Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Day At Black Rock Mt Bike Park

Located just outside of Falls City Oregon, Black Rock has become one of the best Mt bike riding areas on the west coast. Fast flowing single track, drops, ramps and other amazing features built into the sounding forest are all sure to please a large verity of riders, no matter you skill level.

Sounds interesting? Wanna check it out?
Well, pack up your bike and get going!

After about an hour and a half drive south of Portland you will arrive in the small (really small) town of Falls City. This will be your last stop for anything you want to grab before you head out for the days ride. There is a little store for drinks and munchies, a really nice new cafe, and an old bar for those wanting to grab food and drinks after the ride.

After a quick 10 mile  drive out of town along a nice creek, the gravel road leads you to the parking area where you must stage before riding in past the gate for Camp Tapawingo.  Once thru the gate follow the gravel road across the meadow and then follow the signs up the hill to the ridding area.

A mile or so up you'll hit 'Basic Training'. This is a fun little play area with some jumps and balance ramps to get you warmed up for whats to come farther up the hill.

As you pedal up, you will see a few trails as they cross the road, and get a good look at some of the ramp features you'll be hitting on your way back down.

The road ends just a little ways from the top, and then a nice single track trail winds its way up for the last 1/4 mile or so.
There are many other trails you can hit on the way up, but I like going all the way to the top. Something about the climber in me I guess ;-)
Also, if your wanting to shoot some photos while your there,  you've picked a good spot! The trails and ramp features are all great for pics and the surrounding forest is as beautiful as any around. When the fog rolls in, which it often does, it is simply a magical place...

Shooting in the fog is easy with all the soft light diffused by the mist. Pretty much anywhere you point the camera is a great shot. But once the fog is gone or the sun breaks out, it makes shooting nice shots much harder.
Sun it the woods makes for super contrasty images and are best shot at the first and last light of the day when the direct light is at its softest. But, lots of shots can still turn out nice if you apply a few tricks in the middle of the day or in poor light.
For the most part, if the sun is out and I'm in the woods I don't even consider scenic shots. But action shots can still work out good if you back light them. Backlighting your subject helps to lessen the contrast and make a much more pleasing image. Add a little fill light and all of a sudden that harsh mid day light isn't so bad

If its overcast, its nice to add a little light to help your subject pop off the background. While an on camera can help a little, its much better to have a flash off to the side to give the light some direction.
I use the wireless pocket wizard system to trigger my flashes, but there are many others like them out there to choose from.

Here is a link to the parks web site if you'd like some more info before heading out.

Have fun and ride safe.
And if your taking pics, always be mindful of other riders and put safety first!