Speed shots

May 16, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

When I started shooting races, the name for my website came naturally. I wanted to capture the action of motorsports.

As a photographer, I try to shoot images that do not simply capture a moment. I also want to capture someone's memory, an emotion, as well as an artistic impression, and I try to do that within the context of those subjects I am passionate about.

One of those subjects is motorcycles. Motorcycle racing is one of the most exciting forms of motor racing on the planet! The riders are not enclosed inside some steel shell; you can see their every move. From my vantage point I get to experience the sound and fury of man and machine, racing elbow to elbow at over 100mph! It is a visual feast of brightly colored leathers, the armor of these gladiators, astride their equally colorful steeds. 

 

Just how does a photographer convey the excitement of racing? I look for angles where the racers will be balancing on a knife edge, the turns where they are controlling the battle between gravity and speed. I watch the competition develop and try to find racers in the heat of passing each other. I see riders pushing the envelope of acceleration, or at the limits of braking. I walk around the pits, and look for the background activity, the highs and lows of competition, things that show the human side of racing. These are after all, just regular people like you and I.

As with all action sports, using the correct shutter speed determines the image you get. Too slow and things are blurred beyond recognition, too fast and you freeze action at the risk of losing that sense of motion. Panning with the racer ensures you get the subject in sharp focus. Manipulating the aperture lets you isolate the racer against a sometimes busy or boring background. Over a race weekend I may shoot over 1000 frames. Which is then followed by the process of weeding out the ones that are either technically or visually flawed, looking for the perfect ones that my fans would like to see and use. It's a lot of work, but to be honest, it's also a lot of fun.

So while my friends are out there pushing themselves to be the fastest, I too, am pushing myself to get the best shot. One that is not only artistically pleasing as a photo, but also communicates to the viewer as if they were there. 


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