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Posts from the ‘Cycling’ Category

Cornering Can Be Dangerous

Last week when I was showing you some of the photos that I took at the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic and I said that I had more.  I realised that the photos that many of you seemed to enjoy the most were the ones of them cornering.  They are probably amongst the hardest to get, and require good panning and a lot of nerve, especially to get really close ones.  Guess what I have for you today?

Coming into the CornerWith this image I was behind a barrier.  It is still scary.  I had the camera almost on the ground through the barrier, and was moving it with the riders.  So I wasn’t looking though the viewfinder.  Ones like these are nearly always done blind, so to speak.  I have been doing them for some time, so I am getting a lot better at getting them in focus.

Another One Coming Into the CornerThis image was done in the same place using the same technique.  I had to use my 18-105mm lens for this, as wide as I could get.

Over the Top

This one was taken from the same corner but this time I was using the 24-70mm lens and I was standing up behind the barrier.  I pan with them until they are in front and then click.

Over the Top AgainSame place and same technique as the previous one.  I love the way they look like they are coming straight at me.  They weren’t of course.  But they are cutting the very sharp corner.  I am very close, so close that I could put my hand out and touch her, not that you should ever, ever do that.  That would be very dangerous.

Up the Other EndAt the end of the course was a corner that did have barriers, but the barriers were back a bit so those with the accreditation vests could get on the corner and take photos without the barriers.  This is one, though it was taken low to the ground, blind, and me panning the camera with the rider.

This is where you really need some nerve.  It would be easy for them to come down.  The biggest problem is that they end up looking a lot closer to you that they actually are, especially if you are using a telephotos lens, or it is deceptive because you don’t realise how close they really are because you are using a wide angle.  You have to stay alert and you have to be ready to run if they come down.

From the Other End AgainHere is another lot going around that same corner.  I was looking though the viewfinder with this one and panning with them.  They go so fast, and you pan, click, go further back, pan, click, you get the idea, well it can make you pretty dizzy turning your head that much.

Coming Our of the CornerThis is one that was taken after they came around the corner and were putting the speed on.  They are also getting ready for the corner that was featured in the first few photos.

I hope you haven’t minded me showing you more of the crit photos.  I have been quite proud of some of them.  I just had to show off some more.

Announcements

I need to let you know some stuff.

Buy Now

I have included some “buy now” buttons on the page for the Notes I have written for people who want to learn how to use their DSLR, In the Beginning.  I thought it would be easier to purchase them that way rather than having to go to my website.

I have heard back from someone who has read them and she said they were great and helped her to remember a lot about her camera.  That was great to hear.

Classes

My copy of Photoshop Elements 11 has finally arrived so I am now ready to start teaching people how to do their editing with it. I am thinking of starting the first class next week on Tuesday at 10am my time, you can use the World Clock Time Zone Converter to help you work out what time that will be in your time zone.  Remember Australia is ahead in time to most other countries, besides New Zealand and a few other places.

There will be more classes announced on the following page.

ColorHug

Part of my Christmas present this year, along with the new monitor was the ColorHug.

The ColorHug is an open source display colorimeter. It allows you to calibrate your screen for accurate color matching.

It arrived not long after Christmas and last weekend I finally got around to playing with it.  It is really easy to use, but I think you need to be using Linux for it to work.  I am just confirming with my husband that that is the case.  Yes you do.  Apparently you can use the live CD and then save your colour profile and use that if you don’t have Linux.

To use it was easy, and it did take some interesting improvisation to hold it against the screen for so long.  You get a little square thing that you have to hold against the screen that creates a colour profile.  You have to hold it there for about 10 minutes.  You also have to hold it still.  We were going to lie the monitor down, but in the end we used tape, a long piece that went from the top of the monitor to the colorhug and then to the bottom.  The tape could not touch the screen.

It is a great little device and not that expensive.  The only problem I had with it, is that the instructions weren’t great for using it to start with.  I don’t know Linux and I didn’t understand a lot of the steps.  It was really confusing.  I am thankful my husband was here and did understand.  He is a programmer and he is the reason I have Linux on my computer.  Perhaps I could make a recommendation to the owners of this great product that I could help them write the how to use it for dummies version.

The end result was good, and I didn’t realise how off the colours were on my monitor.  The screen is quite different.  Though the photos have been turning out really nicely.  My next step is to get some images printed and then compare them with what is on the screen.

