You can find them at almost every competitive event. They are always looking for you and trying to catch your eye. They hover patiently waiting for just the right moment to pounce. When you are least expecting it: “Bam!” there they are! It’s like they are stalking you or something. Why, they even stake out the most seriously challenging bits of the course and point cameras at you – it’s crazy! They are a bit crazy, but the kind we like: they are your friendly cycling event cameramen and women.
Weather doesn’t faze most of these camera-toting ninjas, nor heat, or cold. It can be blazing down Texas summer sun with no shade in sight and your local photographer will be there. Crazy? Yes, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Should you appreciate the heck out of them? Absolutely. These guys and gals drive some distance, just like you, to sit out in whatever mother earth throws at them (and you) to make sure that your moment of glory, guts, pain, and excitement gets caught on camera. Why? They love what they do too – and they deserve our thanks.
Think about it… Of course you can have a race without pictures of the competitors but isn’t it nice to see a photo that eternalizes a moment in time when you were really going for it? Win or not – even if it was a lousy day: seeing that photo makes you feel a little better that you signed up, showed up, pinned a number on, and tried your best. It can be motivating to see that immortalized moment where you are achieving something most people wouldn’t even consider themselves capable of.
Even better is when you get that photo of you tagged on Facebook by the camera-person! After all, it didn’t really happen unless it got on Facebook – right? (Just kidding.)
The onsite camera guys and gals are the ones that make this magic happen for those of us that compete. In many cases (most, actually) they are individuals who love the sport of cycling just as much as we do! They take time out of their day where they could be on a bike to be there for the competitors to eternally encapsulate the energy and excitement of the moment. These folks don’t get paid to do this and they aren’t compensated for their time by the race promoters. If you don’t know: it takes a ton of time to download, review, and edit all the photos you see online.
Time that they are necessarily compensated for…. unless someone buys a photo.
If you don’t buy a photo and post a ‘freebie’ as your new Facebook profile: you just kinda stole a bit of someone’s time. Unless the photographer gave you the rights to your pics out of the goodness of their heart, do yourself and them a favor and buy a photo already. If you do post that pic you purchased – give the photographer the credit for the shot. It’s the least you can do, really. If you are not ‘in’ to photos of yourself… you might regret that one day so get over it. Your experiences are what shape your life and moments like these are what we remember when we do more porch sitting than sitting on a bike and we have more lines in our face than we ever had points in a race. Just saying.
So “smile!”, say cheese, ham it up, and have fun – race and buy a photo to celebrate!
Cheers and Cycle On!
Not pictured: Jim Hicks Photography and Robert Spangle Photography