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May 7, 2008

Watkins Motocross

Astronaut Hunt

Yesterday, I went out to the Watkins Motocross track in Aurora. Since I'm basically broke, I rode my XR out there, instead of pulling it on a trailer behind the Tahoe, like most rational (employed) people would. Found Brian out there with a shiny new Chevy and his Honda CRF450. Pretty soon, Hunt showed up with another CRF, a Honda 400EX four wheeler, and little brother Ace in tow.

All three of these guys are crazy as loons, of course. Brian has broken more bones than Evil Knievel; I was behind him up around Vail Pass when he totaled one of his snowmobiles "high-marking" in the back bowls. (You can read more about him in the book Killing Strangers). Hunt drove a snowmobile clear across Canada. As in, from one side to the other - over 4,000 km (2,600 miles). Ace rides a Hurricane back East and swims competitively 9 months out of the year. I'm reasonably sure he could out-swim a dolphin.

I went around the track once, but spent most of my time shooting them, as they're fun to watch, soaring through the air like it's no big deal. I'm not so good at ramping, as my skirt tends to get caught in the chain and I'm always afraid I'll break a nail. But it was cool to watch them.

I went out and stood on the track with a Canon EOS 40D and shot them ramping above me, mostly using my shorter, image stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens (EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM) with no filter to take maximum advantage of the light. Now, keep in mind that I'm shooting a motorcycle that's coming at me at probably 30 mph, and ramping past me, so I have approximately 1 second to try to shoot a series of 7 frames. And as the bike approaches, you have to zoom out and pan with the bike. Sometimes it works, sometimes, not so much. I got plenty of shots where I cut off the rider's head. It's easy to screw it up, trust me.

I've posted some of the shots as a 12 Meg (7:17) Adobe Flash slideshow(watkins.swf) you should be able to view with any browser. Alternately, you can view the slideshow as a Windows executable(watkins.exe) which allows the additional functionality of skipping forward, backward, and pausing the slideshow. I run AVG for my anti-virus software, and scan my entire network every night. If you're nervous about running watkins.exe, then you can run the watkins.swf version.

If you want a print or copy of a particular image, try viewing watkins_filename.exe(you can pause this one) or watkins_filename.swf(can't pause this one), as these versions of the slideshow have the image filenames watermarked into each picture. This way, you can specify which images you're interested in.

Click here to view the other slideshows.

The soundtrack is Leave by R.E.M. off of the New Adventures in Hi-Fi album. Lyrics in extended entry.

Artist: R.E.M.
Album: New Adventures in Hi-Fi
Track: Leave
Length: 7:17

Nothing could be bring me closer
Nothing could be bring me near
Where is the road I follow?
to leave, leave

It's under, under, under my feet
The sea spread out there before me
where do I go where the land touches the sea
There is my trust in what I believe

That's what keeps me,
That's what keeps me,
That's what keeps me down,
To leave it, leave it,
Leave it all behind

Shifting the dream
Nothing could bring me further from my old time
Shifting the dream
It's charging the scene
I know where I marked the signs
I Suffer the dreams of a world gone mad
I like it like that and I know it

I know it well, ugly and sweet
That temper madness with an even extreme

That's what keeps me
That's what keeps me
That's what keeps me down
I say that I'm a bantam lightweight
I say that I'm a phantom airplane
That never left the ground

(repeat chorus)

Lift me, lift me,
I attain my dream
I lost myself, I lost the
Heartache calling me
I lost myself in sorrow
I lost myself in pain
I lost myself in clarity,
Memory, leave, leave

(repeat chorus 2x)

lift my hands, my eyes are still
I walk into the scene
lift myself in a different place
just Leavin'

I longed for this to take me,
I longed for my release
I waited for the callin'
To leave, leave

Leave, leave
Leavin', leavin'
Leavin', leave

Posted by Peenie Wallie on May 7, 2008 at 11:54 AM


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