It is reasonably priced, which is always a bonus.  The company that produce is fairly small so I wish them all the best for their product.

If you would like to check out the product here is the link, ColorHug.

Nikon Releases

I have received a few press releases from Nikon, it seems that the Nikon 1 J3 and S1 series camera has been refined for high-speed performance.  I didn’t realise that you could get interchangeable lenses for it, and two new ones have been released for it as well.  I might have to check it out for fun.  Apparently there is a new waterproof case for it as well.

Nikon is also launching two new Coolpix S series cameras, the S6500 and the S2700.  If you would like to check them out and see the press releases then please go to your Nikon site.

As An Aside

I don’t know how many of you have seen the news for Australia and the heat wave we have been having, but apparently the bureau has had to come up with some new colours as some parts of the country have hit record temperatures, thankfully not where I live.  In Birdsville, in the outback, they have had temperatures of 50 to 52C, that is 122 to 125.6F.  I couldn’t imagine being in heat like that, you would just melt.  I am so glad I live south.

Photographing a Cycling Event – My Way

Most of you know that for the last three days I have been photographing the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic.  It has been fun, but also very tiring, especially yesterday when it was so hot.  Thankfully it wasn’t today, with the temperature expected to reach 41C (105.8F).  The photos I am going to use were mostly taken yesterday at Williamstown.

Straight from the CornerOne of the type of shots that you want to get is the cyclists coming or going around corners.  I have shown you lots of them over the past few days.  They can be hard to get and you have to have nerve to get them.  Sitting on a corner while cyclists go past can be scary.  They get close.  Most accidents happen on corners, so you may be putting your life in danger as well, so you need to be very careful.  You also need to be careful that you don’t go out too far and cause an accident, it could be an expense experience for you.  I have public liability insurance in case something like that happens.

At an event like this,unless you have accreditation getting on the corners can be almost impossible.

Accredited MediaYou can see the photographers here, they are wearing navy blue media bibs.  I had one of these as well.  To get accreditation you need to apply, and you usually need to be someone who has experience at photographing events like this.  I know that when the event is on next year that there is a good chance that I will get accreditation again because I have done it for the last few years and there hasn’t been a problem.  To get accreditation you need to start with club racing and work your way up.  The more experience you get the more likely it is that you may get accreditation.   There will always be events that you can’t get accreditation for unless you work for a paper or some other media organisation.

In the image above they were getting ready for the finish.  When that happens they all huddle in a group inside those barriers and photograph them as they finish. Only those with bibs are allowed to do that.

Off the GroundTaking photos of cycling from as close to the ground as possible is also one thing that many do.  There is something about an image of a cyclists going past and you are looking up at them.

The Front Straight

To get an image of people going past like this you have to move the camera with them.  They are moving so fast, around 40 to 50 kph, so if you don’t pan, then you will just get blur.  I have plenty of those.

It would be easy to put it on a fast shutter speed, but I use a flash to take these photos.  It isn’t as silly as it sounds, the flash helps to cut through the shadows.   I have the flash set on the strongest setting.   Unlike most sports flash is perfectly fine for cycling.  Apparently the cyclists don’t even notice it.  You can see how much the flash has helped in stopping the shadows from being so harsh.

Cornering with the Sun BehindThe flash has helped a lot here.  The sun was so bright yesterday, and shadows were always going to be a problem. I have found that you have to change the metering on your camera.  You can’t take matrix metering images, it just doesn’t work.  You will often find that the cyclist will become a silhouette with too much light behind.  I use spot metering and spot focusing.  I decide where I want to focus and what I want metered.  That way you can get a well exposed cyclist and the background doesn’t matter so much.  

Entering the First CornerThis group have gone over the start/finish line and are about to enter the corner as they head around for another lap.

When photographing cycling I always use shutter priority.  I set what shutter speed I want and then  let the camera work out aperture.  It isn’t usually a problem.  There are things I have found, you can slow the shutter speed down to 1/60 or 1/100 of a second and you will get that blurred background, but you have to be able to pan with the cyclists.  I don’t know about other photographers, but I like to be able to see a clear face.  I want the face to be in focus. I don’t mind if nothing else is, but I like to see the face.

When they are coming towards you, you need a faster shutter speed.  Because I always have the flash on my camera it means that I can’t get a faster shutter speed than 1/250 of a second.  So the above image would have been shot using that shutter speed.

