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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Motorsport Photography...Hi I am looking for tips on motosport photography i.e. bikes and sidecars (fast moving things) I have put some ...
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Old 08-10-2009, 19:14   #1 (permalink)
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Motorsport Photography

Hi I am looking for tips on motosport photography i.e. bikes and sidecars (fast moving things)
I have put some pics on Matt Johnston Photography - Home
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:58   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Motorsport Photography

This is one of my favourite type of shoots....
Below is some generic advice, from what I have learned...
I viewed your shots...
I have found that the continuous shot setting is priceless, plenty of memory cards, accept you will be shooting hundreds, and only getting a few good ones, and go enjoy yourself...

Both eyes open.....
Watch what you intend to shoot with one eye through the viewfinder, but be prepared to change that at a moments notice, keep the other eye open, and watch everywhere else...the "Highside", where the bike looses traction and throws the rider, doesnt give much prior notice... you dont want to miss that, do you?...

Lens choice, you will probably need a small zoom, but dont go too big... this is one time where the closer you are pays dividends, as longer lenses take longer exposure times, unless you have one the size of the Hubble telescope.
Set a fast ISO, "Swing" with the action for passing bikes, and hope the action unfolds before you...the faster the shot, the better the result...

The best results I have had were planning the shot, planning a continuous shot, and marking out in my mind where a 5shot burst starts and finishes, waiting for the bike(s) to get into the area, start the shoot, and follow the action...but do this through the viewfinder with both eyes open... missing something elsewhere because you didnt see it is a pain.
Practise this type of shot a few times, and you get results.

Where to stand...
Go do a walk-around before the race starts, even watch a race without the camera, to see where the action happens, frame up the track in your viewfinder, get some "Interesting" static shots with no one racing, and then plan how to catch the bikes in that shot.
Knowledge of the track is invaluable...
Every track is different, there is no absolute one single best place to stand that applies to all, but some tips for experience..

Generic Best places...
On the inside of a tight bend... you get all the action heading your way, the braking for the corner, the lean into the corner, and the faces of the riders... you also get the action as some tumble, and being on the inside, its not going to land in your lap... well... most of the time....
After that, you then get the "Wenting" shots as the riders open up again for the straight bits.

Just before the tight bend..... if you are lucky, you get the heavy braking with the back wheel in the air, and back shots of riders on the bend

Just after the tight bend.... here you get the side shot of heavy acceleration with the front wheel in the air, and front shots of riders negotiating the bend...
If you have the zoom and a steady hand, you can also reach through the bend to catch the "Heads Up" action of the approach to the bend...

Pits.....Not all the action happens on the track...

To avoid... in the middle of long straights... a procession of riders doing the "Here's-me-head-me-bum's-following" thing...

All the action happens where speed changes rapidly... you need spots of heavy acceleration, and riders trying to out-brake each other, chicanes, where its full swap from leaning one way to the other rapidly, and places where its "Full thrutch and trust in the lord" acceleration whilst trying to keep the front wheel below shoulder height....

If you can find a space where you get a complex of bends, straights, pit exits, etc, thats a good place to start... then be prepared to move to another spot to get other action...

I write this as not just a photographer (still learning), but as a race novice rider, who used to thrash a Moto Guzzi V50, and various Ducati's round tracks on open days... "Just for the experience", but that experience is worth the bikes weight in gold.

One not to miss.. the "Chicken Chase".... this is the FUN race where you get a 'disposable' limited 50cc moped type thing, and give it plenty round the track...
As the bikes never get much above 30mph, falling off doesnt hurt, either the rider or the bike, therefore, bigger risks, LOTS of tumbles, and loads of fun....
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Old 10-10-2009, 10:08   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Motorsport Photography

Thanks silverdragon for the tips will be trying them out at the next race meeting!
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