Last year, around spring, I decided I needed to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. I loved photography but I was getting bored with my usual shots. I loved watching bike racing, but I was never going to participate in a race myself (I'm not really built for speed). Somehow, both of my interests collided and sparked a new adventure that I couldn't begin to imagine a year ago.
The Ballard Criterium 2017 was the first full race I decided to attend as a photographer. As a generally shy character, drawing attention to myself with a camera and zoom lens was not how I wanted to spend my day. I did it anyway. I mostly felt like a big idiot walking around, pretending I knew what I was doing. I did not.
The next day, I went to the Volunteer Park Criterium. And then later the Marymoor Grand Prix. And then cyclocross season started, and I ended up shooting ten races of what came to be one of my favorite disciplines in cycling because of its sheer lunacy. Seriously people, do you see those run-ups?! Then mountain bike season, road racing and now back squarely in criterium season.
I was asked recently what I am doing out there. Mostly, I'm trying to build a portfolio of work and find a style that I can replicate. Currently my style is "Hey, I was at this thing, would you like to see your picture?" Yet, I persist. Because it's fun, because I admire the discipline and because after a year of showing my face everywhere I've made some friends that don't find it strange that I stand around with a camera on the side of the road. Okay, maybe they do but they don't make a big deal about it.
Its taken 27 races, one full year, to make me feel like maybe I can do this thing. I can inspire the way I am inspired, and tell the kinds of stories I would want to see. I still feel like a big idiot with a camera, and my lens has only gotten bigger, but I know what I want to do with each race and I am happy to spend an entire day trying to make the pictures in my head come to life with my camera. I am still trying.