Damon Williams  

Moto by Damon Williams

September 2021 - Moto

About the Image(s)

Moto: 1/2000, ISO 400, f/4, 58mm on a 50-140 zoom and crop sensor camera. Shot in jpg (F + RAW), Dynamic range priority auto, Fuji Astia film simulation, Post=highlights down and exposure down.

There's a local motocross track near my place, that I'd heard about but just recently located. I scored about 220 frames over the course of 40 minutes. Settings were very similar to what I'd shot drag racing at, and what I'd shoot sports at (F2.8 for a single subject, F5.6 for a pair, ISO Auto up to 800). At 1/1000 motion blur really isn't an issue but at 1/2000, things are really crisp, even spokes.

Things you have to think about here are a) positioning yourself for safety, b) getting frontal shots, c) getting the light behind you, d) getting upwind so you don't get dusted, e) getting aerial shots. In editing, I wanted to get nice and tight, but found that getting too tight (without the ground for reference) made the real height of the subject lose context, missed the action of other racers in pursuit, and didn't include billowing dust and spraying dirt. Having said that, some folks want it super tight.

Oh, and you see that I shot it in jpg. I understand the value of shooting in RAW, but I've been experimenting with Fuji jpgs, and lemme tell you, there's some value there too. Shooting both gives you insurance: if it comes out right in-camera, then far out. But, if it's a great composition but the settings were off, then a RAW gives you more power to save the image.

2 comments posted

Jane Pittenger   Jane Pittenger
I think you got the exposure and sharpness perfect. I understand why you chose to fill the frame but I would have loved to have more of a sense of the context and also to see the dust. To me it is a bit flat especially the subject…maybe increase the contrast a bit. If you are using PS these days you could mask out the background and just bring the motorcycle and rider forward more   Posted: 09/06/2021 13:37:00

Damon Williams   Damon Williams
Good comments Jane.
Re: composition, you are all over one of my central dilemmas, especially re: sports photography: subject-centric or documentary (implying context). When I showed these images to an acquaintance (who IS a pro sports photographer) his advice was to crop tighter. My instinct is to crop looser, so as to show the environment, other riders, the ground (which shows a sense of height), and...whatever.
As for exposure, you're right. It is a bit flat. I had the same feeling and did bring contrast in (maybe not enough). I think that's kind of due to the fact that the 80% of the subject is actually shadowed, and I used DR-P Auto (dynamic range priority auto) in camera. Fuji jpgs are pretty powerful, but just like Uncle Ben said; "with great power comes great responsibility." And you know what, looking at this on the screen, it IS pretty flat. Point taken. Thanks.   Posted: 09/06/2021 16:36:17


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