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Red Marley "Sporting Trials"

By philhomer  
Thought i would offer a break from Puffins etc today so here's a panned shot from last weekend's foray to local event at Red Marley, Worcestershire.

As the riders were moving relatively slowly between stages here, we found a range of shutter speeds of 1/6 to 1/20s worked best dependent upon whether they hit the throttle as they entered our 'area of interest'

Tags: Motorbike Motor sport Scrambling Sports and action Sporting trials



Coast 15 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2014 8:45AM
Hi Phil

I think this is a well executed and appealing image. Composition is good with the space in front of the rider, panning technique clearly on the money with the subject sharp and plenty of detail to take in. I particularly like the Riders focus on what's ahead that you have captured here.

It just needs a little more va va voom in the processing as it is a little flat. I've uploaded a mod to demonstrate what I mean and love to hear what you think.

I used a levels adjustment and brought both the shadow and highlight sliders in to meet the edges of the histogram. This has lifted the brightness and contrast. I tweaked the saturation with a hue/saturation layer on the green and red colour channels only - just a tad but to give more depth to the two main colours in the scene. Finally you have a few dust bunnies on the sensor which are visible on the photo. I simply used the spot healing brush to take these out.

Overall a great shot and a little boost on the processing to add more oomph and finishing.

I hope that helps.

philhomer 12 88 32 England
26 Apr 2014 8:54AM
Many thanks Paul, you will see from my pf that i do prefer to err toward the darker side but can appreciate that your mod is indeed more punchy, i also hate 'digital green' so had toned that down somewhat.

Spots i think are fairly inevitable in those conditions but also some of the 'mess' is mud coming off the bike, blurred by the slow shutter - i should spend more than my customary 7 seconds in processing on occasion Smile
paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2014 8:56AM
Very well done and fine technique. Quite sharp enough for purpose and depicting movement well. Is it still OK at large sizes? The only thing I would do is brighten the whole thing up just a touch.

mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2596 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2014 9:13AM
It's terrific fun to do, and very satisfying when it works - this, probably more than any other area of photographer, is really for the benefit of the photographer and the subject, I bet the subject loves it! As you say it's harder with relatively slower movement, this is technically impressive and I wish my action was as smooth!

Aesthetically, and aesthetics do come into sports, Paul's comment about va va voom is relevant. You have a great advantage in the upward movement, that gives a dynamic feel. It's about selection the 'area of interest', as you say, and predicting the way competitors will move there. So as some planning is involved, I do wish that you had stood on the other side of the track, the light and the lie of the land might not have been so favourable but it would have given movement from left to right.

This is a massive cliché - that we read from left to right so we expect to follow a visual narrative in the same way, we view left to right movement as progressive, positive; right to left as down-beat, depressive. It does actually work. I'll try a Mod flipped horizontally to demonstrate.

The other aspect that lacks va va voom I guess is the background - there's a good sense of linear movement in the grass, but it's long shapes and coloured detail in a background that give panned shots a sense of speed. Think of the barriers and advertising hoardings in motor sports... I'm not sure what you could have found in a location like this though!

Full marks for toning down the greens, I'd like to see a bit more punch in them, but I always partially desaturate yellows for grass. It's weird, what comes over in real life as fresh and vibrant, on a screen just looks brash and gaudy. That's almost always down to the yellow content.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2596 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2014 9:28AM
I've uploaded a very quick Mod. The histogram for this shows what I expected, the graph curve very much concentrated on a relatively small area of the baseline, so very little dynamic range. I like 'dark' too, but most images, and certainly most 'real life' images need the inclusion of lighter tones to add a sense of depth, distance, a 3-D quality, and to add life. It's the reason why Old Masters used seemingly random flicks of white paint. Without that the view looks a bit flat, two-dimensional.
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4348 Canada
26 Apr 2014 3:21PM
You know what youre doing here Phil, its a good panning shot at a really slow shutter speed.

Its works well. I would be inclined to slighty sharpen the rider/bike. The flipped mod looks good too.

I can see why brighter would be indicated with the histogram, but I also see that darker, but with higher contrast can also work, while further reducing the green saturation, and Ive uploaded a mod with this done.

All a matter of taste, - technically its well done.


colin beeley Plus
20 1.2k 10 England
26 Apr 2014 7:18PM
sharp where it should be Wink
philhomer 12 88 32 England
27 Apr 2014 9:16AM
Many thanks to all for commenting, i had flipped a few images for the left to right approach but don't do that with many as personally i am only semi-convinced that it matters, and also think that occasionally "breaking the rules" makes for an image that is not the same as everyone else's. I had never heard of the idea that right to left is depressive - thanks for the education.

Above all i wish i had noted the 'critique' option previously, the standard comments such as "ooh, i love kittens" has been driving me up the wall Wink

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