Packing for Paris - Rally Connex Paris-Dacre

Just packing my things now for this year's Rally Connex Paris-Dacre event.
I'll be working as support crew/ photographer for the FlannyMedia KTM450 race team.

The Rally Connex Paris-Dacre is an homage to the real Dakar rally, and simulates one full stage of the event. It's going to be very hard on the riders - approximately 800km on trails, railbeds and backroads -  starting at 4am and ending around 7pm. 
It's been raining for two days, there's going to be many water crossings. Pontoons might be in order...

Starting in the very wee hours of the morning only a handful of riders can expect to pass the final cut off check in around 4pm that afternoon - and still have 2-3hrs to go before making Dacre. It is these final few hundred km's that put the icing on the cake making the event really special.

Aside from the motorcycle and camping gear, I'll be packing My usual kit of:

LX2 Compact camera
Nikon SLR body
28mm 2.8
11-16 2.8
85mm 1.8
SB-800 flash
Manfrotto 190XB tripod with a 486RC2 Ball Head

I sure could use a long lens for this kind of event, a 70-200 2.8 would be the ticket, but the 85 will have to do.
I anticipate shooting a lot of candid portraits of the racers and close-up details of the motorcycles tomorrow, and plenty of action shots on race day. High ISO and wide-open apertures will be on order.

Rain may be a concern, but I've got a trick or two that may help with that. I'm bringing the lens hoods this time. They'll keep any glare off the front of the lens and protect it from rain and getting scratched if I bump into anything.

The race starts at 4am so I've packed the tripod for long exposures and the SB800 flash for early morning action shots.

Check back next week for the results!

Histogram - Motojournalism book two preview

On most SLRs and on good compact cameras there will be an option to display a graph alongside the photos you have taken.
Graphs? Why is there a graph on the back of my camera?
It looks freaky, but it’s actually very simple.

It’s difficult to judge the brightness of an image from the display on the back of your camera. The screen is tiny, when you are outside it's full of glare, and indoor lighting always affects how you see the image. It's just not reliable. The histogram is the guide to see if your exposure was in the ballpark.

Let’s take a closer look.              

The histogram is a chart that shows how many light parts and how many dark parts make up a particular photo. Check your manual to see how to display the histogram on your camera. Set it up so that it will appear after every photo you take.

The left side of the graph  shows the dark tones of the image, the right side shows the light tones of the image. The medium tones fall in the middle.

Thematic thinking

You will notice that little cultural peculiarities keep cropping up during your travels. Pay attention to these things, try to "collect" them with your photographs. They have the potential to make excellent photo essays.
In Canada there were many steam-era farm implements, rusting away in the prairies. In the U.S. I noticed the vintage neon signs along the roadside.

In Mexico and Central America, it was the hand-painted signage.

Motojournalism - Book Two underway!

Finally back online! The internet out here in the country has been down for over a week.

There was a wind storm one night and a *BANG* off in the distance, like a transformer blowing.
This fried the modem good n' proper.

They had to find a sub-150lb guy to climb the 50 foot tower to fix the modem.

So there's sadly been nothing to do but ride dirtbikes and work on Motojournalism book 2!
(Photo by Christian Lacasse)

Book two is coming along well, it's a lot more involved and text-heavy than the first. 
It's the equipment book, dealing with what photography gear to take with you, how to use it, and how to pack it all on the bike.

It's amazing how much productivity goes up when the internet is down!
There's been a lot of writing and a lot of photography for the book and I'm excited to be putting it together.

There's no official release date yet, but check back here often - or better yet, subscribe to the blog!

I've just watched the first of the new Horizons Unlimited motorcycle travel how-to DVDs.
Hugely, highly, massively recommended for anybody planning a big trip!
This series is a big step-up in quality from the previous DVD and there's some great footage with people like Ted Simon and RTWdoug.
 Very inspirational and instructional. I found my self nodding in agreement to the DVD and rearin' to get back on the road!