Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Berkshire Photoshoot Pentathlon

The 2nd Annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon was held up in Charlemont, MA this past Saturday. Athletes run, bike, kayak, run/hike, and ski/snowboard. All before the end of March. In New England. I don't know of too many other local race events with so much photographic potential!

I tried shooting this event last year, and learned a few lessons along the way. This year I went back armed with a better camera and a faster lens, and, um, yeah... learned a few lessons along the way.

Just strategizing locations for shooting was a challenge. I ended up catching runners as they came through Charlemont in the first mile, and also as they came out of the woods at the Warfield House around mile 4. That first location wasn't the most scenic setting on an overcast, dirty-snow, late March morning, and the second location was where the best shots came out. I also shot the bike leg, mostly out on the scenic section of road between Zoar and Monroe. Parking along this stretch was really difficult as there were still foot-high snowdrifts lining each side of road. There was literally no place to safely pull over for miles (the road was still open to traffic). I ended up parking in some shallow snow and walking half a mile up the hill to where I wanted to get some shots. For the kayak leg, I pulled over above the snowy boulders downstream of the Zoar Picnic Area and put my emergency blinker lights on; got a few shots there. For the hill climb and ski legs, I just walked up to the finish line and did catch-as-catch-can. The photoshoot was kind of an event in itself!

Exposure was much harder this year. The bright snow made it very difficult to expose for the athletes, and to add to the difficulty the sun kept coming and going behind gauzy clouds. The shots I got reflect the challenges, with some appearing overexposed and some appearing underexposed. Three cheers for Photoshop CS6!

I'm super impressed with the athletes who completed this event. I can't even imagine how cold the Deerfield River must have been for the kayakers. Even the best must have gotten a little bit wet in spots. Hats off to you guys. You are officially awesomely badass!

The full photo gallery is now up at Northeast Photo

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