Monday, September 14, 2015

Tahoe 200: Race Photography 102

Race Photography 101 crash course (Castle Peak 100K) was two weeks ago.

Moving onward and upward to the Tahoe 200.           TWO.HUNDRED.MILES, that is.  
Friday night sunset in Phoenix.

Back out to Tahoe I went for the quick weekend.  It was another late late flight, and another late night drive all the way from Reno to Homewood, on the west shore of Lake Tahoe.  We parked the van in the parking lot of the race start, and woke up to a flurry of runners prepping for the big adventure.

About 30 minutes before race time, we started hiking up the mountain to find a good location to shoot some photos as the runners came by.

Unfortunately, smoke was moving in from a nearby fire, so the views weren't too spectacular.  Oh, and the fact that they all came through at once and I wasn't ready.  I mean I don't think ONE of the photos I took turned out at all.  I really needed a little refresher course.   I apparently forgot how to work the camera over the last two weeks.  :/

So location number one was a bit of a bust.  For me anyways.  I mean of course Scott still got plenty of good ones.  He always does.

My photo (L)    vs    Scott's photo (R)   -- taken from the same location

We weren't there long.  The runners came through quickly and we hiked right back down and got in the car for location two:  Loon Lake ... which just happened to be a 3 hour drive away!  

It wasn't that far away mile-wise, but to get there we had to go out and around a mountain and down all these little two lane windy roads.  We thought we could squeeze it in and still make it back to Minden (on the other side of the lake/mountain) in time for Scott's show that night, but about 2 hours in to the drive, we realized it just wasn't going to happen.  So we turned around and drove 2 hours back.  

Location 2 was a total bust.  We didn't even make it there!
I took this while driving the van on the way back so Scott could sleep.         Real safe, I know.

We stopped at one little spot on the side of the road for a quick hike on our way to Gardnerville, just for fun.  

The views were nice, but the smell!!  We couldn't figure out what it was.  

And then we stumbled upon this:

A DEAD BEAR!!  Never seen that before!

We had to go straight to the casino for a sound check before Scott's gig that night. (Yeah, he's in a band!)

Back to the house to quickly shower and whip up some dinner, and then back for the big event:

Seymour's Trick Bag, a cover band.  

They played at AustinPalooza to raise money for a charity in Minden.

I guess I don't know what I was expecting.  Maybe some guys playing on a street corner or something.  But certainly not this!

They are a real band - and real people showed up to dance and sing along!  

Lights and smoke and good was SO SO fun.  And I might have 9 videos from it.

After the show, we drove to a parking lot on the trail to sleep for the night.  Scott got up early (4am early) to go out and shoot.  I definitely stayed in bed and slept. :)

I got up a couple of hours later, made some breakfast, and set out to find him.  He was about 20 feet down the trail, so that wasn't too hard.  And he got cold breakfast because I couldn't figure out how to hook up the propane and really wasn't interested in blowing up the van.
The van is coming together with water and a stove, but he still has a little work to go with those wires...

Soon after I got up and moving, we loaded up and moved on to location 2 at Armstrong Pass.  Thankfully we could drive up to this aid station, because look at how much stuff he is carrying!  

A drone!  He is carrying a drone and three cameras and a tripod and lenses and flashes and clothes and food and water and...  Yeah, a lot.

I thought I got off easy, but no, we had to hike -- a long ways. 
My backpack was heavy too!  Mostly with my food. :)
The plan was to hike up to the top of the mountain -- some lake, I think.  Don't ask me.  It's all a blur now.  

But after we got a couple of miles in, the smoke really started to roll in and we knew the views weren't going to be great, and we weren't going to catch that many runners.  The majority of them were still way behind us.  So, we turned around.

We set up shop at a crossing where runners came by me and went down to the aid station, and then had to come back up and past us again.  So we got them twice, from different angles. 

Look at the size of the lens I was using!
We eventually moved onwards -- and upwards.  To the top of a different, much smaller and much closer mountain.

I didn't shoot at this spot, but the things he will do for a picture entertained me...

My job was supposed to be the drone, but Scott forgot to charge it, so that didn't happen.  Which was fine with me.  That thing scares me.  The last thing I need to do is chop some runners arm off with a drone I don't know how to control.

We were there until sunset - which was nothing exciting thanks to the smoke - and then hiked back down.  It started getting chilly, so I stopped and put my coat on and hooked my sunglasses on my backpack.  

Bad idea.

I realized about 3/4 of the way down that I didn't have them anymore.  And theyr'e prescription.  And expensive.  So back up we went.  It was getting dark by this point.  I was tired and going back up the mountain was about the last thing I wanted to do.  But we went.  Back to the spot we thought they might be, and no dice.  Couldn't find them anywhere.  There went some serious $$.

We hiked back down - with no sunglasses - in the dark with our headlamps.  I don't think we saw one runner until we were almost down, and even then, night photography is hard.  I don't think the pictures turned out.

We grabbed some food (FINALLY!) at the aid station and drove on to another parking lot at another trail head for the night.

It's not so bad to wake up and open the door to this view though:

Scott had gotten up early again, and I slept in again.  I need my sleep!  

So he sent me his location and said he'd be about a mile or two in.  Easy enough.

I went to the aid station, grabbed some food and filled up my water, and set off on the trail.

About 2 - 3 miles in, I was like, "That jerk!  He went farther than he was supposed to!  And this trail is hard!"

But eventually, the lightbulb came on.  I looked again at his location, and compared it to mine, and just say down on a log and laughed.  

I went the wrong way on the trail!  I went WITH the runners, he hiked backwards TO the runners.  

Small detail... I mean I only crossed a highway and went the complete opposite direction.

Not even close.  
Thankfully I had service and told him what happened.  He said he was wondering what happened to me!  HA!  Lesson learned.  He'll never set me out on a trail alone again...

ANY-ways, I eventually found him - much later than anticipated, and did some of this:


We sat for extended periods of time with no runners.  It was pretty chilly and smoky, and maybe a little boring for me.  I got so excited any time a runner came through!

Scott eventually took a break for keeping an eye on the trail and I took over -- standing and staring at an empty trail, looking for any movement, while he did this:

I got out my iPad at one point and we watched a documentary.  I think we only had to stop it once for a runner.  So, yeah, they were pretty well spaced out by this point in the race.

Other things to keep me occupied: (I don't sit still with nothing to do very well)

Going through and comparing pictures on my phone.

Matching hats from Caslte Peak and matching shirts from Tahoe 200!  I asked him what was next.  He said matching cameras!  (I don't know about that...)

North of Tahoe in the first photo, south of Tahoe in the bottom photo:

We stayed at that spot until it was time to leave for the airport.  We drove to Reno, ate lunch at Whole Foods (how is lunch so expensive there?), and then I got dropped off at the airport -- dirty feet and all.

I went straight to the bathroom at the airport and stuck my nasty feet in the sink and washed them.  I washed everything I could without getting naked, and then changed clothes.  

What a weekend...

I can't say I learned a lot more about photography this weekend.  I was more "along for the ride" this race.  But I'm sure I'll have plenty of chances in the future to work on my camera skills.

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