jeff gardner.

SupaFly DH 2008

Well, as usual, the weather cooperated and the best damn downhill race ever conceived went off without a hitch. You can check out the race results here and the full gallery of photos are here.

The basic idea of my system was to try and get sharp, more or less frozen, action shots of the riders as they blasted by me. Without the use of a flash this would be quite easy, crank the shutter speed as fast as you can and let the camera take care of the rest. But adding a flash into the mix spices things up significantly; my D200 can’t do any high-speed flash syncing so I was limited to 1/250th of a second.

Some pre-race day testing confirmed that 1/250th is just not fast enough for mountain biking photos. The work around? Use a longer lens (I jumped up from around 24mm to my 50mm f/1.8). This compresses the apparent distance and allows for just a fraction more leg room in keeping the motion blur in check (the riders take longer to cross my field of view so therefore they appear to be moving slower, at least from the CCD’s perspective). I ended up shooting everything on manual, 1/250th of a second, and adjusting the flash output and the aperture to compensate for the flash distance and ambient light, respectively. As you can see, the results worked out nicely for the most part. And you can actually see the riders faces!

Christine H.

The sun was coming from the right side of the photo and the flash was cross-lighting Christine from below and to the left. You can actually see the hot-spot from the flash just on the bottom left edge of the photo. Congrats to Christine, women’s champion of the day!

Stu can fly. Almost same idea as last time. Sun from high and left, flash from low and right. As you can see, a well lit face, that isn’t blurred (even though Stu went by me at Mach 6).

All in all the day was great and I had a blast sprinting down the trails between riders trying to get a few different angles of each trail (though my legs aren’t thanking me for any of that start and stop downhill running).

A few more photos.

Tagged: images, supafly dh, mt. biking, and photo technique
31 March 2008

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