3/7/22 "First race of the season."

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I shot my first race of the 2022 season on March 5th.  After Harlem Crit and Grant's Tomb, the Randall's Island Crit series is another important fixture in the entire NYC racing scene.  We only have park races doing circles.  Criterium races?  Not a lot, is an understatement.  I have been shooting the Randall's Island Crit series ever since its inception back in 2019.  

During the off season, I didn't really shoot much photos.  Hardly touched my camera equipment since my last race back in the middle of November.  I mean, last year I shot over 45 races and bringing home around 1k photos or more per race.  I definitely needed a break from photography, other than lusting for the Nikon Z9, a $6k body.  The weather was cold in the morning but by the time the cat 5 field started, it got warmer pretty quickly.  Over the holiday, I bought the $2k Nikon 24-70 f2.8s standard zoom.  I was using a F mount Sigma 24-35 F2.  On Sat, I was about to test it out to see if the lens can focus fast enough for bike racing.  It does its job.  Very glad I could use 70mm from 24mm without needing to change lens.  Used the lens at F2.8 for the most part.  Few out of focus shots but the keeper rate was high.  There were times I wish this was a f1.8 lens.

I just have a realization that I should be shooting each field differently with its particular spot and scene.  Maybe using one of my specialty lenses such as my 50 f1.8s, the 85 f1.8s, or the Sigma 50-100 f1.8.  The Sigma 50-100 f 1.8 is a very handy zoom when you have limited space and in need of shooting very wide open like f2.8 or faster.  The issue is that I would literally need to bring ALL of my lenses for the race, along with my Godox AD400 pro mono light.  The weight adds up on my camera bag very quickly....24lb+.   

What was remarkable about the Sat race was that it has the largest fixed gear race field turnout since the series started adding fixed gear racing.  Near 30 riders but with mixed skills, abilities, and speed.  Wish there are ways to create separate fields if only we have enough time.  Racing has to be done by certain time frame.  Thank you for Robert Lai, my second photographer assistant, to capture all of the podium shots while I was on the course to document all of the race actions. 

4 fields and over 100 shots per field.....with a total turn out around 130 riders combined.  I can safely to say that everyone is almost being featured in my photography.  That's all it matters.  What is the point of being the official race photographer if you could not even capture enough photos to feature riders you know or don't know.....


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