Dirt bike Picture Advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ja Di ksw, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Ja Di ksw macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Apr 9, 2003
    Hi all, there's a dirt bike event tomorrow I was going to go to and try to get some pictures, I was wondering if anyone had advice for taking pictures at something like this? I've never tried at a sporting event before, and don't know much (well, anything), about dirt bikes :).

    Here's some helpful info:

    It's going to be in front of the Rathaus in Vienna: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...65.jpg/746px-Rathaus_Vienna_June_2006_165.jpg

    I have a Canon 40D with the following lenses (all Canon):
    24mm f/1.4L
    50mm f/1.8
    180mm Macro f/3.5L (yes, I know that's a big jump :()
    300mm f/4L

    And then my kit lens, 28mm-135mm f/3.5-5.6

    I'm not a huge fan of the kit lens, but with all the movement going around and me not knowing much about dirt bikes I'm afraid I'll have to use it a lot :(, any advice on staying more with the primes, or even on using the kit lens?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    Just take the 24mm L and get as close as you can, its dust proof so don't worry about spillage. I want mud on the lens so that you've taken me there almost. Don't come back with long distance telephoto shots, I can view them anytime of the day.
  3. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2003
    I jumped at the 24mm too, however that's about 35mm on the 40D.

    It's fast... but... remember you will lose depth of field.

    Also, 35mm from say 50 feet or even 25 feet is still not the same as 125mm to 200mm from 50 feet. Primes aren't "exactly" zoomed, they just cover a particular field of view.

    If I sat 50 feet from a subject, and shot a subject at 100mm with a 300mm @ f/8 (the approximate sharpest aperture for most lens') telephoto lens my depth of field is 24.3 ft

    At 35mm @f/1.4 less than 2 feet. @ f/8 it just 11.5 feet.

    Bring the kit lens, shoot at f/8. As long as you can get a shutter speed of 1/250 of second you'll get the shot. if is not bright enough, don't be afraid to up the ISO. Canon's ISO performance is pretty much the standard, and I shoot Nikon!!!
  4. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing

    Better learn as much as you can about dirt bike racing then. You'll get better pictures if you know what to look for. I don't know much about dirt bike racing either:(, but I vaguely recall that there are jumps in the course (great for "peak of action" shots) and it's racing :p (so try for a few panning shots). Unless you learn a bit about the even, your shots will be pretty much spectator shots (ie boring).
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you can get close to people and their bikes, maye before/after the race use the wide lens and get so ultra close. Bring crds with your e-mail addr. and promise to e-mail photos. It will help you with not seeming so rude. Beginners tend to stend back with a longer lens but it makes for boring photos. Bikes like this demand an "in your face" perspective. Use fill flash if it is bright an sunny. Fill flash adds "snap" and lower the contrast to what your sensor can record

    Durring a race you will have to keep in back of some ropes or fence. Use the longer lens and tripod. Races are very predictable and repetive. Set up on a turn where to have the angle you like (3/4 view with bikes comming at you just after a jump with wheel airborn.) and take as many of the same shoot as you can. Each bike predicably will follow the same line.
  6. Ja Di ksw thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Apr 9, 2003
    Thanks for the great advice everyone!

    CrackedButter - umm, getting close (if I can) is good, but you weren't being literal about the mud, were you? I don't like it when I have to even use a microfiber cloth on my lenses, prefer nothing touches them but air!

    leandroc76 - Thanks for some depth of field calculations. I knew about the increasing/decreasing dof, but it's nice to actually have a general idea than simply "more or less."

    Mousse - Good point. Time to crawl through the intertubes :).

    ChrisA - I really like some of this stuff, thank you! I unfortunately don't have any cards to hand out :(, but getting close and promising to send pictures will be good. I like the fill flash idea as well. I have the Canon's 580EX II so that'll work well with this. What exactly do you mean by 3/4 view, though? As in, the bike is filling up 3/4 of the frame? Now is about the time I wish I had been faster in getting a better tripod, I'm not that happy with mine, definitely the weak point in my gear :(. Great advice, though!
  7. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ

    not trying to be a jerk, so please dont take as such....

    while I understand wanting to take as good of care of your glass as possible, if you are afraid to get into the action, your pictures will show it.

    Having been in news photojournalism for many years, one thing I have learned is the best images come from being in the action. I have shot in every kind of condition imaginable, and have never lost a lens to the elements. You can wrap some bags around it to protect it a bit more. But when you stay back to keep your lens safe, you will not get those dramatic pics.

    there are photographers (who will often do whatever it takes to get the perfect shot), and there are equipment collectors (who are more concerned with keeping all their high end gear in mint condition than actually using it).
  8. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    And unless you're accredited media, the race organizers won't let you get too close to the the action because their insurance company won't tolerate the risk of a spectator getting injured. From reading your original post, it looks like you're just going to watch.

    FWIW, I wouldn't bother with the tripod. You should be able to handhold that 300 f4, at least I do mine and mine (Nikkor) doesn't have image stabilization. You might want to consider buying a monopod for it at some point though.
  9. Ja Di ksw thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Apr 9, 2003
    Don't worry about if you sound like a jerk or not, I prefer people to be really critical :). Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to get too close since I'm not with the media :(. In fact, the whole thing went really poorly. I was expecting motorcycles, but it was all in German and it was just bikes doing small jumps on a straightaway. On top of that, I had to arrive late on Saturday and found out that Sat was just for qualifying, and Sunday was the finals. I couldn't make most of Sunday, and by the time I got there they were handing out the prizes. On Saturday the crowds were too big to be able to do much.

    Here are some of the pics that I got. None have been photoshopped in any way. Comments and critiques are more than welcome. Be harsh, it's how I'll learn! :)

    I'm just posting a link to the photobucket account here so there's not a ton of big pictures.


    Thanks all!

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