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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Shooting motorbike acrobacy
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09/14/2005 05:10:46 AM · #1
Hi. I need some advice in my next weekend shooting session.

I'm a bit nervous because I'm getting a pass to shoot Lisbon Vodafone Freestyle mororbike show to a magazine. But the thing is I'm afraid my lens aren't quick enough.

I'm going to use 2 D70, and I'm planning to mount my Sigma 105mm f2.8 and the Nikon 70-300 f4-5.6 D ED. But this 70-300mm is slow and I don't know if it do the job. And I don't know if the 105mm will have the reach I need. I'm thinkinkg in shooting raw to gat more control over exposure. But will I have sufficient shutter speed for it?
09/14/2005 05:14:42 AM · #2
If it's a night session forget the 70 - 300mm. If you have a media pass this should get you close enough to the action for the 105mm to suffice.
09/14/2005 07:01:06 AM · #3
Hi-ho,

Do you have the option of renting a 70-200/2.8? Not sure what the rental situation for rental gear would be like in Portugal... That'd probably be a good range/speed to have, and I understand the Nikon one (80-200?) is a great lens..

Outside that, I'd agree with keegbow. I'd say take the 50/1.8 as well for some shots of the riders on the ground in the 'pits' area, getting ready for their run etc. Depends on where you have access I suppose. Also the 18-70 for some wide shots of the bikes in the air, a few lights and the crowd.. Shot at ISO1600 it should be fine....

Good luck. If it is an outdoor night event they can be a real challenge for photography..
09/14/2005 08:34:45 AM · #4
Although it's not a payed job I've thought in renting one 70-200 or the 80-200 f2.8, because I'll be getting photos for my portfolio. But I couldn't find a place here to rental one.

Hope to get very good lightning. And I hope to get close enough to use the 105mm. To stop motion on the jumps do you think that 1/250sec is enough? AQnd if I can use the flash can't I use it woth the 70-300mm and a high iso in order to ctch some abient light also?

09/14/2005 01:09:24 PM · #5
Anyone else?
09/14/2005 01:22:24 PM · #6
Do you seriously have enough range on your flash unit to grab a guy 30 feet in the air who is also probably 30 to 50 feet away from you anyways in a meaningful way?

If you do, how will the rider react to it? Are you usually permitted to use flash for these sorts of things?

A few friends and I went shooting some snowboarding jumps a while back and found the autofocus on the d70 wasn't able to keep up. My friend was using the 80-400 VR. We were maybe 70 feet away. She got no shots that day of the aerobatics.

Be prepared to use a lot of Manual focus. Particularly if using the 70-300. You might want to go with a fixed aperture lens so you can set your zoom and framing and not worry about it as you adjust your focusing on the moving targets.

Remember to make sure you have the depth of field to get what you want. Shooting at f2.8 can make some really tricky focusing situations.

Shoot lots of test pics and lots of regular pics too.

Shoot as much as you can and have fun!
09/14/2005 08:05:18 PM · #7
well about the flash issue at full power it iluminates objects at 20 meters away, in my calculations that is more than 40 feet away. But I guess you're allright about it. The riders may feel unconfortable and it might be forbiten. I don't know yet.

About focus this is another thing that is giving me some trouble. I find very hard to manual focus on moving subjects, and a motorbike at 120 km per hour fits the description. But my main consern is about if I use sigle autofocus or continuous. I don't give along very well with the continuos mode. But any advice is more than wellcome.
09/14/2005 08:26:22 PM · #8
You will need to pan to keep them in focus. Single autofocus won't be very useful in that situation. Keep the bikes under a focus point and you shouldn't have a problem with continuous auto. And as long as it isn't Too dark, the telephoto lens you have now should work okay. I have the Canon equivalent and shot some Le Mans racing on a cloudy and very rainy day without a problem. Having a better lens would be good, but it might not be necessary. A lot of mine were shot at 1/250th as well. Oh, I also shot RAW.
09/14/2005 08:41:17 PM · #9
Not knowing the conditions you will be shooting under, can only offer this, after some trial and error this past weekend shooting skateboarders.
If you will be pretty much in one place, do some test shots and check histogram and preview. Figure out the exposure you want, and set the camera in manual control. Everything can be preset, so a flash or a reflection doesn't alter the exposure. Set the focus manually, and from then on, can be a matter of continuous shooting, worrying mostly about composition. Manual focus preset will only be decent if you are pretty much at right angles to the action. Autofocus may be best if you can set in spot metering or center-weighted mode if shooting at an angle, where the distance will be rapidly changing.
Just a couple of pennies worth...

