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|Category:||Sports and Action|
Shoot motocross action - Motocross is an exciting, photogenic and accessible sport, so give it a go.
Because you can get quite close to the action it is worth saying that you should not go beyond any safety ropes so just take heed of any signs and the safety stewards.
With relatively easy access, you should be able to get frame-filling pictures with a typical telezoom, a 70-300mm is perfect. You will also find use for a wide-angle zoom too so take that along as well.
A tripod is not very practical but take along a monopod, available from brands such as Slik and Velbon.
You need to think camera protection. If it is wet, you may get mud flying around; if is dry, it will be dust in the air. Both can damage your camera and lenses. Protect lenses with skylight or ultra-violet filters, and either use a waterproof cover over the camera or just get a large shopping bag and cut a hole for the lens to poke through.
Techniques to try
Getting to a suitable spot is important. At big meetings it might be busy but at local events getting as good spot is easy enough. The outside of a bend is a great spot, but so too is the end of a straight, after a big jump and the start itself.
Motocross is a fast sport but continuous autofocusing should be able to cope in good lighting conditions. Try it if your DSLR can't keep up, try manually focusing on a point on the track and then start shooting just the instant before your subject reaches that point.
For exposure, you can use manual or any autoexposure mode. Set the camera to continuous shooting too so when you press the shutter speed you get a sequence of shots. However, it is worth saying that even continuous shooting at several shots per second is not guaranteed to get the peak of the action moment. You are often better off trying to time your shots rather than 'machine-gunning' the subject and hoping for the best.
Of course, use 1/1000sec or 1/2000sec even the fastest action will be recorded sharply. You will find that even the spokes of the wheels will be sharp at this shutter speed and it might look too static.
As well as racing action, there are plenty of candids of the crowd as well as the racer themselves, and still-lifes in the pits to be shot, and remember to try some creative techniques too: slow shutter technique, perhaps with a burst of fill-in flash, can give excellent results.
Take a look at Karl Taylor's motorcross photography video for more advice.