Foothills of the Cascades is a difficult ride that’s been around for something like 20 years. The Ride Managers host camp on their property in Molalla, Oregon. Given the location and season, this ride is notorious for featuring fun riding weather such as rain, sleet, snow, and wind. Usually at the same time. This makes the 70 and sunny weather that DID occur last weekend all that more appreciated. Foothills is located less than two hours from my house so I came down early on Friday to check out trail but didn’t really camp. Well, we slept in the car but I’m done setting up tents for the year. This was the 11th ride I attended this summer, three of which were two-day rides and one was 4 nights of camping for the National Championships.
This was a challenging ride to find a photo op for. Because the LD’s and the 50’s started at the same time but went different directions, there was very little common trail. The common trail that did exist was 90% in the forest. I shoot with a Canon Rebel which just doesn’t have the power to shoot good photos in mixed light. Extreme lighting contrast causes the shadows to go black and the light streaming through the trees to blow out highlights. Not to mention the fact that anything over 800 ISO (400, really) is far too grainy for my comfort. Yes, a body upgrade is the next on my list of items to invest in. I ended up selecting a stretch of road bordering an old clearcut, which didn’t particularly excite me but it was better than trying to wrestle with my camera settings all morning.
The biggest challenge for that spot was a short span of area to take photos. No option for far away shots and a very limited amount of time to get a good shot before the rider came too close, plus riders coming from both directions on the road. Other things included thick brush behind me, putting me right in the road, and being obscured by bushes so as to make the horses convinced I was a cougar. Although from the sounds I heard that morning, I am pretty sure there are cougar-sized squirrels out there.
Saturday morning was crisp and clear, the sun fully rising around 8 am. I had to use high ISO for the first dozen or so riders because the dawn light wasn’t sufficient. I was rewarded later with a brief duration of warm morning light igniting the autumn hues in the background, while keeping the riders in the shade. Despite my ambivalence about the chosen spot, I ended up being very happy with the color and angle for the photographs.
Later on, the light washed some of the colors out. I had a circular polarizing filter on as soon as there was enough light but I still had some mixed lighting issues. Here are a couple of others I liked, including some candids.
That was my last endurance ride of the season. I had considered going to The Haunting but its not in my budget, plus family will be in town. I hope everyone had a great season and I am thankful for the support and education the community extended this year.
The full gallery for this ride can be found here: http://goo.gl/28V9CS