I want to give Mitchelton Wines a plug here.  They were the main sponsors for the Bay Cycling Classic, and you can see their name everywhere in the above image.  They also do a VIP area, where the VIP’s and the media are allowed.  I got to sample their wines and they were very nice.  It was also good because there was food there as well and much needed water.  I drank so much water over the days when I was photographing this event. So I would like to thank Mitchelton Wines for their support.

More CorneringThis is the women who have just come around another corner into the front straight.  I just put this in because I get the impression you like the images of the cyclists going around corners.  I have so other great ones and if you want to see them I might do another post with them in a week or so, but you have to tell me if you want to see them.

PresentationsAt the end of the day there are presentations.  As this was the last day it was presenting the winners with their prizes and trophies.  They all get champagne, or sparkling white wine, which is what we are supposed to call it.  They open it up and spray it everywhere.  The winner of the Elite Women’s, Melissa Hoskins, decided to spray her podium pals instead of the crowd.

Many will tell you that you need a fast camera to shoot sports, and for most sports that is true.  I purchased the D300s because it took 7 frames a second.  I don’t use that many frames a second for cycling.  I do if I am shooting other sports, like netball, but not for cycling.  They move out of the frame too quickly and you get too many blurred images.  I pan and take one, then get ready for the next the one, picking my next target.  I find I get a much higher success rate that way.

Someone came up to me at an event recently and asked what camera I had and did I have a problem with shutter lag.  That is the time it takes for the camera to actually take the image once you have pressed the shutter-release button.  This person did cycling photography with a film camera many years ago and wanted to get back into it.  He had a camera that was a few models down from mine.  That is something you need to consider if you are going to photograph sports.

I think that is enough.  It isn’t everything, but gives you a look at how I photograph races like criteriums.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing the criterium racing here in Victoria.  It is becoming a bit of a tradition.

Criterium Continues in Portarlington

Coming into the CornerThe Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic continued on to Portarlington yesterday.  Another wonderful day as far as the weather went.  Blue skies with lots of fluffy clouds.  Perfect for taking photos.  I have some more for you today, I hope you aren’t getting too bored with them.

I look at the images and think I could do this or that to them, but right now there is no time, I am having a hard time just getting the posts done each day, no time for fancy editing.

The image above was taken from ground level, well almost, and she was coming into the corner.  I love shots like these, and I am getting the impression you do as well.

Coming out of the CornerFor me, this is a fantastic shot, there are lots of cyclists around, but you really only see one.  It is also a very hard shot to get.  You have to be good at panning, but more on that tomorrow.

While there yesterday, I decided to play with my Holga lens and the fish-eye attachment that I got with it.  I really haven’t done that enough, so I wanted to see if it was possible with cycling.

Through the HolgaThis is probably the best shot I got.  It doesn’t do very well with speed.  It was so hard to get shots that were in focus.  Perhaps it is more of a still life sort of camera, good for things that aren’t moving.

Holga Fish-EyeThis was with the fish-eye attachment, which worked better.  Though it was better conditions as well.  Great effect and I might have to try it more, but not today.

I just want to show you two images that I have did some editing to, but not a lot.  The next two images were taken on the first day in Geelong.

EmmaThis is Emma, she is only 15 and racing with the Elite women, pretty amazing for a girl so young.  I don’t know if many of you are aware of this, but juniors have to race on restricted gearing, I think it is to protect them, so they don’t get injured from pushing really big gears before their bodies are ready.  It also puts them on a fairly fair playing ground with their peers.  Emma is Under 17, so she rides with restricted gearing, even when she is the only one, her gears are still restricted. A tough ask, but it was great to see her out there doing what she could.

LaraThis is Lara and she is from NSW.  She has recently gone up to U19, so gears still restricted, though not much.

With these last two images I have just blurred the back grounds, more to make them stand out.  I wanted to make them the focus of the images.   These are more individual portrait shots, I would call them, rather than shots of the racing.

Today is the last day.  We are off to Williamstown today.  It is going to be hot, 36C or 97F, so not great, but we are expecting southerly sea breezes, so that should make it bearable.  Williamstown always has massive crowds, so it should make for an interesting day.  Am I looking forward to it, I don’t know.

