A lot of you may know me from my cycling photography, but I would like to add a little background. I’ve been cycling for over 20 years, and have been a USCF licensed racer since age 23. I still remember my first win, at St. Valentine Day Massacre, jumping away with half a lap to go and holding off the field. I never liked sprinting, and my goal was to avoid it. Breakaways and 1 lap efforts are how I have achieved most of my 9 wins. At age 31, I pulled a tendon in my knee which ended the season and racing after 8 years. Once you’re out of shape, it is easy to put off getting into shape for another day. Those days start to turn into years very quickly. I’ve been racing a little again, but it’s hard to race and shoot at the same time.
I got into photography 5 years ago with a pretty basic Canon body and cheap lens. I started just shooting my kids soccer games and then went out to the Ontario Grand Prix to shoot my first bike race. Funny, I still remember thinking they were good shots, but wow are they bad. A bunch of snapshots with no real thought about composition or backgrounds. I’ve learned a few things along the way, but I am always learning and striving to be better.
The biggest impact to my photography came one day looking at some images on FaceBook, and I came across an image on a Velo LaGrange riders page. I clicked on the gallery to see them all and I was blown away by the images. They were from Red Trolly, just a industrial park crit, but each image had so much feeling. Feelings that I never felt I could capture. He was a photographer capturing the story of the event and I was a cyclist taking snap shots. It doesn’t come natural to me, but I strive to see the bigger picture, and try to capture the feel of the event. That photographer, by the way, is Joe Pugliese. One look at his web site and you can see the photographer he is. I feel I’ve become better at trying to tell a story with some of the images, but those kind of talents you are born with; they are not easily learned.
My goal with this web site is to provide a place for great photographers and writers to showcase their talents and actually get paid something for doing it. These types of sites, magazines, etc do not exist without great content, but little value is put on the art of photography and writing these days. Photo credit is not a form of payment, it is an insult. I cringe every time I see this offer from a magazine, large cycling team or corporation. It kills me also to see posts on Facebook where a photographer is excited about a team or company using one of their images in an ad with no compensation. Being taking advantage of is nothing to be proud of. I have no misconceptions of changing the perceived value of photographers, but I will not contribute to its devaluation. I’m certainly guilty of doing things the wrong way in the past. The commercial side of this business is pretty complicated and it’s hard to get info on pricing structure, licensing, etc. I’ve learned a lot along the way and always try to help anybody that asks. We have contacted a lot of the people who’s skills we value to be part of this site, as our goals cannot be met by two people alone.
Probably the best thing to come from shooting these races is all the cool people I’ve met. The cycling community as a whole is such a great bunch of people. What other sport can you walk right up and talk to its biggest stars or even ride with them out on training rides.
I hope everyone is finding the site informative. I know we still have a lot of improvements to make. I would love any feedback you have, positive or negative.