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Our friend and coworker, Jim celebrated his 60th birthday with a day full of outdoor sports.  Since he’s Irish, it was only fitting the celebration was on St. Patrick’s Day.  The day was perfectly planned and scheduled chock full of various outdoor activities, one right after another. Jim outdid everyone, completing each event with energy to spare while the rest of us played tag team trying to keep up with him.

The morning started with open ocean swimming, surfing, and paddle boarding in Malibu.

Followed by kayaking with friends.

Although some gave it their best shot, no one capsized

Slightly more dramatic than in real life

It’s good to have friends that enjoy the same hobbies you do

We then drove ahead of the group and hiked a little ways down a nice trail and played on a rope swing waiting for the rest to bike by.

It’s amazing how just a simple rope swing can keep you entertained for hours…it’s fun to be a kid again




The final activity was a 4 mile hike in Temescal Canyon ending at Jim’s house for drinks, food, and storytelling.

Coming down the final switchbacks of Temescal Canyon

We thought it was a great way to celebrate a birthday, we only hope we will be as fit and energetic when we turn 60! Happy Birthday to Jim!


By Nathan

I had never heard of cyclocross until my friend Paul mentioned he was competing in a cyclocross race at the Fairplex.  It’s an interesting concept – racing “road bikes” (not quite the same, but they are much closer to road bikes than mountain bikes) on a course with different terrain and various obstacles.

Paul, who is a professional photographer, also let me use his 300mm 2.8 L lens, which alone made the trip worth it.  It’s an amazingly sharp lens that I will probably never be able to afford, so this was a unique opportunity.
It took some getting used to since I own and use mainly zoom lens allowing me to be more flexible on my shooting location.  I spent the first hour before the race scouting out different positions around the track.  These races are also very impromptu and at first glace the track is complicated and confusing as there isn’t an official/ accurate map.  I tried to focus on the obstacles since I felt that would make the most interesting shots and easiest to visually identify as I ran from location to location.
The Stairs
The second complication was there were so many cyclist and race classes that there was always a race in progress mixed with people just practicing for their up-coming race.  You had to be careful as you ducked under multiple tape lines asking yourself, “am I on or off the track now?”… then a brightly colored spandex blur would race past… “yep I’m on the track.”
Keeping it Interesting
The races have a set time of ~30 minutes and the cyclists try to complete as many laps of the course as they can in the allotted time. After the racer in first place finishes, everyone else just finishes the lap they are on. Since everyone was making about 3-4 laps per race, I had the chance to maneuver and re-position myself to capture multiple obstacles that were close together.
Brutal Sand
The Hurdles
Banked Dirt S Turn
These races are also quite informal, and since the sport is looking to expand, they welcome photographers.  It’s always nice when you can have free rein of the course and take unique positions.
The Start
It’s so informal that there were a couple kids taking advantage of the empty BMX dirt ramps between racers.
There was also an interesting bike polo gaming going on, which was another first for me.
Overall cyclocross was a pretty fun activity to photograph so a few weeks later I joined Paul at another race in Glendale’s Verdugo Park.  This was a more difficult venue to race and photograph since the area was much smaller and it weaved around trees and playground equipment.  It was also sunny, which was nice but created awkward shady areas or blown out backgrounds.
Push to the Finish
Luckily shooting in RAW and using Lightroom allows me to lighten the dark areas without blowing out the entire photo.
This time Paul wore yellow which was easy to spot among the other spandex billboards.
The track also didn’t have as many obstacles as the previous since it was in a city park and not a rented arena.
For instance a swing set sandbox was flanked on both sides with the cyclocross sand pits.  So there were lots of kids playing on the swings while packs of cyclists whizzed past.  I was surprised there weren’t any playground collisions.
Cyclocross is very interesting for photographers, but I’m also interested in competing someday…but I should get a bike first.  Although it’s another expensive hobby at least I would get some good exercise. Speaking of expensive, the 300mm 2.8L is incredible and was good practice using a fixed lens.  I still like my zooms though…  I actually just bought the 70-300mm L lens and hope to use it on an upcoming whale watching trip.
Thanks again, Paul!
Check out the other photos from these two events.

By Katharine

Thanks to A Los Angeles Love, I discovered this scavenger hunt contest sponsored by the city of Marina del Rey. The contest has 3 entry categories, and we went with “Wedding” since, you know, we are recently engaged. Then you just have to complete the 10 “missions” which are basically fairly simple snapshots of various sights throughout Marina del Rey. It seemed like a fun date-day activity, with the added bonus of giving Nathan a reason to play with his camera.

We decided to use this contest as an opportunity to get some exercise, so we biked from Santa Monica down to Marina del Rey. Including all the biking around the Marina, we probably ended up totaling about 20 miles. Not bad for a lazy Saturday.

The actual ‘missions’ were not that challenging since the photo spots were super easy to find, but they were sometimes a bit awkward to take photos in. For example, you had to get a photo at the gazebo in the Rose Garden of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. I always hate being in super fancy places, especially if I’m not exactly entitled to be there, but we managed to get this shot:


You may notice the tables set up with linens and the trays of drinking glasses by the gazebo. That’s because there was, or was going to be, a wedding there today. So, it felt a little awkward to be sneaking in to achieve our mission. But hey, the city created this contest and I’m sure they checked with the Ritz before adding them to the list. (Side note, for being a Ritz Carlton, I was not impressed with this as a wedding venue. At least not the ceremony site)

Some of the other missions were a bit more interesting, like having to draw your initials in the sand at the beach, or taking a photo at the exercise bars along the bike path:


We had a lot of fun, even with some of the awkwardness. And I hadn’t really ever explored Marina del Rey, so it was nice to do that, especially by bike. (Doing this contest by car would have been a nightmare since at least 3 locations only had valet parking! and walking would take you all weekend because the places were surprisingly spread out.) So the bikes were perfect, Nathan got to play with his camera, and we both got some exercise. Success!

See More Photos Here