Austin, Texas – Del Valle Motocross Park

Saturday night was the next race night at Austin’s Del Valle MX Park.  I had been traveling most of the summer and now was home for a bit and had a chance to attend Saturday’s race and photograph it.   I met up with my good friend…Evan Gearing (Evan’s Expo Blog) and we were up for a tough challenge!  The odds were stacked against us photographically – Practice at 6 PM Races start at 7 PM (night shooting?)  and overcast (low light conditions)…whew!   I took about 800 photos and about 200 were good.   I started out on Aperture mode & f/4.  As the light early was not bad, my settings were no problem.  Later on, as it became darker,  it became tougher!  I was trying Manual, different f/stops….but my original  settings seemed to be the best.  As the sun was fading…my shots were falling off like a bug on a zapper!   I took out my Nikon SB 600 flash and hoped I would blind the poor racers!

I played around with it for a while on different settings until finally I was getting the right amount of light.  Any racer that came close to me was a bit bright, but thats ok…it was a learning experience!!   As soon as I got it down….Evan had a great idea to move over to the corner bank that had the sunset in the background.  I had no idea how the shots would look.  After a few snaps…I was hooked!!   Super great call Evan!!  We stayed at this location until it became dark.   Our shots were losing out as darkness fell…the the backgrounds were non existent….a bit too black.  So we packed it up around 8:15 PM.

You can find my gallery of the session here….Talke Photography.  The shot is a bit noisy and a tad off, but still cool!   I’d like to try it again.  I think next time in such conditions…I’ll use the flash 100% of the time.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 VR f/2.8 + SB600 Flash
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 110 mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Exposure:   1/60
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • Gear:  Hand held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4

One more bonus shot….

Advertisements

Motocross – Ryan Dungey (Free IPad Screeensaver!)

This past weekend my favorite Motocross rider…Ryan Dungey clinched the AMA Motocross 2010 Championship!   Congrats Dungey!  He has become the first rookie ever to win the Supercross and Motocross Championship in the same year!!   Unreal!  This dude can ride a bike!  This past weekend in Southwick was Dungey’s 9th straight victory.  Talk about domination!   In honor of his amazing achievement I would like to offer this photo (IPad screensaver size) to anyone that wants it!!   In the comments below just type “MX” and I will email it to you!

I had a little photoshop fun with the shot above…it was a standard action photo…1/1000 exposure.  I brought the photo into Photoshop.  Used Silver Efex Pro and made it selective color via masking and the next step was “Motion Blur” in the Photoshop drop down menu…masking was needed here as well.  Simple and easy!   Motion via Post Process!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 80.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/1000
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4,  Silver Efex Pro

Austin, TX – Del Valle Motocross (HDR)

From a few weeks back at the great Austin Del Valle Motocross Park…here is the start from one of the races that day.  I was shooting for a while around the track and almost forgot to catch the starting lineup.  I ran up and caught this one just in time….right when the gate fell.  This was one of my favorite shots from the day.  Tough to beat the one dude popping a wheelie right out of the gates!  This shot is another reason why MX in HDR is a great match!  Cool indeed!

My MX fandom has been growing.  Hoping to get to another race this season.  My boy Dungey has won 5 races in a row…hoping to gain the AMA MX Championship.

I see Del Valle has a few races coming up soon….August 14th..and more!   I will miss the August 14th race.  I have received a few emails from riders recently…I will gladly shoot MX anytime (as long as I am not traveling)…so if you have a practice up at Del Valle, just shoot me an email.  If I can make it…I am there!  I need the practice as well!   Also, thanks to ADVMX for putting a link to my website on their front page!  Wonderful!    Check their website for an upcoming schedule!   If you attend…you will be super pumped!

Tale Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 70.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/806 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Wortham, Texas – Holeshot in HDR – Freestone Raceway

Here is a photo from the AMA National from Wortham, Texas – Freestone Raceway.  I went on Saturday.  My first ever MX (motocross) race.  I was pumped as it was going to be a nice hot sunny day!  Unfortunately, it was hot…about 97 degrees!  Whew!  Lots of liquids this day!  So I arrived at 9 AM.  (3 hour drive form Austin).  It is about 1 hour east of Waco…deep in the Texas country.  Beautiful though!  Many farms and small towns.   I parked (free parking!) and walked to the track.  What an awesome track!  Great jumps and trees scattered around…the dirt looked wonderful!

I had nio idea what to expect photographically…will it be tough to move around?  Will I get great shots?  Will the crowds be too deep to get in close?  As I arrived practice was going on.  A great time to start shooting.  I was excited as I studied hard beforehand to make sure I had the correct settings for action sports.  I re-read sections of my David Busch’s Nikon D300 guide.  My last excursion to Del Valle was just ok.  So this was the key… (I am a Nikon shooter…so if you have another camera…settings like this may be similar?).  The standard settings are below…but these are helpful in/on camera settings:

1. Continuous:  “C”  (Continuous mode) – located by the lens barrel .  That way moving subjects can be tracked

2. Autofocus: “Dynamic AF Area” – here you have a choice of 9, 21 or 51 points.  Set it on 21 points.  9 points is ok, but 21 points will take less time focusing than 51 points so your focus will be faster!

