Photographing extreme sports (like Mountain Biking!)
I had great time photographing this event (http://www.biking.ie/biking-blitz) so I thought I would share a few secrets for those of you who love to shoot adventure sports but are not sure how to make their images stand out and be not only technically correct but also interesting to public.
Generally there are two ways you can cover an event like that, you either choose to stay in one particular spot and focus on taking a photograph of each participant (and for example sell copies to them later) or you can choose to do it reportage style, move around and take snaps of different places and moments. Personally, I prefer the latter.
Everyone has a different agenda when photographing a sports event, some do it for money, others to take pictures of their friends and/or family, and some of us do it for themselves. I photograph mountain biking because I'm passionate about it and also because a lot of my club mates (from Epic MTB) take part in those events, so I know they would love to have some deadly photos of themselves to put up on facebook and other social media. Anyway, enough about myself, let's talk photography.
Max's rules for taking good photos:
1. Mixing light sources creatively
Normally people think shooting with the strong source of light in the background (like the sun) is a no-no, well it isn't.
Here I underexposed the background but 1 stop (I think) to preserve detail and keep the shadows of the bikes and used the flash (here on auto exposure) to illuminate the photographed subject(s).
2. Being in the right place
Sometimes the most obvious place to be isn't the most interesting.
I decided to walk about 10m further up the fireroad than everyone else and then photograph the leader
of the race, the chasing group and the spectators all together.
3. Point of view
Good photograph often requires commitment, event if it means having to lie on the ground in a puddle filled with mud!
Note how the use of a wide angle lens together with a low point of view adds interesting dynamic to the photograph,
in this case I also used a graduated natural density filter on the lens to darken the sky for more dramatic effect.
4. Never let the guard down (and do your homework!)
I was about to take a snap of the rider in black and yellow when I noticed that Greg Callaghan appeared from behind him.
Knowing that Greg would definitely not give up an opportunity to style it up a bit I re-focused quickly and got this cool photo instead.
Always be ready to pull the trigger!
5. Post-process for that extra punch!
I generally keep most of my photos neutral color-vise but there are occasions when a bit of tweaking is justified.
In here I decided to bring out the yellows in the highlights and blues and cyans in the shadows
to obtain that blockbuster-ish effect, simple things that can make your image have that extra kick!
That's it for today, I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to leave comments or ask questions!