenshot?

Finished with the tunnel I went up to pit 2 at Klondike to check out a danger marker I saw on the GPS about a ½ mile before the pit.  I found a small g out and made the best use of it I could.

Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f11, 1/500th.

As the racers approached I made an artsy wide shot with dust trails as the course cut across the frame.

Steve Strobel

Steve Strobel

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f14, 1/500th.

On my way down to the tunnel in the morning I spotted a 90 degree right turn just off the highway and I went there next.  There were some course workers and other photo dorks there already when I arrived but they were all on the outside of the turn which was also the upwind side.  Shooting from the outside would have the cars backlit.  I tried a few shots from the outside and was not happy with the results so I moved inside.  I would be eating all the silt from the turn but I will always eat dirt and choke on silt on the downwind side if it’s a better shot.

Chris Kemp

Chris Kemp

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f7.1, 1/800th.

On the inside I had the sun behind me but a cluttered background from the various vehicles parked on the outside.  But being a soft silty corner I knew the racers would throw up a wall of silt to obscure them and give me a clean background.

Paul Kurz

Paul Kurz

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f8, 1/640th.

Brady Wisdom

Brady Wisdom

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f14, 1/200th.

Back on the highway I drove to race mile 538 where it paralleled the highway again.  Up course a couple miles I saw another danger marker on the GPS so I drove in cross country to investigate.  I found another small g out with a hard corner right after.  Again not a super exciting location but I did notice some amazing blue skies and white clouds in the background.  The problem was I would be shooting into the sun.  The clouds looked great with the backlighting but the cars would be shadowed but I shot a few of them anyway.  The results were predictably lame.

Rick Brabec

Rick Brabec

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f13, 1/500th.

Being what some of my fellow desert shooters call a Gear Queer I happened to have a truck full of lighting equipment.  I grabbed 2 Alien Bee 1600s and 2 Vagbond battery packs and set them up on course.

2 Alien Bee 1600 lights.

2 Alien Bee 1600 lights.

The ABs would light the cars and get rid of the shadows which allowed me to keep the cool backlit clouds.  I can only imagine what the drivers thought as they rounded a corner and saw some dork in a big floppy hat and camera with a couple of large studio strobes setup next to the course miles from anything in the middle of the desert.

Jason Voss

Jason Voss

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f18, 1/250th, 2x AB1600.

As the racers came though this spot they were fairly spread out and I had a good view of oncoming traffic that would give me a few minutes warning before they arrived at my spot so I used to time to download cards and edit photos saving me a couple of hours later in the hotel.

Just after getting back on the highway I spotted this sign and tried to incorporate a car.  Not every shot works as the below shows.

A truck makes dust next to the hazard sign.

A truck makes dust next to the hazard sign.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f11, 1/800th, SB900 off camera.

On the road again I spotted another hard right turn at race mile 563.  This time the light favored shooting the outside and I still had the great clouds in the sky so I shot wide again to use them.

Chris Kemp

Chris Kemp

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f18, 1/250th.

A quick stop at pit 7 in Mina netted some boring shots so I went to pit 8 at Rhyolite Pass and race mile 646.  The course was flat, straight and boring coming into the pit but then went downhill and around a small hill in a sweeper turn off in the distance.  A short hike later and I was in position on the hill.  There was some great late day golden light shining on the cars and mountains behind them as they came out of the pit and some cool dark clouds as they took the sweeper below me.

Karl Scanlan

Karl Scanlan

Nikon D200, 17-55mm, ISP200, f14, 1/250th.

The clouds would block out bands of the sun on the mountains and it was constantly changing but there were a few brief moments where the far back rocks and the car would be in the sun with a dark band in the middle.  This made for some of my favorite shots of the week but I was only able to get a handful of cars in this light.

Chuck Dempsey

Chuck Dempsey

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO100, f10, 1/320th.

Deciding I was done for the day I had two options.  Go north to Hawthorne and camp or go south to now vacant Tonopah and get a room.  Covered in dirt with a fair amount of post work to do, I chose south.  On the way back the sunset created some amazing colors in the skies so I shot through the side view mirror of the truck to get the skies and a cool view of the highway

DSC_5464

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/150th.


Day 3 race map

Day 3 started in Hawthorne but the course moved south, almost back to Tonopah and I picked pit 3 at Gilbert Rd as my first location.  My plan was to start there then leapfrog around the northern loop of the course at pits 4, 5 and 7 before heading to the finish in Dayton.  My miscalculations were of epic proportions.

At pit 3 I found another flat boring area which is typical of pit areas.  Looking around I did not see much of interest so I just started walking out into the desert hoping to find something interesting.

Day 3 pit 3

Day 3 pit 3

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f13, 1/400th.

Coming to a small hill I found I could shoot the drivers coming out of a canyon and around the little chicane at the base of my hill.  The longshot gave a nice perspective on just how barren central Nevada can look.

Pat Dean

Pat Dean

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f9, 1/640th.

And the closer shot had a nice long dust trail for a where they came from shot.

Rick D. Johnson

Rick D. Johnson

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f11, 1/500th.

