Hey Vurboffroad Fans,
It's been a very busy month on the road for me. In my last blog entry I was leaving for Sacramento to shoot the Hangtown Motocross National. It was my first time photographing the Pros trackside and I was surprised at how fast they came by me exiting turn One. I had to do a quick adjustment to my camera settings and how I was tracking the riders coming through the turn to keep them in frame. James Stewart was on fire and took the overall.
From Sacramento I headed to Ridgecrest, Ca to shoot a 2-day desert race. I arrived early Saturday morning and the wind and dust was blowing 40mph, making photography difficult. I struggled to stabilize my camera and lens, even when wedged between boulders, and the dust made it hard to see. I woke up Sunday morning to a still, peaceful desert and the day looked promising. I shot the starts and headed to my first shoot location and came upon two riders giving a downed rider CPR. I parked the four-wheeler I was riding across the course to prevent them from being run over. I rushed over to see what I could do as they continued to perform chest compressions. I was asked for a radio, which I did not have. No cell reception either. One of the guys asked me to look for the #plate of a firefighter/medic. I stood on the four wheeler directing traffic around the scene until I spotted the medic and then another I know personally came by and I stopped him as well. They did what they could until the race medics and Sheriff arrived, but there was nothing that could be done to save the man's life. He was pronounced dead about 45 minutes after it all began. The Coroner's report listed the cause of death as a heart attack. Riders with heavy hearts rode a final lap for Todd Adamson after the race was cancelled and gathered at the top of the mountain to say a prayer. I learned a few things that day and now carry a lot more first-aid and survival equipment in my camera backpack. The rest of the day we all kind of just hung out and talked about life and death and came together as a family to try and console each other. I took a few photos when I first jumped off the four-wheeler that still haunt me. In an effort to take my mind off the incident I invited a young expert class rider named Junior Delgado to do a photo shoot at some nearby cliff jumps. With a small group of family and friends watching, we managed to get a few sick shots of him dropping off a big cliff. It was a good way to end the day, but I headed home the next morning thinking about how it can all end in an instant.
I changed out the contents of my suitcase again and packed for the trip to Thunder Valley, Colorado to shoot the National. I was contacted a few days earlier by Novik Gloves to come help out on a photo shoot, but there was some confusion and I thought it was set for Friday. I called to touch base and when told it was Thursday I drove straight home, grabbed my suitcase, and drove 19 hours straight to get to the private track where it was held. I was almost to Thunder Valley with another 100 miles to go and I got a front flat. I slapped the donut on in under 10 minutes and was hammering down the highway again. The shoot was fun and the riders I met were all really cool. Phil Smage was out there, as was Sarah Whitmore and they all had a good time playing for the cameras around the track. I was exhausted after and checked into the dirtiest hotel in Rancho Cordova and went to sleep. Friday I walked the pits with my camera taking photos of what few racers were there and connecting with the Driven To Ride team of Derek Anderson and Tucker Saye. I donated some autograph stock for them to use and it makes me smile to see little kids asking them for autographs with my photos on the poster. We do a quick shoot with Derek and his bike and I make my way back through the pits looking for a scoop of some kind. What I find is my buddy, Kevin Rookstool, wrenching on his own bike under Gus's pit. We shoot the shit and have some laughs. Bryan Oliphant of Novik Gloves and Paul Kifer from Mantis United walked by and gave Rookstool a mud scraper to help clean the bike after a moto. Kifer and I discuss his line of sunglasses and I'm told he sponsors Taye and Gieson. He invites me to a team BBQ they are having and I'm happy to have a hot meal. The following day the race was stopped for over an hour as rain and high winds battered the track, and at one point the media tent was evacuated after the support poles started snapping. The sound scared me so bad I almost ran a guy over trying to get out. Stewart looked on pace to take it but crashed hard in a rut and hurt his wrist. This opened the door for Dungey who stepped up to take the win. Completely wore out, I headed home, but this time stopped in Mesquite, Nv to get some sleep before making my way home.
It's Thursday, the 21st, and I'm packing my bags for Mammoth. I will be driving up Monday night to shoot most of the races. I've included some of my favorite photos from the races I've mentioned above. Hope you like them.
Please feel free to ask me any questions about photography or life on the road as an action sports photographer.
Thanks for reading! Eric Narvaez