Bay Crits in Geelong

Most years when I go to this event, this is my fourth time, I try and photograph the racing.  You have to do that, it is a race, but that is all I do.  I just walk around and around the circuit taking photos of people racing their bikes.  I suspect this year won’t be any different, except my audience of who is looking at them.  I am taking photos of it this year for you and this blog.  Normally, I am taking photos for the riders.

The Start and the FinishAfter yesterdays post I had a few asking me what a crit was?  A crit is short for criterium and is a race that is done on a short circuit, where the riders do laps.  Usually on streets.  They can range in distance from one to around three kilometres.  I have seen some that are five kilometres or longer, but they are usually considered something else.  A crit will start and finish in the same place.  In the above image, the women are preparing to start and are lined up at the line.  This is also where they finish.

Down the Back StragihtSometimes crits can be done in really nice spots and you can get some nice shots.  Though, I find that the organisers never think what will make great publicity shots and what would be a great for photographs.  The often have the finish with the sun behind them, so crap shots there.  Take the image above, how good would it be to get the Ferris wheel with the riders coming towards me?

Commentating the EventThis crit is a big deal in Australian racing and happens every year.  Crits are only done in summer, the weather is too unpredictable in winter, and can make racing them dangerous.  A lot of clubs will cancel crit racing if it is raining, wet roads just means too many crashes.  I have heard it said that crits are the most dangerous type of racing in cycling, more people come off.  As they are racing on roads, that means lots of skin being removed and it wrecks their kits (what they race in).  Crits are also very fast.  A lot of riders get spat out the back when the speed picks up.  So crashes and speed, that makes it a great spectator sport.

Behind the riders you can see some guys sitting with almost white shirts.  They are, from the right, Matt Keenan, Scott McGrory and Phil Liggett.  If you ever follow cycling on television then you will know the British voice of Phil Liggett.  He is known internationally as the voice of cycling.  We know his voice when we hear it.  He comes here every year to commentate the bay crits and is also a very nice person.

Taking the CornersThe one thing that most crits have is dangerous corners.  This circuit at Geelong is called a hotdog circuit.  Named because it looks like one.  There are two straights, and either end are some very tight corners.  People gather on the corners because that is where most crashes happen.  It is where all the photographers go, me included, but it is also where you get some of the best photos.

They race for around 45 minutes, or one hour, then they get so many laps after that.  Usually 45 minutes then 3 laps.  It is unusual in that respect, most racing, you have no idea how long it will take, but that isn’t so with this.  So the riders know how long they have and work out what they have to do in that time.

I love photographing criterium racing and is by far my favourite type of racing to take photos of.  It is exciting and so fast.  I am going to do a post on how to photograph a crit, or how I do it, but I need more time than is available right now.  I am thinking I might do that on Friday when it is all over.  That is if you would like me to.  I can also take about accreditation and stuff as well.  Let me now.

The Bay Crits on New Years Day

It has been a long day, I am hurting all over.  It has been a while since I lugged two cameras around with big lenses and flash units attached.  I have to say, though, I had a lot of fun.  I am quite surprised really.  I went there thinking that no one would remember me and it would be boring.  It was anything but.  It turned out to be so lovely to catch up with people.  It is late, or getting late, and I have quickly edited some images for you.

Taking the CornerHere are two of the Elite Women going around a bend.  The Geelong course is tricky and there are quite a few tight bends, actually all the bends are tight.  There were plenty of crashes on one corner.

The Other CornerThis was done at the other end.  The two women in front are part of the new Australian pro team, Green Edge.  It is nice to see them out racing.

Up the Back StraightThis is them coming out of the worst corner and heading up the Back Straight.  This group is the Elite Mens.

Front StraightYou can see the finish line there, though, this isn’t the finish.  I just wanted to be able to show you the crowds.  They weren’t huge, but for Australia, this is a good turnout.  It is always good to see lots come out to watch the racing.

Tomorrow we are off to Portarlington.  I don’t know what to expect from there.  I think I will get my post ready before I go, if you don’t mind. I will put up some photos from today, ones that need more editing.

Nice way to start the new year.  I am very behind with everything, so please forgive me if I haven’t replied to your comment/s yet, I will, but it may not happen until next week.

Track Worlds – ReWorked

It is Friday again, do I start every Friday post with that statement?  I have done 3 images for today.  I wanted to redo three images that I did for the Track Worlds back in April.  I had done some images from it back then, and I was so happy with them at the time,  but as time has moved on my processing has improved, or as my knowledge of it has, then I have been less satisfied with these images.

