I spent the better part of last week chasing some of the best mountain bikers in the country all around my hometown trails of Breckenridge Colorado for the Breck Epic 6 Day bike race.
The Breck Epic is a six day mountain bike stage race held every August in Breckenridge, CO. Its open to all levels and abilities from big name pros to those just entering the sport. It is incredibly challenging(courses are 35-50 miles with 4,800-7,200 vert) but rewards racers with some of the most scenic single track riding in the U.S.
I don’t shoot much race coverage, in fact this is the only race I have covered this year. My assignment was twofold: get great back-country action shots and also capture behind the scenes images of two of the racers. These images were used to promote the race, town, athletes and brands involved.
Challenging shoots like this are what I live for. I have shot this race more than once so I would need ot study the course maps and also choose my gear wisely to help me get a fresh perspective. My go-to kit every day consisted of a Canon 1DX accompanied by the Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6, 24-105mm F4 DG OS Art and 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS lenses. This would be the core kit but I would also add the 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS Sports, 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS Sports, 35mm F1.4 Art and 50mm F1.4 Art lenses from time to time as well as the Canon 7DMKII. In addition to my daily kit I would also have lightweight Rab waterproof jacket and pants(which I wore quite a bit) food water, flash, extra batteries and cards all carried in my Clik Elite Contrjour 40 pack. Was it heavy? A little bit, but totally worth it. We had dry dusty conditions at times and also rain, hail and lightning and all my gear had to be able to preform flawlessly in these less than ideal conditions.
I choose lenses with numerous variables in mind. Do I want to compress the athlete in the landscape or get an action portrait? Then I choose a telephoto lens. Is the shot next to the car? Then maybe it’s the 120-300mm F2.8 but if it’s a ten mile roundt trip hike then 70-200mm F2.8 is the better choice. For scene setting shots and wild perspective I would pull out the 12-24mm. And for everything in between I would turn to the 24-105mm F4, one of my favorite do-it-all lenses.
Over the week I threw everything I could at my Sigma kit and in return I got a beautiful, well rounded gallery with images being used globally. Final verdict: the goals of the shoot were met and exceeded with very happy clients, athletes, promoter and photographer!
SIGMA Ambassador Liam Doran is an outdoor sports and adventure travel photographer based in Colorado. Liam's work covers all aspects of outdoor mountain life including skiing, biking, trail running, fly fishing as well as travel and lifestyle. His images appear regularly in commercial advertising and in today’s top outdoor magazines including Powder, Outside, Ski, Skiing, Trail Runner, Mountain Magazine and more.