Autumn Burn and Sled Dog Derby August 2017


Friday August 4th I head up to stay at a house in Waitarere Beach with a group of Central Territories Siberian Husky Club members. Fun group of people, chatting, a few drinks then it’s an early night for all, to be fresh for the pre-dawn start.

I could hear stirrings in the house from 4.30am, prepping for the day ahead. We all made it to the forest gate by 5.30am. . . no sleeping in with this sport!!

The setup crew for the Autumn Burn headed into the forest before the main convoy of entrants, so I hooked in behind them. This gave me time to sort my gear and get photos in the dark of people moving round and the convoy of cars and trailers as they arrived in the forest clearing.

Autumn Burn setting up
Autumn Burn gathering for briefing

Pretty chilly this morning at 1 degree. Dogs loving it!! 

As the sun came up, racing began, the start line position had good light. In contrast the finish line was in a dark area of the forest. I positioned myself at the start, to get the energy and emotion of the dogs as they ready for action.

Autumn Burn rig start
Autumn Burn rig start
Autumn Burn rig start
Autumn Burn rig start

Scooters – this time focusing in on the dogs themselves.

Autumn Burn dogs recovery
Forest scooter race finish
Dryland dog rig race finish
Sled dog race prizegiving

Once all teams were away from the start I walked round watching teams coming in and the dogs recovering. 

Huskies and rig
Autumn Burn dogs recovering
Autumn Burn thirsty dog

Veteran class up next.

Autumn Burn veteran start
Autumn Burn veteran start
Autumn Burn veteran start
Autumn Burn veteran start

A junior musher at the ready for the start. Eric quietly giving Zelda the husky her running instructions.


Autumn Burn junior race


Club members setting up and handing out the prizes. 

CTSHC prize giving
CTSHC prizes
CTSHC prizes
CTSHC prizegiving

Afternoon racing at the Sled Dog Derby I again set up for shots of the start, low angle. Then turned round and caught a shot of some happy faces after crossing the finish line, emerging into the golden light of evening.

Sled Dog Derby start line
Sled Dog Derby start line
Sled Dog Derby finishers

The sun was setting as the rigs left the start line, and darkness had fallen by the time they made it home. I ventured out for more ghosting images of teams crossing the finish line.

Sled Dog Derby end of day
Sled Dog Derby rig line up
Sled Dog Derby rigs finish in the dark

One rugged up, muddy photographer in her happy place 🙂


Teresa at sunset

Once all teams were in, it was prizegiving, tidy up and then convoy out of the forest, back to the house for hot food and a drink.

Bonus video of the veterans finishing on Sunday morning.
Full report on the Siberian Husky Challenge coming in the next blog.

Until next time,


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