As the first few cars hit the chicane I got something totally unexpected.  Most of the drivers totally blew the corner, shooting down on them gave it a cool look as well.

Kevin Colan

Kevin Colan

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f13, 1/400th.

Expecting someone to blow the corner even worse I moved down the hill to get more of a head on shot and possibly a rollover.  This was a very simple corner with good visibility too so I was very surprised to see guys riding up on the hill the way they did.

Will Staats blows a corner

Will Staats blows a corner

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f10, 1/500th.

With the buggies it gave a cool shot of the articulation of the front suspension which I don’t see much.

Bryce Menzies

Bryce Menzies

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f13, 1/400th.

Just as I was leaving my spot I saw Dennis Boyle coming at me with his tire tread totally separated from the sidewall and making a lot of dust.

Dennis Boyle loses a tire

Dennis Boyle loses a tire

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f14, 1/400th.

Back in the truck I studied my maps, GPS and the Ion Earth tracker to get an idea of where to go next.  I quickly realized my plan to follow the northern loop was a no go.  Unbeknownst to me Day 3 was very very fast, more like rally roads as I routinely spotted cars at well over 100mph on the tracker.  My original plan now in the trash I hit highway 95 at a vigorous speed to try and get ahead of the leaders and catch them at pit 6, Rawhide.

Checking positions and maps again while next to Walker Lake I realized there was no way I could make it to Rawhide in time and getting to the finish ahead of the leaders was in jeopardy.  My pre race plan of shooting the first car to take the green and the checkers was already over since there was no flag at the start on Day 1and now I was pissed at myself for botching the checkers shot but these things happen.

When I shot Vegas to Reno in 2008 I took Highway 95 all the way to the 50 in Fallon then the 5 to the finish at Dayton.  Looking at the map I saw Highway 95 alternate which looked to cut 20 miles off the distance but it was an unknown entity which have their own problems.  I said screw it to myself and took a chance, things were looking good but it would be very tight.  Then I came into several small towns with a 35mph speed limit and I knew it was over.

As I neared pit 8 at Weeks I saw my client had not passed through yet so I stopped to shoot them and a few others at mile 953 before heading to the finish

Ryan Staats

Ryan Staats

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f14, 1/400th.

Nearing Dayton I heard on the radio that Tory Herbst was the first to finish and the likely winner.  Driving into the finish area I saw the Herbst team and pulled over for what I thought was a shot of the winner.  The team had a very dejected look about them and they said by their math they were second.

Troy Herbst

Troy Herbst

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/1000th.

At the finish area everyone was saying that Top Qualifier Andy McMillin had won on corrected time and his team was celebrating their victory.

Andy McMillin celebrates after winning Vegas to Reno

Andy McMillin celebrates after winning Vegas to Reno

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f13, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

I hung around the finish for a few hours to shoot a couple of clients as they rolled in as well as other finishers.

Bryce Menzies (left) and Larry Job (right) celebrate after winning class 1000

Bryce Menzies (left) and Larry Job (right) celebrate after winning class 1000

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f13, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

Jesse Jones (center) with his day 3 pit crew Rhiannon Freiley (left) and Sarah Saucier (right)

Jesse Jones (center) with his day 3 pit crew Rhiannon Freiley (left) and Sarah Saucier (right)

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f13, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

Greg Foutz wins class 8100 by a healthy margin.

Greg Foutz wins class 8100 by a healthy margin.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f14, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

I noticed the driver’s reflection in the mirror so I moved around until I could get his face centered in the mirror as he was interviewd.

BITD announcer George Anthill (left) interviews Jason Voss (right) at the finish.

BITD announcer George Anthill (left) interviews Jason Voss (right) at the finish.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/500th.

When the number 10 Trick Truck of Greg Nunley came onto the finish podium I noticed their front tire was against the backdrop pole so I setup for a shot of the whole thing coming down as if Silent Bob had pulled the pin to collapse the stage but the error was caught and corrected as if LaFours was there to foil my plan.

You knock this crossbeam out and, bickety-bam, the whole stage comes crashing down.

You knock this crossbeam out and, bickety-bam, the whole stage comes crashing down.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f14, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

After 3 days of hard racing and chasing on the 996 mile course I packed up the gear headed to a local bar to edit and transmit my finals photos from the race, but my adventure was not yet over.

I spent the next day relaxing with family in Lake Tahoe.  It had been 10 years or so since I had been off road in the area so I took the truck out to visit my old stomping grounds.  Sadly many of the trails are now paved.  A few thousand feet of Tahoe is Watson Lake.  It used to be you need a decent off road vehicle to get into it and I feel there is just something wrong about being able to drive a BMW 740 into this once pristine and remote mountain lake.

Watson Lake

Watson Lake

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f10, 1/400th.

A BMW where it should not be able to go

A BMW where it should not be able to go

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f3.5, 1/640th.

One the way home the following day I was crusing along not paying attention to my speed when I passed an NHP car on the shores of Walker Lake.  When he pulled me over he was friendly and professional and we spent a few minutes chatting about the race.

A friendly NHP officer stops me on highway 95

A friendly NHP officer stops me on highway 95

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/500th.

Story continued here


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