This is the image as I originally posted it.  It has qualities that I really like, but the colours are saturated quite a bit and I really don’t like the halo that you can sort of see around the riders.

Both of these images, actually all the images for today, were processed as single HDR images.  I am processing those images in Photomatix Pro and, I think, much better now.  This image is less saturated and lighter.  I think then processing it with camera raw in Photoshop is also a great idea.  It made it better, and after that I tried to draw out the detail in the track, the wood is so lovely.

Here is a great example of what I was talking about.  I find it really hard to look at this image.  It is so yellow and that halo drove me mad.  I have wanted to redo this image for so long, and here is the second attempt.

I think this image looks more natural, and how it actually was, or how I remember it.    That horrible halo appears to have gone, the colours are more natural and not so over-saturated.  I have lightened it up some, especially his face.  I like this one a lot more than the previous one.

Again this image was done as a HDR image and then opened in camera raw where most of the processing was done.  I really like camera raw, you can fix up a lot of stuff in it, not that you can’t do the same sort of stuff without it, but it is easier.

When I first did this image I was so happy with it.  I loved what it conveyed, the fact that it was of Victoria Pendelton didn’t bother me, the thing that did bother me was the halo all around her.  This was the first image from the Track Worlds that I really wanted to change.  Another chance to see if I could rid it of that halo.

Now that halo is definitely gone.  I think this is much softer as well.  The colours are more natural and while I did bring out the detail, I am so glad that it really only brought it on the boards that are reflected in her helmet.  I am much happier with this rework.

I haven’t done a lot of the technical stuff, because really the only thing I have done is redo the single HDR images.  Once that was done, there wasn’t a lot left to do.  It is so nice to redo images and not have to do much to make them better.  I have quite a few that I want to do, and who knows, I might even redo them again when I have learned more.

On another note, I found out about the other two images that I entered in the Better Photography Competition.  I received another silver award and another bronze.  I entered 5 images and was awarded with 2 silvers, and 3 bronzes, which makes me think that everyone gets awards.  I should find out.  I will finish todays post with the silver award.

Time-Trial

Today’s post is about cycling.  On the weekend I was very fortunate to be able to borrow a couple of lenses, one was a 150-500mm lens.  I wanted to borrow it for the time trial.  In the world of cycling one of the favourite events of most photographers is the time trial.  They are challenging, but you can also get some of the most amazing results.  I love them, though, I wouldn’t say that particular event is my favourite.

When I was going through my photos on Saturday night, I was looking at the photos that I got, and I was thinking, these are amazing, and probably the best TT photos I’ve ever taken.  Of course, the sad thing is that the parents of these kids will look at them and say they want to get some, but never will.  Oh well, that is life and I need to move on from it.  I really wanted to show you some of those photos today.

Shots like this can be almost impossible, but I found the long telephoto lens meant that I could get shots like this, and I got a lot of them.  I love the expression on the faces, the pain of the time trial. I have heard they hurt.

It is also great to get some personality.  This little boy weaved all over the road, and looked like he had something in his eye the whole time, either that, or he was winking at me.  It was so cute and so wonderful.  He was hard to get a close up because he moved so much.  This image was taken from the other side of the road.

I usually photograph cycling with the camera on shutter priority, but I decided with these that I wanted the widest aperture, which on this lens, when at 500mm was f6.3, so it helps to get that very nice Bokeh, is that what it is called? The blurred background.

This is another image where she was on the other side of the ride, basically coming back.  It is good to do photos of them going both ways, but it is really hard using two cameras to do it.  The cyclists tend to like photos of them side on, then they can see their position on the bike.  I have done many in the past and I don’t sell that many of them either, so this time, I thought I would do the photos I like.

This one was the very last shot I took, and I got a few like this, but they were so hard to do.  To zoom in on their face and just get this part, I kept missing them.  Perhaps I need to practice more, but I won’t get to use the lens much.

If I was going to continue photographing the cycling I would probably think about getting one, it wasn’t bad.  The lens is good for outdoors, but I think it would be too slow for indoors, which means no good for the track.

I have done almost no processing with these.  I did put them all through camera raw and turned down the clarity to give them that lovely soft effect.  With the last shot I used that feature in Photoshop of extending the right side and then filling it. I wanted it to be a square image, and it is pretty much.  Images like this, well they should stand on their own and I don’t think I should do too much to them.  I like them as they are, hope you do too!

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