Giromania reaches Amsterdam

in Shooting reports, Sport by on May 8th, 2010

Vasil Kiryienka

Today the first stage of the 2010 Giro d’Italia started in Amsterdam with an 8.4km time trial. With just under 200 starters, the cyclists kept the streets of Amsterdam busy for over 3 hours. I went out with the D3 and my 200mm f/2G VR lens and took some photos along the Ceintuurbaan in Amsterdam de Pijp.

Maciej Bodnar

It was the first time I had tried shooting a cycling race, and I learnt some valuable lessons:

- It’s better to shoot wider and crop later

- Shoot in full manual mode, and keep an eye on the light levels. Don’t rely on aperture or shutter priority modes, as this will mess you up

- On the D3, use AF-C, turn focus tracking off, and use the 9 AF area mode – 51 3D can confuse the camera too much

- Keep the ISOs up as the light drops – remember you need a shutter speed of at least 1/500s to freeze the action (unless of course you are planning on doing some panning with slow shutter speeds, but I wasn’t in the right location for that)

- Placing your self on a bend is a good place to get some shots as the cyclists slow down. However make sure you get there early to get a good spot (which I didn’t)

Here is a short slideshow of some of the images I took. More are online at http://bit.ly/8XuYJw

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Super Bikes Championship, Assen

in Shooting reports, Sport, Travel by on May 3rd, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I was given the opportunity to visit the Super Bikes Championship at the Assen TT Circuit in Holland, as part of a corporate sponsorship package we had purchased. Of course I was more than happy to go along, as long as I was able to take my gear with me :)

Although I pleaded with the organisers to get me a place in the press pit, it appears our Gold Club sponsorship didn’t quite give us that many privileges, so I ended up shooting from one of the tribunes. I was lucky to be able to get a seat on the second row just near the final bend, so, although I was a bit higher than I would have liked, I was able to capture the action as the riders were leaning over to take the bend.

I decided to travel to the venue fairly ‘lightly’ so ended up just taking my D3 along with 300mm f/2.8G VR, TC-14e, a 24-70mm f/2.8G for general shots, and my Gitzo monopod. As it turned out, I needed to use the teleconverter with the 300mm, but then it was just the right focal length to get frame filling bikes, after a slight crop in post processing. (I find with this sort of photography it is always best to be slightly wider, and crop later, rather than fill the frame in camera and risk chopping the nose or the tail of the bike).

The weather was great on the day of the race, but unfortunately this meant I was left shooting at relatively high shutter speeds, since I wanted to keep my aperture fairly wide. This meant that I wasn’t able to blur the movement of the wheels to introduce the sensation of speed, and I had to avoid taking too many shots where the bike just looked stationary on the track. Luckily from my vantage point I was able to get shots of the riders leaning into (and out of) the curve, so at least the spokes of the wheels weren’t visible.

Panning the action was not so easy from the height I was sitting in the stand, so I was glad I could use the monopod for some support, and I finished the day with a number of shots I was happy with. Getting press credentials for these sort of events is next to impossible unless you are representing a media publication, but at least I now have some images that I may be able to use to blag my way in next time….

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