Results from first time shooting a motorcycle race!

Discussion in 'Sports' started by justinweiss, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. I got a lot of good advice in a previous thread on how to shoot a motorcycle race; here are some of the results I got with a rented D3 and 300m f/2.8 VR combo. I welcome any constructive criticism.
    Some things I learned:
    (1) If you are shooting from inside the track, it can be hard to move around to different spots safely while the race is going on.
    (2) Crashes are exciting and would make great photos, but I missed all of the 8 or so crashes that happened because they were over so fast. You really have to anticipate what's going to happen, set up at a likely tight corner, and have your shot lined up in advance if you want to get a crash on film as it happens.
    (3) A 300mm lens was maybe a little bit too long for the small track this race was on. A 200mm probably would have been just right. Although the 300mm did let me get some great close-ups, it was hard to make sure the action was all in the frame at times, and I found my shooting positions limited.
    (4) If you are going to be on muddy grass, wrap the bottom of your tripod or monopod legs in plastic bags to keep dirt out of them
    (5) Panning is an art. I got some pretty good panning shots (not shown above b/c I haven't post-processed them yet), but I still need to practice at it.
    Thanks again to everyone who gave me advice on shooting this event.
  2. Looks like you're using such a high shutter speed that it's freezing the wheels; a bit slower lets the spokes blur, and the bike looks more like it's in motion.
    Have you shot from the first turn or two on the first lap? That's when things are the hairiest.
    Also, where is this?
  3. Scot, this was at Sports Land Yamanashi in Yamanashi, Japan.
    I wanted to take some high-shutter-speed shots to get at least a few pics as tack-sharp as possible. Then I dropped down the shutter speed and tried some panning shots, some of which came out good, but others of which were too blurry. I'll post some of them later.
  4. Great job, I think the first one is my favorite because you can see the rider's eyes, plus the guy behind him blurred out a bit is nice.
  5. Justin,
    I like the first two best for the same reason given by Nathan. . .seeing the eyes of the rider adds emotion.
    I'm curious about your focusing technique. . .
    did you use auto-focus? and if so, did you find it a great help or sometimes a hindrance?
    nice job!!
  6. Very nice shots, also like the eyes in the first one... Was that cropped at all? I hope so, or there isn't much room for the riders if they come off the track before getting up and personal with the guard rail I assume you where behind.
    I agree with the comment about slower shutter speeds to blur the wheels, depending on how fast they are going somewhere between 320th and 500th seems to work pretty well.
    Hope you post some more shots
  7. Asa, I used the 51-points autofocus setting, but set the exposure in manual mode. I found it a huge help, because the action was moving way too fast to adjust focus manually. Theoretically, I could have focused on a particular area and waited for the riders to reach that point, but it was easier to just worry about getting the exposure right and letting the autofocus do its job. By firing off a few shots in a row of key moments, I almost always got at least one sharp shot of the action.
    Also, here is a shot I did with a slower shutter speed, panning the camera from left to right:
  8. By the way, the motion blur shot above was at 1/125 sec.
  9. Excellent shots! Keep up the good work. Dave.

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