10th of Jan, 2014. 

6am, seat belt on and we are away on about a 4 hour trip to Embalse Cabra Corral. 

The photo points we are given are a guide and all the listed vehicles will come past that area. 

This time we are told the bikes only will come past us which is fine as I have not shot bikes in action for 3 days, only cars and some trucks. 

We arrive and the locals, as always, are there.  Families, groups of kids, men drinking beer, and more BBQ’s than I think is safe to have in the one dry forested area.  These are old school ground fires with a well used grill on top and the aroma of meat sizzling away.  No weber or fancy cooking apparatus here!  Our designated spot is nice but is busy, and while this does make a few images, I am looking for cleaner more scenic images.  

So with three camera bodies, 4 lenses, remote triggers, tripod, batteries and lots of water hanging off me, I descend down the dusty gravel road in search of a better spot. 

Our 4x4 will wait here, about 350m away from our exit point.  I walk about 3km past many people all waiting for the bikes, all of them with cold drinks and food aplenty.  There is a bridge I walk over, like a few days ago, with a very holiday feel,  swimming etc.  As the road rises into the mountain, I see the valley and mountain open up as I look back, so I walk further.  

Happy with the spot and when my kit has weighed me down enough, I stop under a tree to take a break and have a drink. 

Within the hour the bikes come through and I shoot the first three in this spot.  I slowly walk back down the track, jogging to points I liked along the way to get the different riders  through. 

As I stop at one point some locals ask me some questions in broken English, I take a photo of them and they are very happy with this so they wouldn’t let me leave without trying some of their BBQ.  “Argentinean Steak, the best in the world” one of the men said to me as he gives me a big piece of meat, its delicious, I thank them for their hospitality and I move back along the road. 

I am sure they wanted me to stay as they offered me drinks and a full plate but I want photos.  As I keep working my way around the course, the heat is getting to me now and the riders are becoming less frequent so I head back to my transport and pack up. 

Filipe shows up and we make our way back to the safety point but locals told him that the cars are coming through here, somehow they have better information than we do. 

I unpack my stuff and we shoot the top 12 cars then the fairly short trip to Salta, our next bivouac.  This is a fair ground of some kind but has great facilities so for the first time this week, I have running hot water and the media centre I pitch my tent in, along with many others, has carpet. 

Living the high life now! 

Tomorrow there is no racing, but instead we fly to Uyuni in Bolivia.  Not sure what to expect but very much looking forward to it

View Dean's coverage of the Dakar Rally 2014 on Getty Images

  • EMBALSE CABRA CORRAL, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 10: A local fan watches (#301) Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Lucas Cruz of Spain for MINI compete as seen in the reflection of his glasses during Day 6 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 10, 2014 near Embalse Cabra Corral, Argentina. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • EMBALSE CABRA CORRAL, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 10: (#106) David Batalla of Spain for Gas - Gas Epsilon Team rides past a sign which says 'Privada No Pasara No Cazar' or 'no trespassing and no hunting' as he competes during Day 6 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 10, 2014 near Embalse Cabra Corral, Argentina. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • EMBALSE CABRA CORRAL, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 10: (#34) Miran Stanovnik of Slovenia for KTM Miran Stanovnik competes during Day 6 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 10, 2014 near Embalse Cabra Corral, Argentina. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • EMBALSE CABRA CORRAL, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 10: (#53) Pedro Bianchi Prata of Portugal for Husqvarna Team Bianchi Prata Kia Vodafone competes during Day 6 of the 2014 Dakar Rally on January 10, 2014 near Embalse Cabra Corral, Argentina. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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  • Dean Mouhtaropoulos is a Sports Photographer for Getty Images. Follow him on Twitter at @AllSportSnapper
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Editors Note: The 2014 Dakar Rally will be the 35th running of the event and the sixth successive year that the event is held in South America. The event starts in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina on January 5 and finishes in Valparaíso, Chile on January 18 after thirteen stages of competition. To find out more visit the official Dakar Rally 2014 website.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos is a Sports Photographer for Getty Images. Follow him on Twitter at @AllSportSnapper

 
About Deal Mouhtaropoulos

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Mouhtaropoulos' love for photography began when his godfather bought him a camera for his 12th birthday.

"My journey to become a photographer had started and led me to the Big Smoke as I always knew London would provide a good platform to start my career in the photography business.
Working full time in various non-photo related roles and shooting for magazines and newspapers on weekends, it was then that I discovered Getty Images. When visiting the Getty Gallery, which was in Chelsea at the time, and looking at all those amazing pictures I had an epiphany and knew this was the company I wanted to work for.

I started hounding Getty’s Human Resources department to give me a role, any role, in the company. A few months and hundreds of phone calls later a role came up doing coffees, spreadsheets and filing.
Thanks to my boss, who saw some potential in me, I became a Field Editor for Getty which is like the modern version of working in the Dark Room. I got to work with the best photographers around the world at events like the MTV Awards, Cannes Film Festival, both Football and Rugby World Cups, the Olympics, Champions League football, World Championships in Swimming, Diving, Hockey, Athletics and so on.

This has taught me more than I could ever imagine and after 7 years of absorbing information and applying it to my own photography, I earned the opportunity to become a staff photographer for Getty.
10 years in London came to an end at the start of 2012 and I am now based in the Netherlands covering sports and news in the Benelux, France and Germany. My knowledge of photography has progressed but my passion is as strong as it was when I picked up my first roll of Fuji film as a 12 year old."

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