Tour of Somerville is always a challenge to get a different photo

I’ve photographed the Tour of Somerville since 1988, when it was the hottest day ever at the bicycle race. At least it was the hottest I’ve seen. Fellow photographer Dean Curtis and I thought we would kick everyone’s ass even though neither of us had every photographed bicycle racing before. We had tons of photos, many of them good and we had a great plan for covering the winner crossing the line. Dean was one side of the street and I was on the other. We both had long lenses and got way back down the street so we would have the sign and the winner crossing as the pack was right behind. What we didn’t know was that the winner had broken away from the pack and flying up the side of the street. We both were watching the middle of the street and neither one of us got the shot. We did learn from it though.

This year was pretty hot too. I was shooting for Middle Earth, the non-profit agency that helps kids and does most of the work to put on the race. Having photographed the race so many times, I’m always challenging myself to get a different shot. One year I shot most of the race with a 4X5 camera. Interesting, but I only needed to do that once. I always like when the 100+ riders line up for the start of the pro race. There are lots of faces, some tense, some relaxed but they are always rearing to go. I thought it would be nice to get a high angle on the riders and have the big banner that goes across the street. So I put my camera on the end of my monopod with a 16mm lens and did a Hail Mary shot from about 11 feet high. It would be fun to get that shot while they are riding away, but the riders would be happy to run me over.

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