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3rd Time’s A Charm

Saint-Andre Cathederal Bordeaux, FR

Now that I have fully recovered from my jet lag induced haze, I can get back to sharing some images from my recent trip to France. The trip began with a 5 day stay in the little town of La Mongie nestled in the Pyrenees. We rode our bikes over some of the most famous mountains in the Tour De France (Col de Tourmalet, Aspin, Soulor, Aubisque as well as Luz Ardiden). It was both humbling and inspiring to measure yourself against the times of your heroes. They are much faster than I am, but the throngs of fans who were camped out along the mountain roads cheered us on as if we were in the Yellow Jersey. It was an experience I will never forget.

As for this image, once we left La Mongie we traveled to Bordeaux to watch the individual time trial. We arrived a day early which left us plenty of time to explore the town. In the center of the town is the massive Cathedral Saint-Andre. I walked around it several times, both day and night, trying to decide how I wanted to make an image of it. It wasn’t until my 3rd lap that I noticed this small diorama of the cathedral itself. I then realized that this is the image I had been looking for.

Capture Notes:

Nikon D700
Nikkor 17-35 AFS
Gitzo Traveler
Lexar UDMA

Aperture f/4.0
Focal Length 35 mm
ISO Speed 800 (oops)

Processing Notes:

Capture – 9 images @ 1ev
Photomatix – HDR/ToneMapping
Photoshop – Curves Adjustment
Photoshop – Vibrancy/Sat Adjustment
Sized for web

Cance, Cance, Cance, Cance, Cancellara…..

Fabian Cancellara

The Tour is coming to a close, but not before World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara puts his stamp on the final time trail.

Capture Notes:

Nikon D700
Nikkor 80-200 AFD

Exposure1/5000 sec
Focal Length200 mm
ISO Speed200
Exposure Bias0 EV
FlashNo Flash

Processing Notes:

Adobe Camera Raw
Nik Viveza 2
Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 – Tonal Contrast filter (sliders at 5%)
Sized for web

Tip: Make sure you remember that the final riders in the Tour de France time trial, leave at 3:00min intervals, as opposed to 1:00min intervals. It will surely help with your planning.

Ulrich and the International Male

One from the archive! My college teammate and I visited the Tour in 2004. We considered going in 2003, but we were confident in Lance’s abilities to win a record breaking 6th TDF. This image was made on stage 19, the decisive individual time trial in Besancon. We had walked 2 miles in the rain for a position on a round-a-bout that would provide us a clear line of sight. The anticipation grew as we watched rider after rider racing by. As the names on the start list were dwindling, we knew that Lance would be charging by shortly. It was Jan Ulrich we saw first, followed shortly thereafter by the man in Yellow. What a dream come true. We were front row for one of the greatest records in cycling history! Lance is racing again this year. Keep your fingers crossed!

Nikon D1x
Nikkor 80-200 AFD

Note: I have been getting some questions about what kind of gear I carry. If you hadn’t noticed, you can visit the site and click on the camera bag to find out.

Villard De Lans

Villard De Lans, originally uploaded by LightAsMagic.

My first experience of the French countryside was a fast paced hike through the high mountain meadows of Villard De Lans as I raced to see the finish of my first stage of the Tour de France. This was also the first stage that Lance Armstrong won in the 2004 Tour de France. LA went on to win the remaining decisive stages and complete his record breaking 6th consecutive TDF win. He would go on to win the Tour again the following year.

After we had witnessed the beginning of a historic record breaking TDF we hiked back down from the ski village where the stage had ended to eat dinner with thousands of our closest French friends. What a time! It was on this descent that the crazy cycling fan in me had subsided and I was able to experience the beauty that was surrounding me. The TDF is the most scenic sports event on earth. I suggest to everyone that you visit France and let the race be your guide.

Camera: Nikon D1X (yep, you read it right!)
Lens: Nikon 20mm 2.8