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On the 1st of May 2011 my son Ben and I went over to Catton Park near Swadlincote, Derbyshire to watch the competitors in the Wiggle Enduro 6 Mountain Bike race. The race is an ideal place to take photographs with lots of opportunity for trying different lenses, exposure settings and, of course, techniques.
As the name suggests this is a race lasting six hours through the grounds of Catton Park. The terrain consists of uphill and downhill sections including forrest paths, dusty trails and a very tight snaking section which exits uphill causing the most experienced rider a headache. Finding good locations and vantage points is the key to photographing this event.
Although the cyclists are not always moving quickly they are always moving. To keep the riders in focus I used continuous servo focussing combined with a mid-aperture such as f5.6 and a fairly high shutter speed to freeze the motion such as 1/500th sec. I kept the camera in manual mode for the most part and switched to auto-iso so that the camera automatically adjusted the iso to suit the exposure settings. This occasionally led to high iso settings but allowed me to capture the action. It's a trade off but worth it.
On some of the brighter sections I changed from my Tamron 17-50mm to my Sigma 70-300mm which let me get a closer to the action and enabled me to capture some more unusual shots such at this close up of one rider passing through one of the dustier parts of the course.
After downloading the images to the computer it was a good hour spent cleaning the camera and lenses before traveling to Oulton Park on the 2nd of May to photograph the British Superbike Racing. More of that race in the next blog post.
As always I took a loads of images which I've posted on a page in my gallery at Photoshop.com called Wiggle Enduro 6. Please click the link to view them.
See you next time.