On Friday, June 10, the cycling and sports world lost one of its great photographers. Doug Pensinger passed away unexpectedly at home in Colorado with his wife, Bettyann, by his side.
The bio page on Doug’s website gives a brief overview of his extensive photography career. He began as a 15-year-old freelancer at a newspaper in his home state of Pennsylvania back in 1980. He quickly rose through the photography ranks while attending Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. After working beside President Ronald Reagan’s press pool he launched a freelance career in Washington,D.C., and worked for such titles as the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated.
Through connections made in D.C., Doug then ended up working for the Army Times Publishing Company. Doug took on assignments during the invasion of Panama, the first Gulf War, Bosnia and Somalia before finally taking on freelance sports assignments for Allsport Photography.
By 1998 he had left the Army Times and began shooting sports full-time before his position transferred into a staff position with Getty Images, which had acquired Allsport. With Getty Doug traveled the world to cover major sporting events, including many times each of the Super Bowl, the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR, the Kentucky Derby, the Olympic Games and the championships for soccer, baseball and hockey, just to name a few. Doug was an avid cyclist himself – his love for the sport never faded – so the Tour de France was always one of his favourites.
I met Doug around 2004 at the Tour de Georgia. The event had grown and big names were coming from Europe to race it, so along came Doug. I had no idea who the guy was, but we quickly became friends because we could work hard together all day and party just as hard once the work was done; I tried my best to keep up. After long days of working off the back of a moto side by side, and then being kicked out of bars together later that night, I knew we’d be longtime friends.
While I didn’t know Doug’s extensive photography background, I also didn’t know how much I would learn from him over the years. I learned a lot from Doug about being a photographer, but I also learned about being a friend and a father.
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