09/14/2005 08:50:37 PM · #10
i dont know why, but people always always always forget that in these sports. point of reference is important! I dunno how many shots ive seen of the biker/skater/ whatever take up the whole frame! to me thats the worst way to shoot (occasionally, and i mean very occasionally) it's a nice shot. But what no one has said here that I think you should consider is to shoot wider. How close will you be to the jump. look in a snowboard magazine, youll see shots of a dude 20 ft high going over a 50 foot gap shot with a super wide or a fisheye. These are good because you can see just how huge the stunt is. if you can get close to the ramp, show it all!
Think about it, how many times can u just look at a dude in the air doing his stunt, he could be 2 feet or 20 feet, or just be laying on a blue background. Shoot wide and focus wont be as hard as well. Just shoot the absolute fastest shutter you can. the wider the shot the slower the speed you can get away with too, but I would try to stay at least about 1/250.

Also the d70 autofocus sucks for anything moving fast, do manual as much as you can here.
09/14/2005 10:10:59 PM · #11
//media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper736/stills/wh8uf06v.jpg

heres a shot i took the other day thats an example of what i mean by showing reference points. its not a motorcycle but same effect goes.
09/15/2005 08:04:03 AM · #12
Originally posted by petrakka:

But what no one has said here that I think you should consider is to shoot wider.


Yes I did in my first post to this thread. :-).

But I'd like to agree again.

Getting the context is quite important to make a shot work. For example, getting the bike dead center of the picture with no context around it is technically clever, but not great photography in my opinion..

(Your skateboard shot is cool, btw)
09/15/2005 02:29:56 PM · #13
Thanks Petrakka. I was hoping someone with some more experience than me would say something about the d70 autofocus.

I believe I read somewhere (and could be wrong) that single point autofocus is usually the fastest autofocus for most cameras.

I don't really know if the d70 can keep up with a 20D, but I have my personal doubts that even a 20d could keep focus on a motorbike moving 120kph relative to the camera.

Usually the best route is manual focus and take as much time as possible to time your shots for a certain spot. Fine tuning can be helpful. Air time is your friend, but don't be afraid to take some shots early and late. Crash or landing shots can be good to get as well.

Do a little experiment with burst rate if you like, but at 2.5fps, it is unlikely you will get enough to really be happy with what you get. I found I mostly got missed moments with burst rate in my little experience.

Having at least one of your bodies set up fairly wide with a prime is great advice too. It might be worthwhile to bring a 50. They are small and don't take much extra room in the bag. There was a really excellent article on here by someone who shot a big car race in america and he got some really cool shots using his 50mm. Forgot who.

Take a few choices because getting up close to the action isn't necessarily where ALL of your pictures are going to happen.

Again, hope I'm not speaking out of place here.
09/15/2005 03:52:04 PM · #14
Hi people. Thanks for all the help and feel free to continue.

I couldn't find a place to rentall a 70-200 f2.8. And I've just received the email confirming my press pass and the time I will be piking it up.

Hope it will work allright. This isn't a payed job but it's lot of fun and a great publicity. I've beeing shooting for the magazine for 4 months know and I can everen wright the article that goes with the photos.

But I like to do things right. So I'm lways a bit worried, and it's the first time I shoot this kind of event.

I have taken some gig photos with my 70-300mm, but in the concerts sometimes you can get the lights right in to the musicians and the smoke reflect a lot of light, so I can get 1/200 sec at f5.6 in some times, but in tomorow show I don't know what the light will be liked.

Any more comments? Any indoor sports shooters around?
09/16/2005 01:28:58 PM · #15
When you say that you were unable to find a place to rent the 70-200, does that mean you couldn't find a rental place or you couldn't get that lens at the rental place?

Something to consider would be looking for anything else in that range (there are also 80-200's and 70-200's by a number of brands) that has a constant aperture.

Then practice a lot to get a hang of manually focusing and predicting focus on certain points in manual focus mode.

I assume that you know that constant aperture zoom lenses do not require refocusing as you zoom in and out. This will either allow you to frame on the fly with much less test shooting. It will make things significantly less complicated when shooting difficult moving subjects, particularly that are airborne and not near anything of good reference. I assume you will be shooting a fairly wide aperture due to low light, so depth of field will make some very challenging conditions.

Let us know how it goes. If you keep your head on straight, the 70-300 will do just fine and is far from a bad lens.
09/16/2005 01:41:22 PM · #16
The 20D will hang and your D70 will too. Use AF, manual focus will only get you more discouraged, and waste your time and space. Have kids ride by you on bikes outside or track moving cars. This will help.
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