The Forest Ride

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Columbus Day Weekend, October 10-12, 2009, I volunteered to photograph The Forest Ride. This biking and hiking event was a fundraiser for Black Rock Forest Consortium in Cornwall, New York. It is a 4,000-acre research forest that serves as a field station for scientific research, education, and conservation. The Consortium is a client of mine for graphic design, and I set them up with my office mate, Global Impact Productions, to produce the event. There was a small turnout, but everyone agreed that the event was fun and successful.

For me there were two highlights. First, after a short bike ride on the first day, we took a guided hike in a small part of the forest. We were given a presentation by four interns from New York City public high schools. They each explained the projects they worked on over the summer. It’s amazing that they could have an opportunity to learn environmental science in this way and take it back to the city to share with their peers. It’s gratifying to see the direct result of the funds we’re raising. Second, the final day’s ride took us to rest stops at an organic farm, a dairy farm, and a winery. The dairy farm seemed out of a story book. The son of one of the other volunteers dragged me from one photo opportunity to another. He led me through a door with a sign clearly stating it was for staff only. We ended up in a barn where the cows were being milked. Fabio, one of the workers was as interested in my cameras as I was in his milking duties. I wish the conditions were better for more photos, but it was really dark inside the barn and very muddy. I got some great portraits of Fabio, though.

I brought both my 5D Mark II and my old Digital Rebel XT. I rented a 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS lens, so between the two cameras I could shoot from 24 to 200 mm. Though really heavy, the 5D/70-200 combination turned out some great shots in low light in the forest and with moving riders on the road. One warning if you use a BlackRapid camera strap, as I did. When you release the camera, if the side of the lens with the switches rubs your hip, those switches will probably be in the wrong position the next time you shoot. I missed a couple of shots of riders when I couldn’t focus, and after a while of wondering what was wrong with my camera, I discovered that the lens had been switched from auto focus to manual.

A few of my favorite photos from the weekend are below. To see the complete set of photos, click HERE to go to the website I created.

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