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The Photog’s View: USPRO Weekend in Greenville
Welcome to another edition of the Photog’s View. I was recently in Greenville, SC shooting the USPRO Time Trial and Road Race Cycling Championships. I’d like to share a few of my favorite images from the event and provide a little insight into some of the photos.

By Darrell Parks

USPRO Time Trial

This TT was all about the Levi and Taylor show. I like this tight shot of Levi as the reflection in his face shield and Helmet adds depth to the otherwise limited depth of field in the image.

The great thing about the TT course in Greenville, is that it consists of several laps. This gives the photographer the opportunity to shoot different perspectives each time the rider comes around. You’re also able to move around the course a bit between laps. Most importantly though it gives you another chance to get the shot in case you screw up! In most TT races you get one shot at the rider. Once he goes by, that’s it.

The eyes have it.

Taylor was wearing some retro Oakley Shades for the TT. You can see the concentration and determination in his eyes as he peers through the dark lenses.

One of the best tools in the photogs arsenal for TT’s is the 300mm Telephoto lens. This lens allows you to get right up in the face of the riders without actually being in their face. You can really get a sense of what the rider is experiencing with this super telephoto optic.

Scott Zwizanski TT Torture.

Unlike Taylor, Scott Zwizanski was not having the ride of his life. In this image Scott’s eyes are closed as he tries to deal with the pain of averaging close to 30 miles an hour for 40 minutes! And after enduring this TT torture he got into the break in the next days Road Race – right from the gun! These guys are true gladiators.

Taylor gets tilted.

One of the easiest ways to add interest to an image is to tilt the camera slightly. This subtle effect creates a bit of tension in the image as the viewers mind expects the subject to be vertical.

Stars and stripes struggle.

It seems that everyone thought Levi had the best chance of winning the TT. On paper he was the steely veteran with countless TT wins under his belt. When Taylor took the win by tenths of a second, everyone was stunned. Apparently the race organizers had picked Levi for a sure thing as well. When Taylor tried to put the champions jersey on he could barely get it over his head! As he struggled to squeeze into the tunic he said “I think this is Levi’s size”. Everyone was laughing as Levi looked on in disbelief.

Underage Drinking Problem hits the Peloton.

Champagne. It’s been the liquid of choice of celebrations for centuries – for Adults. The thing about Taylor Phinney is he’s yet to celebrate his 21st birthday. After numerous yells of “He’s not 21” from the crowd, Cycling announcer extraordinaire (and quick thinker) Dave Towle informed the fans that it was not champagne but nonalcoholic sparkling cider!

USPro Time Trial – Press Conference Portaits

Somber Levi.

This is a shot of Levi in a somber mood taken as he was discussing the day’s loss. He was asked if the ban on race radio usage had an impact on the results. His response was one of a true champion. “It would have been nice to have the radios but it didn’t matter. Taylor was the faster man today”

Happy Levi.

This shot was taken near the end of the press conference. Levi was more relaxed and smiling as he talked about the possibility of winning the next day’s road race.

USPro Road Race

Peloton and the BMC Cheerleaders.

I always like to seek out locations that allow me to get at least 2 interesting perspectives from one location. Typically I’ll shoot with two cameras. One will have a wide angle lens and the other a telephoto. In the case of the Paris Mountain KOM I found a nice spot near the lower section of the final climb. I could shoot the peloton as they turned onto the final pitch. The BMC Cheerleaders from Lees-McRae College were across the street ready to run along with the riders which would add some interest to the image. Once the peloton had passed me I could get a nice compressed shot of the group climbing the steep slope. Now I just needed to lock down my location and wait. Some height would give a better angle on the image and ensure no one would get in front of me so I found a telephone pole to use as a stabilizer as I stood on the guard rail.

The photog in position.

Peloton nears the summit.

What you’re about to see next may be a bit of a shock to the system. If you’ve been to a cross race this probably won’t phase you in the least, but we’re talking Professional Road cycling here!

Ben King takes a beer hand up.

Yes, that is Ben King the race winner, just after taking a hit of suds, off the front of the race, alone, just meters from the KOM. First Taylor Phinney and champagne now this?

Mark Hekman takes a beer handup, then heads to retirement. We’ll miss you, Mark!!!

And what’s this? Mark Hekman takes a beer hand up on the Paris Mountain Climb! How many riders are drinking on the climb that I didn’t see? How could this be happening?

The photog takes a beer hand up.

And what’s this? The Photog himself takes a beer hand up. Ah yes that explains it. The DopeStrong Gang has brought a keg up the mountain and are being a bad influence on everyone. A freshly tapped New Belgium IPA is impossible for anyone to turn down. I even witnessed them handing up a cup of whiskey to an unsuspecting soul who quickly commenced to falling off his bike. I would have turned these scoundrels in to the authorities had the cyclist not been outfitted in nothing but a speedo…

Ben King enters the final turn.

I stationed myself just inside the fence on the final big turn to the finish line. Since the race finished with three final circuits, I would have time to get a nice tight shot of Ben King going all out with the Telephoto lens. Then I could get a nice wide angle scenic with the chase group going all out in single file in as they tried to run him down. This left just enough time to scurry down the street to the finish.

The chase group enters the final turn.

Be sure to visit my website at to see more images and keep clickin’ into PEZ for what’s cool in pro cycling!


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