On Monday the 2nd May 2011 I was lucky enough to go to the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire.
Having never been to anything like this before it represented something new and exciting. It also represented something challenging from a photography point of view. I've never really done any type of action photography and I'm not exactly set up for it but you have to make the best of what you've got and enjoy yourself.
When we arrived at Oulton Park the first thing that struck me was how big the place was and also how many people were there.
We decided to attend the Pit Walk so I attached my trusty Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 and try to get some images of the riders in the Pit Area. Although the Pit Lane was busy the riders were only to pleased to sign autographs and pose for photos as were the models that were stood with them.
All too soon it was time to find a vantage point before the start of the first race. Sitting down on the grass bank I began to get an idea of just how far away from the track we were. I attached my Sigma 70-300mm f4 and got ready to take my first pictures of the race.
I'd seen motorcycle racing on the TV but it's not until you're actually there that you get an appreciation of just how fast these things are travelling. More to the point, you realise how quickly they pass through your viewfinder. I realised that if I was going to stand any chance of getting some usable shots I needed to be running a high shutter speed which, with the limitations of my lens, meant running with a high ISO.
I put the camera on to Auto-ISO so that I could concentrate on the shutter speed and the action. We tried several vantage points around the track. Some gave better results than others. I shot over 200 images and ended up with about 60 usable ones that I've posted on the British Superbikes page in my gallery at photoshop.com.
I learnt a lot of valuable lessons from my visit to Oulton Park but sadly I had to delete a lot of images of empty track and safety barriers. Those bikes really do move fast !!!
Next time, macro photography using flash and coloured gels.
Cheers for now, Chris