Xterra Rotorua Festival 2011

This year I was lucky enough to get picked to be on the Marathon Photos team to travel to the Xterra Festival in Rotorua. It is the largest offroad multi-sport event in New Zealand, and the largest Xterra event in the world.

My challenge was to get shots in the forest of runners. I brought my lighting set up and scouted on the day before. We found 2 spots that worked for me. Both were in a “S” bend in the trail that allowed for a view of the runners individually even though there were many at one time.

Here is the lighting diagram for this setup. I put the main light to the right on a light stand and with Pocket Wizard remote triggers. The rim light (often called a hair light) was directly behind on the left hand side of the track. I also placed a 3rd light in the bush that was intended to light up the punga fern in the background. A lot of the time this did not make a lot of difference to the image so I ended up adding it to the main light setup to give me more power.

An example of the first location setup

The second location, more natural light came through the trees during the day.

In the second location, I did more of the same lighting except I had some sunlight coming through the trees adding to the shot. I still made sure to expose for the daylight outside of the forest, and used the flashes as the main light in the exposure.


The leader of the Xterra Richard Ussher coming through the trail running section


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