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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Tour de France
Tyler Isenmann, Photographer
DENVER | CO | usa | Posted: 1:01 AM on 03.13.17
->> Hi all!
This is my first time posting here....so please, be kind. =)

Question....I will be in Europe and have the flexibility to have days where I can see (and shoot) some of the beginning of the Tour de France while I'm there.
Has anyone here photographed it in the past or have any suggestions (your 2 cents/constructive advice, Germany/Belgium/France tips, etc) is greatly appreciated.

Thanks & have a great day!
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Al Sermeno, Photographer
Portland | OR | United States | Posted: 12:31 AM on 03.22.17
->> A time trial stage or mountain stage provide the best photo opportunities. On a flat stage you will wait for hours to get 10 seconds of action. Time trials or mountain stages spread out the field and you can get some great shots. You will still have to wait hours to get a prime location. There are some great photo opportunities when the sponsor caravan comes through. Also, the spectators provide some great photo opportunities.
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Dennis Montgomery, Photographer, Assistant
Ogden | UT | United States | Posted: 11:45 AM on 03.23.17
->> The TDF is one of the premier sporting events in the world and the photo opportunities are amazing. My advice is to do a search for images from previous TDF's to get an idea of what you would like to shoot.

Study the route maps and pay particular attention to the sprint bonus locations, mountain categories/ classifications/summit locations, feed zones and the last 400m of the run into the finish Then, if you have the chance drive the route to look for the best backgrounds, be they mountains or towns. Be aware that there will be crowds, especially at the finish and the mountain summits, so either get there early(hours in some cases) if you want to photograph at these points or look for an elevated viewing point. One other point to consider is that you can photograph from different points in the race if you preplan, e.g. the start, a sprint bonus and maybe the finish. The key here is to know the route and expected times of passage (in the route info with varying values that reflect the possible speeds). Access to any roads that the peloton will be riding is going to be very limited at best, so you have to look at smaller roads and alternate routes. You also have to consider parking, which will be VERY limited at the finish areas and KOM areas.

Also, what Al said is very true. Some of the best photo ops will the passage of the caravan--difficult to describe until you have seen it---and the crowds. If you have watched the TDF on TV, think about seeing "the devil" jumping up and down as the race leaders pass. Also look at the back of the peloton--support riders loading up with water bottles, team mechanics leaning a car window trying to adjust a brake or derailleur at 70 kph are something to behold if you are ready for it and quick. At the start, the riders will be warming up,maybe on a trainer but also on the nearby roads. You can get great shots of the race favorites if you watch them closely prior to the race start. (the race start is usually a controlled start meaning the TDF director's vehicle leads the racers, with the team leaders/favorites in front until they get out of town or it is "safe" to race)

You mentioned you would be at the race at the beginning, so your opportunity to shoot the "HC, Out of Category" climbs will be limited. The first few days of the race are chaotic for the racers and teams will do whatever they can to protect their GC leader. The lesser riders will be chasing down breaks to keep the peloton together to give their sprinters an opportunity for a stage win. You don't have to be right at the finish for these sprint finishes. There is real action and the potential for major crashes and drama, during the last 400m as the teams try to maneuver their sprinters into position for a victory. Look for tight corners where the riders try to hold their lines but where any mistake can be a major disaster when 175 plus riders are moving thru it at 50-60 kph.

Finally, have fun. Put the camera down and enjoy the atmosphere and people from all over the world that you will meet. This is one of, if not the greatest, sporting event in the world.

p.s. Bring rain gear for yourself and your camera. The TDF early stages always seem to bring out the worst from the "weather gods". If you know how to shoot in the rain and have the proper gear, you can get some great shots, both of the racers and the fans.

p.p.s. I keep thinking of more things to add, but one thing to keep in mind that is unless you have already made hotel reservations, getting a room anywhere near a stage or start or finish will be almost impossible because of the huge TDF logistical tail it takes to support the race. Plan accordingly.
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Tyler Isenmann, Photographer
DENVER | CO | usa | Posted: 11:20 PM on 03.27.17
->> Thanks so much!!! Appreciate all the great advice.

Yes, I already have my lodging and a vehicle to scout locations in advance.
And yes, unfortunately I am only going to be in Europe for the first half of the TDF so it does limit me to those stages. (Unless something changes)

And I agree, it is one of the premiere sporting events in the world, thus on my list of "must shoot" in my lifetime.
=)

Thank you again.

Ps....and if you keep thinking of more advice/suggestions...I will always welcome them.
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Thread Title: Tour de France
Thread Started By: Tyler Isenmann
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