This past Sunday, the nation's oldest cyclocross series, Surf City CX, held a Turkey Cross cyclocross race at the Calfire Training Facility outside of Santa Cruz in Bonny Doon.
This Thanksgiving, we're closing out the holiday with a great photo gallery of the action and festivities at Turkey Cross from photographer Jeff Vander Stucken.
The day featured temperatures near the 70s, a varied course the mixed bumpy fields with challenging, twisty singletrack and a few, short steep rises and climbs. A kids’ race, several racing turkeys and a taco truck kept most attendees occupied, entertained and well-fed.
While we're always happy to show off Vander Stucken's photos, we unfortunately also have a sad message from the photographer.
Vander Stucken has been shooting Norcal cyclocross races for the last several seasons, and more than a few of his great galleries have graced our pages. While not his main form of living, Vander Stucken photographs both for the love of the sport and for the chance to sell a few photographs to racers and their families who appreciate his work.
It's abundantly clear that many racers do appreciate his work, but sadly, many end up simply using it without paying as little as $2.99 to license it and honor his copyrights (something we're all too familiar with as well). Sadly, because of such rampant and continued violations, Vander Stucken announced on Instagram that he's hanging it up after this season.
We reached out to learn more, and Vander Stucken shared his thoughts below.
"I've been really wrestling with this for about six months. I love the so many things about the sport as well as the people and the community, but the photo stealing has just gotten out of hand. It's a horrible feeling to know that within hours of posting photos to my site that a handful of people are going to take screenshots, post them to social media (sometimes try to hide the watermark behind emojis) and still tag me.
And I know that there are more people doing it than I see because they tell me in somewhat embarrassed tones that they do it sometimes, too. They just don't tag me, or it's on Facebook (which I don’t use).
Since I posted my decision many people on Instagram have sympathized about how it's hard to make money in this sport. The money isn't irrelevant, but that's not really the point. To make an analogy: seeing my photos get stolen feels the same as how I've felt when I've had bikes stolen. And in this case, I made the bike myself after spending thousands of hours learning how to build it. Sadly, I know it’s going to happen after every race I shoot. And I know I'm not going to sleep right for a few days after.
"The money isn't irrelevant, but that's not really the point. To make an analogy: seeing my photos get stolen feels the same as how I've felt when I've had bikes stolen."
I hate that feeling. I hate that doing something I love makes me feel that way.
So I'm not going to do it that way anymore. I'm still going to shoot for clients, and for myself, but probably not as often as before. I'm sure I'll miss being out there every weekend, but that's a lot easier to swallow than dealing with my "bike" getting stolen.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me and my photography. It really breaks my heart to do this."
If you like Vander Stucken's work, or even perhaps screengrabbed a photo in the past, Thanksgiving is as good as time as any to say thanks by buying a photo. And if you live outside the range of Vander Stucken's lens, perhaps supporting your local photographer could be the best type of shopping on the day. You'll avoid the Black Friday crowds and help ensure your photographer won't have to make the same difficult decision.
While we hope he'll change his mind, we're thankful to show another Vander Stucken gallery from the 2017 Surf City Turkey Cross race below. See all of Vander Stucken's work here: jeffvsphoto.smugmug.com