3. Autofocus: “Focus Tracking with lock on” – set to LONG.  When shooting sports the tracking stays on longer and when something gets in the way (person, etc..), it causes no interruptions.

Now every lens has its sweet spot f/stop.  The 70-200 VR is at f/8.  But I really didn’t want to shoot it at f/8…I wanted a semi-blurred background, so I went with f/5.6.   Somewhat in between f/2.8 and f/8.  F/4 was an option, but decided on f/5.6 for the day.  Another key was just shooting in Jpeg only for sports.    I did a few RAW shots in the beginning and they just are not as sharp as the Jpeg’s (as jpegs write faster).  So for any sports…I’d say Jpeg rules!  I decided that I could make an HDR out of a Jpeg if necessary.    I also shoot on Aperture Mode – this lets my camera decide on the shutter speed that is need for the shot.  Nice!  My shots were wonderful!  I’d say 85% were great…of course cropping was needed as the action was moving…but sharpness was sweet!   I put up a bunch here…Talke Photography Mototcross …just look for the Freestone shots.  I would surely use these setting for sports again!   Sports photography is tough, but I feel as though I am a step closer!

I had a great time!  Shooting was a piece of cake.  I would shoot a curve or straightaway and move onto the next area.  I basically took me 90 minutes to move all around the track.  I wanted shots from all over.  Of course available light and the sun’s directions affected my shots, but overall…sweet!   I have put up about 175 shots from Freestone.  I took 2000 on Saturday (14.5 GB)!!  Whew!  I will get more up later in the week.  I’ll cap it around 300 pics.

I sure was a tough day with the heat.  I only shot with the 70-200 around my neck all day with lugged my backpack along as well.  What a work out!  After the practice runs you can hit the pits and see the bikes getting worked on and cleaned.  You may also go grab a few autographs as well!  I saw a line for my favorite rider…Ryan Dungey.   This kid has skills!  He is a rookie and just won the Supercross Championship.   I got his autograph and then was off to buy a Dungey T-Shirt for my daughter.  Success.

The first 450 race was set to go at 1 PM.   I grabbed a spot near the start so I can get a holeshot photo barrage!   A “Holeshot”  for those that do not know…is the first turn of the race.  It is key…if you get it, your chances of winning are increased greatly.    Here #24 Metcaffe grabbed the holeshot on this race.   Now the one thing I did beforehand is place my settings to RAW as I knew that I wanted an HDR of the moment.  So this was one of my few RAW shots this day.  #5 (on the far left) is my boy Dungey.  He came out of the holeshot 5th and won this race…also the 2nd race this day…taking the title at Freestone!!!  Congrats Dungey!!!!

Just an awesome day…I will gladly photograph MX anyday!   Even in such conditions!   Shooting sports is tricky, but keep trying.  Read you manual and study your settings!    Great photographs await you!   I promise!!!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 200.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/806 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

Austin, TX – Del Valle Motocross Park (HDR)

As a photographer…it is tough not to take on the challenge of shooting sports.  Especially as I enjoy most all sports.   With the recent purchase of the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR lens….I shoot my daughter’s soccer games just about every weekend.  So skills have been growing.  I have shot high school football, high school baseball and a Supercross event.  I wanted to try outdoor motocross.  I just happened to google local MX (Motocross) parks in the area…maybe I could go shoot a practice?  I found the Del Valle MX Park.   It is only minutes from the Austin airport.

I checked and this Sunday (23rd) was a PONCA qualifier.  So race day at the track!   Practice started at 8 AM and racing was at 9 AM.  I arrived at 8:15ish and practice was underway.   What a great track!  The big bikes were out practicing and I started taking a bunch of pics.   I was shooting raw (most sports should be in Jpeg)..as I wanted to convert my shots into HDR.

Now as I mentioned before, HDR sports shots most of the time should be a single RAW image converted.   Any movement will create a blur.  MX would be a mess!  I stayed until 11:30 AM and grabbed about 700 photos.   I am in midst of processing my shots…I want most to be in HDR….you can see my gallery here…Talke Photography.  I have 20+ photos up now…by weeks end…hoping to have about 30+ MX HDR’s from Del Valle.    I will not come close to HDR’ing all shots, but if you were at the race and were a racer, Mom or Dad that talked to me during the race…email me and I can check if I have your son or daughter’s shot in my files.  I would be glad to make them into a MX HDR!!

I enjoy shooting Motocross!  I am becoming a big fan.  I will be at the Wortham, TX AMA MX race on June 5th.   Hope to grab some cool shots there as well!!   HDR & MX = sweet!!!!  Also, another race at Del Valle Motocross Park on June 12th!!  See you there!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 200.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/641 – Single RAW HDR  (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/4.0
  • Gear:  Hand Held
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza