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Tips On Photographing Motorcross

Motorcross is fast paced, fun to watch and great for photography.

|  Sports and Action
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If you want to have a go at photographing a fast-paced sport, then motorcross is a great event to start with. It's quick, often full of action and as there's plenty of events that take place across the UK, you shouldn't have a problem finding a meet near you. Unlike some other sports you can get fairly close to the action too meaning you won't need expensive longer telephoto lenses in your kit bag. Instead, pack a shorter telezoom (Pete's image was taken with a 80-320mm lens). 

Photo by Peter Bargh

Don't bother with a tripod as it'll just get in the way and do take care of your equipment, wiping it down when home if it was dusty. 

Due to the speed the bikes travel at a camera which has a good continuous autofocusing system will be a big help. The Canon EOS 70D with its 19 cross-type point AF system and 7 fps continuous shooting at full resolution is one such camera perfect for this type of photography. You will still need to time your shots to ensure you capture your subject in the right place at the right time but continuous shooting will increase your chances of doing this. 

For shots where you're side-on to the action you'll need to perfect your panning skills, a topic we've covered in a previous article. If you'd prefer to leave panning to the professionals you can always focus on a point on the track then hit the shutter button just before a rider comes into frame. 

When it comes to shutter speeds, this will change depending on your position, how much blur you want to include in the shot and also on how fast your subject is moving through the frame. Go too fast and your rider can sometimes look as if they're frozen in frame. Pick a speed that's too slow and there will be too much blur in your shot. To make the task easier for yourself, set up on a bend where, as with most motorsport, riders tend to slow down before accelerating back out. 
It's also worth switching to Shutter Priority so you can be more precise with your shutter speeds. 

When you're looking for locations where you can capture the most action don't forget to look at what's going to be behind the riders as distracting backgrounds will pull attention away from the rider in your shot.

It's also important to listen to officials and don't go anywhere you're not meant to be. This will just annoy officials and you could be putting yourself in danger - ropes and barriers are there for a reason! 


Canon EOS 70D - Capture the moment at seven frames per second. Click here for more information on the high performance EOS 70D, featuring 7fps full resolution shooting, an advanced 19-point AF system and Canon’s unique Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology.

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digiman57 11 22 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2014 5:05PM
A couple of points for those wishing to start shooting motocross (particularly in the UK)

Firstly, many tracks have official photographers and the photographer will most likely have Public Liability Insurance, mine is for 5 million.

Secondly, unless you are photographing a friend who rides at the track, then you are unlikely to be allowed on the field. You will need to check on arrival and if allowed on to the track should sign in, all officials, especially the Marshalls have to sign in, purely for the tracks Insurance cover..

Finally, If the track has an official photographer, and even if he is not there at the time, please do not offer free copies or sell them to the other riders as it is disrespectful to those who earn a living..

At my track, I am always happy to allow amateurs to shoot either along side me or elsewhere but insist on the above will also need a hi-vis vest. So, find your nearest track, ask the right questions and enjoy your day Smile


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