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Jill Morgan

Hints for Taking Pics of Snowcross And BMX Bikers

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This weekend I am hoping to get to the snowcross events here in Lindsay. I will have a Canon EF 100-400 4.5 L IS USM lens along with a 2x extender. 

 

What is the best way to optimize my shots? I plan to take my tripod and remote switch for the shutter. Of course it is going to be snowing, so cloudy, no sun. I really don't want to push the ISO over 400 if I can avoid it.

 

Then a couple of weeks later I am going to the BMX freestyle championships in Toronto. This of course will be indoors.

 

Am I best to focus on the person or the machine while I follow the action?  This will be the first time I will be trying this type of photography.

 

Any hints gladly accepted.

 

Jill

 

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Eamonn McCabe won Sports Photographer of The Year a record four times, covering three Olympics.
He then became picture editor at The Guardian and won Picture Editor of the year a record six times

(http://www.eamonnmccabe.co.uk)

I remember his golden rule: Always focus on the eyes. You have to see the eyes and they have to be sharp.

(As a true master he would brake that rule when needed.)

 

Too late for this weekend's event:

Viewfinder Photographic Society is hosting an evening with award-winning photographer, Eamonn McCabe on Thursday 6 March @ 7:30 pm, Middleton Hall, University of Hull:

http://www.viewfinderphoto.org/news/236-eamonn-mccabe-a-life-in-pictures

A well spent £8.00.

 

wim

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I have found that AI servo mode is useful for moving subjects,  particularly those moving towards and away from the camera. A high frame rate (burst mode), is also useful!  Depth of  field can be a bit restricted in low light conditions, but I'm sure you would know this! With moving subjets you will probably  need to pan quite a lot too!

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I'd avoid using the 2X Converter and take a long reaching flash (if permitted!). I've always been dissapointed with results from converters, unless using them for manual focus video work.

They'll reduce light enough to confuse your AF system resulting in greater number of unsharp shots.

They'll reduce light enough to force slower than desirable shutter speeds resulting in greater number of unsharp shots.

They'll require stopping down as the optics aren't as good as your lens alone, so again slowing down your shutter speed.

 

If the event is that important to you and you can afford it, then perhaps hiring a longer focal length may be a good idea, here in the UK , you can rent a Canon EF 600mm F4 IS USM for 90pounds per day from Calumet.

 

Parm

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I'd avoid using the 2X Converter and take a long reaching flash (if permitted!). I've always been dissapointed with results from converters, unless using them for manual focus video work.

They'll reduce light enough to confuse your AF system resulting in greater number of unsharp shots.

They'll reduce light enough to force slower than desirable shutter speeds resulting in greater number of unsharp shots.

They'll require stopping down as the optics aren't as good as your lens alone, so again slowing down your shutter speed.

 

If the event is that important to you and you can afford it, then perhaps hiring a longer focal length may be a good idea, here in the UK , you can rent a Canon EF 600mm F4 IS USM for 90pounds per day from Calumet.

 

Parm

 

I also found that converters introduced some diffusion in the image. I'm talking about the high quality glass here too.

 

Allan

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Eamonn McCabe won Sports Photographer of The Year a record four times, covering three Olympics.

He then became picture editor at The Guardian and won Picture Editor of the year a record six times

(http://www.eamonnmccabe.co.uk)

I remember his golden rule: Always focus on the eyes. You have to see the eyes and they have to be sharp.

(As a true master he would brake that rule when needed.)

 

Too late for this weekend's event:

Viewfinder Photographic Society is hosting an evening with award-winning photographer, Eamonn McCabe on Thursday 6 March @ 7:30 pm, Middleton Hall, University of Hull:

http://www.viewfinderphoto.org/news/236-eamonn-mccabe-a-life-in-pictures

A well spent £8.00.

 

wim

 

For the bikers, I"ll remember the eyes, but of course the snowcross guys will have big helmets with face covers, so I won't be able to see their eyes.

 

I am getting the lens and extender on loan at no cost. I don't think the ROI on the pics would warrant paying a fee to rent equipment specifically for these events. But it certainly gives me a chance to play around with them and practice getting good shots of high speed action photography while I have the benefit of the equipment. 

 

Also going to spend another day at the zoo. I am addicted to the arctic wolves, such a fascinating study. With all the snow we have had this winter, going to focus on them, the polar bears and other arctic critters. 

 

Jill

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You need a fast shutter speed.  If this is a sports competition, then more than likely, you will not be allowed to use flash.  I really doubt you will be allowed to use a tripod as well (especially in an indoor arena).  Monopod is about the closest you might be able to get.  If you can get away with a tripod, then don't forget to turn off the IS on the lens....you still need IS with the monopod.

 

As someone that has a 100-400 and has used a 1.4x multiplier with it, I would skip the multiplier....I would also skip the 100-400 if you can - at 400mm and at f/5.6 you are going to need a high iso.

 

Get closer.  If you can use a 70-200 f/2.8 then all the better and leave the 100-400 at home.  You will need to push the iso because you will need a shutterspeed of 1/1000 to catch the action in focus.

 

Watch the hired photographers - they will more than likely be carrying a 24-70 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8.  If they use a 400mm it will be a 400 f/2.8....and they will be pushing iso with their faster glass.

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You need a fast shutter speed.  If this is a sports competition, then more than likely, you will not be allowed to use flash.  I really doubt you will be allowed to use a tripod as well (especially in an indoor arena).  Monopod is about the closest you might be able to get.  If you can get away with a tripod, then don't forget to turn off the IS on the lens....you still need IS with the monopod.

 

As someone that has a 100-400 and has used a 1.4x multiplier with it, I would skip the multiplier....I would also skip the 100-400 if you can - at 400mm and at f/5.6 you are going to need a high iso.

 

Get closer.  If you can use a 70-200 f/2.8 then all the better and leave the 100-400 at home.  You will need to push the iso because you will need a shutterspeed of 1/1000 to catch the action in focus.

 

Watch the hired photographers - they will more than likely be carrying a 24-70 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8.  If they use a 400mm it will be a 400 f/2.8....and they will be pushing iso with their faster glass.

 

I can get both lenses, so maybe I will take the 70-200 2.8 and the 100-400 5.6 as the snowcross is outdoors (although as I mentioned, it will be cloudy and snowing - so the forecast says). The bikers of course are indoors and I doubt they will let me use flash. I was thinking of the tripod for the snowmobiles. I will push the iso as far as I have to and will get as close as I can. I know one of the competitors for the bikers, so maybe he can slide me into a good slot somewhere.

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