Battle in the Chute

I ended up shooting some cross country events over the last couple weeks and they brought be back. I remembered my own pre-race jitters, the check-in, stride outs, waiting on the line for the gun, and then the blur of the race. Honestly, I don’t think my times ever counted toward the team’s total but I still gave it all I had. At my school, wins were great but having fun and staying fit were the top priorities. I have only good memories from our trips and meets. I also have a respect for running that I hope lasts the rest of my life. And of course I’ll always have a soft spot for watching two runners battle it out in the chute.

Self-Propelled

Even though I can’t remember the last time I went for a bike ride, I fully support the upsurge in popularity that road biking has seen in the past few years. Of course I understand there is a difference between the hipster who converts an old Schwinn into a fixie and the baby-boomer who customizes an ultralight Trek racing bike, but I think essentially both of these people are after the same things: to feel the wind on their faces, to traveling faster using only their own power. On a physical design level, bicycles have come a long way to be as efficient at getting people around as they are today. I respect the sustainability of bicycles and am glad to see so many people out riding, whether they are sporting Oakley glasses, skinny jeans, or otherwise.

…I think I just convinced myself to start looking around for a bike.

Jim Jordan of Forest leads other members of the Lynchburg-based Dire Wolf Racing Team on a training ride on Coffee Rd near Forest, Va.

King of the Garlic Festival

A couple weeks ago I went to shoot some photos at Rebec Vineyards near Amherst (about 20 miles north of Lynchburg) as a preview for the annual Garlic Festival. Well-known locally, it is a two-day event that brings people from surounding counties to sample food, wines, listen to music and browse countless vendor booths. This was to be the last year that Richard Hanson, the founder and host of the festival for the past 20 years, would organize it before passing the on reigns to someone else. Hoping for good light at sunset, I arrived just after five in the evening. Even though he had been busy since six A.M. that morning getting things ready, Hanson agreed to show me around, a glass of red wine in his hand. Judging by the labored pace at which he started off, I prepared myself for an awkward generation gap and rambling tales of days gone by. But he was remarkably sharp-witted and I quickly saw how much strength and energy he drew from this festival — and how hard it would be for him to let go of it.

In an interview with our reporter, Hanson said he started in 1991 with a plan to do 20 festivals. “I’m sticking to that,” he said. “I was 65 for the first one, and guess what I am now? Not any younger. I think the thing to do is turn it over.” His longtime business partner will take charge next year, presumably with Hanson not too far away.

During a rare break, Rebec Vineyards founder Richard Hanson rests with a glass of his own wine, waiting for more vendors to check in for the Virginia Wine & Garlic Festival in Amherst. “It’s the calm before the storm,” said Hanson, who expected 150 vendor booths to be up and running within two days.

Grabbing Gold

It’s interesting to have a personal connection to a particular work of art, song, or movie, and then meet the person (or one of the people) who was instrumental in its creation. I know that James Cameron was the visionary responsible for ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ but without a like-minded producer those pictures may have turned out much differently. For the worst. And I think that, considering the revenue and fame each of those films generated, Jon Landau (the producer on both films) has repeatedly presented himself as a much more genuine person–certainly more humble–than Mr. “I’m-the-king-of-the-world” Cameron. Tonight I got to listen to Landau speak about his experiences and afterward he passed around his Best Picture Oscar from ‘Titanic.’ (I couldn’t resist.)

Lynchburg College senior Leonard Thomas picks up the Best Picture Oscar that producer Jon Landau won for Titanic after Landau’s talk at the school on Thursday.