5/12/23 "Xterra New Jersey Weekend 5/6 and 5/7"


I would describe the last 5/6 and 5/7 weekend epic.  Epic in a beautiful, glorious, fun kind of way.  I know there is another epicness involving tears, rain, and wet condition throughout the entire race, and cold.  Those epicness is a different type of fun.  On 5/6, I was shooting the Xterra New Jersey Trail Runs and followed by the Xterra New Jersey World Championship Qualifier the next day, 5/7.  It was a back to back race weekend in the same majestic Wawayanda State Park.  The race course encompassed over 13 miles of trails and 1000 meter swim in the Wawayanda Lake.  With close to 250 athletes competing on 5/7, and another 100+ on 5/6, the Xterra New Jersey Trail Runs.  And there is only me shooting both days!

I have touched on the issues of talent race photographer shortage in the NYC event scene.  Those I can count on and they aren't always available.  And there are the types of events requiring an extra skill set, like mountain biking and with passion for the woods and outdoor, to get around on the course.  Importantly, the knowledge of the park and its trail system.  This is the same weekend my NYC promoters are putting on their NYC races as well.  I was stretched thin regarding coverage.  It is what it isWith over 6 years of management experiences, I know full well not to bring in incompetent people to do my job.  In another words, I ain't bringing in some Instagram influencer happened to have a camera shooting for me....Do I look like a babysitter to you??? 

So on Saturday, I arrived at the park an hour before the Xterra New Jersey Trail Runs.  These athletes are hardcore running a marathon in the woods, not just any woods but the Wawayanda State Park trail system.  The marathoners were doing 2 loops and 13 miles per loop.  The upper 6 miles were pleasant while running on fire roads.  The lower 6 miles were EPIC with single track rock gardens.  Rocks, as far as your eyes can see!  There was no bear sighting fortunately.  Shooting the trail runs was easily manageable.  Not too many fields and they were all pretty much running the same course except shorter distance for the other fields.  There were field overlaps but in a good way because I won't need to move around a lot to capture everyone.  I have already calculated the projected pace (8 min to 9 min pace) and the time frame runners would be finishing.  Overall, I was at the right spot at the right time.  After the race, I camped out in the park for the main event the next day.  By the time I went to sleep, I already had an 18 hour day.  The race ended around 2 pm, 3 pm.  I had a great time just chilling out at t he beach after the race.  And enjoying the majesty of the Wawayanda State Park. 

The next day got real!  The Xterra New Jersey featured an Olympic distance triathlon, Sprint triathlon, duathlon, and other special race features.  In short, there were many race and field overlaps with different or similar timing, depending on the time and location of the race.  I won't go into the details how I planned my logistic.  Is always about compromise and my priority while to be at the right place and right spot to tell the story of the race.  There were spots I needed to be at a particular time, no more or no less.  I didn't go crazy with my logistic like planning my second spot deep into the woods some 30 minutes away from the start.  I have done it in the past in the same park.  Going in and out would take me 1 hour.  I can't travel fast hauling over 25 lbs of camera equipment and while riding and pushing my mountain bike.  Spending more time walking with it. 

So I brought home near 6k shots.  The Nikon Z9 is just awesome.  It only missed few shots out of 6k shots.  I had to cull down to 3k shots.  The lighting condition was challenging with a strong sun and creating patchy shadows on everyone.  It was not that bad on Sunday though.  The bike section alone for the 5/7 race has over 700 shots uploaded.  I also brought in a battery power station to recharge my strobe.  I was charging one battery while shooting away with the other.  Yeah, there is a lot of planning involved shooting both days in the middle of a state park with no electricity and barely have any cell phone reception. 

Photo galleries on 5/6 is here

Photo galleries on 5/7 is here.


Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In