I love the Ganaraska Forest, or as it’s affectionately called the Ganny. It has the best sweet, fast-flowing singletrack and tons of it to boot!! The only drawback from the Ganny is all the poison ivy. And, everytime I go there to ride I take some home with me. This time though not only was I riding I was also taking pictures. So you can imagine the poison ivy patch that I have growing on the back side of my legs. Serves me right for getting off the beaten path to get that perfect picture. I’m sure I was standing right in it. There are so many 3-leaved plants out there I still can’t identify poison ivy. Ahhh…the perils of a photographer!
This past weekend I drove to the Ganny, under assignment, to visit my friend Steve from Trail Tours. My goal was to take some killer shots showcasing his business, and to get some images so he can use on his websites: http://www.trailtour.com/need_to_know.html and http://www.ontariooffroadadventures.com/ and other promotional material. I was also there because I will be writing a future article on Trail Tours for http://issuu.com/scotiadallas/docs/erag_july?viewMode=magazine&mode=embed so wanted to get some decent pictures.
It was a beautiful clear sunny day. PERFECT for riding, and perfect for showcasing blue skies. Difficult, however, in the forest for photographers! The shadows mid-morning were so harsh. It didn’t make it any easier that the trail that the instructors were using was a pine tree forest which let in lots of light and also blocked out lots of light. So the result was a very patchy lightshow. At least the clouds weren’t rolling in and out creating a whole different lightscene every few seconds. So I decided to skip taking trail pictures for a while and would go back later on in the afternoon when the sun lengthened its shadows and the light wasn’t as harsh.
I walked over to the open field where several groups all working hard were scattered about the 3 loops. I was having fun taking pictures making sure the peaks of their helmets didn’t create too much shade and create a faceless head and enjoyed wathcing them master their newly found skills. I used a variety of lenses – wide angle, telephoto to my beautiful Nikon 105mm prime lens. I also, finally, had a chance to use my Pocket Wizards (PW) and SU-800 units which I got for my birthday this year (thanks David!!). The PW worked flawlessly with the SU-800. Set up was so fast and easy. I can’t believe I was working without these two gems before. I was definetly not limited to what I could do – shooting from far, around trees, in direct sunlight. It handled them all!!
After a while of taking beginner pictures I called in the heavy machinery and Craig, Dylan, Jonathan and Yoshi (Trail Tour instructors) came out to play and give me some good poses. Now I was having fun!!! These guys railed the bermless berm, rode the same line over and over till I said ‘ok…let’s move on’, and jumped, wheelied, kicked up some dust (but there wasn’t much as it had rained a few days earlier) and just had fun! Their fun was infectious.
By the time mid-afternoon rolled around, I grabbed my KTM, while the guys were on Hondas. Loaded with a heavy back pack full of camera gear and tripods we rode some sweet single track until I found a suitable place for action pictures. I set up shop in a decidous area of the forest where the ambient light was perfect! Some sun filtered through and shadows were long but not harsh. The greens of the foliage were colourful and the trail was pristine as the path snaked it’s way through the forest.
Craig and Dylan eagerly rode the chosen line over and over again as I adjusted my flashes, changed my lens etc. I must comment at how super smooth they are in corners. Not only was I taking pictures of them I was also secretly looking at their body language so I could learn to keep up the speed like they did.
We moved to a few different locations after that and shot till late afternoon. By the time I packed up I had lost all ambient light and I was going to be really late for dinner with my family back home. I told my husband I was going to be back before dinner! I had lots of fun riding and taking pictures but must admit that it would have been more fun riding if it wasn’t for a heavy bag throwing me off balance and having my tripods whack me in the back of the helmet everytime I jumped some whoops! My Lowepro backpack did wonders staying on my back and I really appreciated the waterproofness of the bag. I didn’t have water to deal with but I did have lots of sand and dust!! All my gear was nice and clean at the end of the day 🙂
Overall a great day except for the poison ivy!!