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  1. #11
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    An important aspect of action photo you need to take into consideration is your ability to anticipate what will happen. There's no point in shotgunning like crazy if you don't have a sense of how the event unfolds. Football games photogs, for instance, know intimately the rules and the strategy of the game, so that they know in which direction to run.

    Make sure you scout the locations along the race to see where the most interesting shots can happen. A nice bend going around an interesting building could give you a more meaningful subject than a straight stretch. Think of where you will stand, and whether this would disrupt the personnel and/or the races. Think also the key moments in the race (start line, finish line, sprint).

    Think also about the relationship between the race and the crowd, and of the role of the organizers. In this year's Winter Olympics, a Canadian cross-country ski sprinter broke one of her stick, and a Norwegian coach serendipitously saved her day by giving her another stick. She won the silver. If somebody caught this moment, that must be a very happy photographer. Races depends on a huge organization, and those people are worth their weight in gold for making sure the athletes can perform. They deserve some exposure too.

    One way to approach your subject is to plan your shots so that your final result should allow you to reconstruct a narrative-like structure to show the event in a nutshell. If you look at standard sports/events reporting, the shots give a sense of a story. There are other ways to think about your final result, but the means to get there will be your ability to be at the right moment for what you want to do.

    If you can plan enough your shooting scenario, then the question of what equipment to choose will probably resolve itself. You can shoot a horse-jumping race with an 8x10 if you want, if what you care about is that half second when the horse is standing still at the top of its jumping curve!
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  2. #12
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    If the race is a criterium, basically a lap race on a closed course, a photographer can easily shoot great pictures with a 645 and 75 mm. A good place to be is on the inside of a turn whose apex draws the riders single file near the photographer. As a priveleged person ( the sponsor's photographer ) you can claim this place and let them come to you. You will need two friends, to keep people out of your way. A 4 foot ladder helps sometimes.

    A fast rider will be moving about 50 mm in 1/250 of a second, a slow rider half that. So, figure if the camera is standing still, you won't get anything in an 8x10 sharper than a 5mm blur. But panning, moving the camera with the riders as they sweep past, fixes that. If you are shooting with a leaf shutter or fast sync, a little flash can help, by letting the background go a little dark: just don't shoot a flash into their eyes.

    If you can get a meter or two from the cyclists, a wide angle lens is great.

    In any case, practice before the day. Cars going by, cyclists practising on the course... anything. If you're a rider, drag a couple friends out to let you get the hang of it.

    If you are shooting a road race, you will either be in an official car off the front, or on a motorcycle... on on the ground. Then, a longer lens is needed, but seldom longer than a 180 on a 35mm. Well, that depends on how fast the rider is, and how experienced the driver. If you are on the ground, find a big ladder, cherry picker, or SUV to shoot from.

    Have the club give you a written list of the shots; shoot negs and make incident readings on the generous side; have fun.

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  3. #13
    Digidurst's Avatar
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    Wow! Thank you everyone for all the great advice - it'll be helpful while I'm brushing up my action shooting skills in preperation for the event.

    By the way, Pinhoemaster, thanks for the link to Dave Burnett's work. Really amazing stuff there. I wonder which images were MF?

    Oh, and speaking of MF, I don't think I'm going to use it for the majority of my shooting but for some of the more artistic stuff, I think I'd like to have it along.

    Thanks again!

  4. #14
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    See if you can catch a ride on the back of a Ducati....
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  5. #15
    Digidurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    See if you can catch a ride on the back of a Ducati....
    Right! I'm sure there are LOTS of folks around here with those! LOL

  6. #16
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digidurst
    Right! I'm sure there are LOTS of folks around here with those! LOL
    Or a Beemer.

    Something than can turn and doesn't leak oil.



    Google "Graham Watson". Great race shooter.

    d
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  7. #17
    Digidurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    Google "Graham Watson". Great race shooter.

    d
    I already have - I loved looking at his work.

  8. #18
    Digidurst's Avatar
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    Well, it's almost time! Now before the big day, I have another question - this time about flash. DF, you mentioned this briefly... The one thing I am worried about it blinding a cyclist. But I know flash is used - I looked at Graham Watson's site and he apparently uses it all the time. So, any tips?

    p.s. Thanks again - having APUG as a resource makes me feel so much more confident about tackling a genre I am not used to.

  9. #19
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Beings it seems to be a daytime shoot, I doubt you will have any problems with flash blinding the riders, they normally are moving fast enough and focused on what they are doing that they rarely if ever notice the flash going off, you will be using as fill flash right? the duration of the flash is really quite short.. Should be no problems..

    Dave

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