There was a bit of pause between the end of the women`s race and the beginning of the men`s race, which passed by with frantic picture downloading and editing.
I left the press centre not long before the race, having the shuttle service in my mind. I had myself transported to certain part of the circuit that was said to be quite tricky. Riding on the quad, I was there in no time. En route, I saw a couple other photographers, walking towards the same spot so I reckoned it might be a good spot after all.
The place looked quite impressive, in front of this descent, I had this view:
The section in question was a steep but fast downhill part with loads of roots on the track. I wondered up and and down a bit to find the best spot and I decided to stay on the lower part so I`d get good background as the racers start to descend. I set up two strobes again, one on a light stand, left to the camera, that would illuminate the riders` face and another right to the camera, a bit behind the riders, to highlight the edges. The two light sources were pointed into the same direction which was above a bigger piece of root, so everything seemed perfect. But things never are. As soon as the cyclist came for the first time and I checked the shots afterwards, it turned out, that I set the focus improperly: a couple feet behind the point, where the lights were focused. The output was more than disappointing.
This was really annoying, but I thought that there`s potential in that spot so I stayed for another lap, concentrating hard to get the focus right. This time everything went well, I was really satisfied the the result.
Moving on, I decided to go the the same downhill spot I was yesterday. I got there just in time to catch them during their first full lap, so I didn`t have time to fiddle much with the strobes, thus I just popped a flash on the camera and shot them. German rider, Manuel Fumic had the funniest shades, hands down.
This spot didn`t offer much, so I switched to the climbing part, that was rather close. A bunch of safe shots followed.
I managed to snap one interesting shot though. It was known, that this would be the Belgian rider, Filip Meirhaeghe`s last race in Houffalize as he`s planning to retire by the end of the season. His home crowd cheered throughout his race, wherever he rode, people were screaming and clapping hands – even his last lap. This picture was taken around his 3rd or 4th lap.
There wasn`t much left from the race, so I went towards the finish area. I missed the lap count (again) so I was rather surprised to see the riders coming by once again. I dropped a flash on the left side of the track, and the sun was nice enough to act as a secondary light source. I really like this picture, the way the two light sources are balanced.
This meant, however that I got to the awards ceremony a tad bit late, thus I didn`t have a chance to get closer to the podium due to the huge crowd.