Friday, July 11, 2008

W@W #3, 7/10/08

Wednesdays at Wakefield
Take 3
7/10/08

After missing the second W@W race last week due to a schedule conflict, I was able to make it out to the third this week. I'm still going through the photos (and boy, is my "delete" button tired!) and will have them posted this weekend. Until then, here are a few shots I quickly processed last night:

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Dharma.

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The choke.

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Feelink OK.

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Pete (I think).

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Wheelie droppin'

Every time I shoot, particularly bike races, I learn something new. This week, I learned that you should shoot from somewhere that the racers can see you. People tend to show off for the camera, which results in far more interesting photos than if they don't know you're there. I spent most of the first race sitting in a creek bed, shooting riders as they zoomed past. 99% of the racers had no idea I was there. As a result, there aren't too many shots like the wheelie-drop above. Most people just rode across the tiny creek. Had they known I was there, I bet there's have been some more interesting acrobatics.

The second thing I learned this week is that I need to spend more time considering depth of field when shooting. It's pretty easy to understand...at least in theory. But I still managed to completely fail in it's implementation. Even with my handy smartphone-based Java DOF calculator in-hand. My problem, I think, was that I was shooting at a spot ~15' away, and I was focusing *on* that spot. The DOF started at about 15' and went to infinity. Therefore, most of the riders that crossed at that spot were out of focus, while the trees and brush behind them were crystal clear. I suppose I should have focused on a spot maybe 10' away, which would have put the riders in that 15'-to-infinity zone, and therefore in focus. That would have lead to many more keeper shots, and a less traumatized delete-key finger. Something to keep in mind for next time, I guess.

Edit to add: One more thing I learned (or re-learned, or simply remember) after numerous failed shots last night...shooting with really slow shutter speeds (1/60s, 1/80s, 1/100s) and panning with your subjects is quite difficult. Yet another contributing factor to the pile of worthless photos in the recycle bin today.

5 comments:

gwadzilla said...

that shallow depth of field stuff is deep!

gwadzilla said...

showing off...
not going to happen
finishing without crashing is hard enough

great seeing you out there!

gmr2048 said...

Ha! Yeah, you may not be one of the showoff types, but they're out there. And lots of 'em are on singlespeeds. Not that that's a bad thing. They definitely lead to some fun shooting. I just need to learn to keep shooting when they hit the ground. I had a couple of guys go down next to me the other week, and I immediately dropped the camera to my side and asked if they were OK. I need to learn to snap off frames *while* I'm asking if they're OK.

I could see how after about your 9th lap of the night, you might be worried about crashing. You're pretty hard-core, man! Hope the race(s) went well for ya.

MB said...

Why I am I just now finding this blog? Good stuff. We should have a beer sometime, so we can discuss the ethics of shooting faceplants.

(You might enjoy this sequence)

gmr2048 said...

Thanks MB! I'm definitely up for beers and photography talk.

That's a *fantastic* sequence! *That's* what I need to learn how to do...shoot through whatever happens.