Again in response to the depressing lack of bird photography options presenting themselves – yes, thanks to arsehole dog owners using every square foot of beach in the county as a playground for their animals – Mark Mowbray and I decided on a trip to Croft for the second day of the two day (6/7 April) NEMRC racing event.
And a great day it was too..!
Not much else to say, really – the weather played nice for the most part (it was dry, there was actually some sunshine on occasion, winds were light, and the temperature pleasantly Spring-like), and although we didn’t really know what to expect (no offence to the club, but I wasn’t expecting Moto GP racing!) it was great – elbow-to-elbow stuff; some cracking, fast bikes and great racing.
There was a horrendous crash involving a young lad called Andy Tasker, but I understand that he’s on the mend now, so I feel OK about posting these up.
There was also some scooter racing: but no pictures of that, I’m afraid – I’m not a fan of scooters!
It took a little while for me to get my eye in with slow shutter-speed panning (which is necessary in order to get the magic combination of sharp bikes, blurred backgrounds and blurred wheel spokes, and – if I’m honest – I didn’t get it right every time: but I still came home with a ton of pictures, and even after two aggressive culls, I’m still left with about 600 “keepers”.
I was “overlensed” again: even without a converter between camera and lens, and with the Siggy 120-300mm f/2.8 OS wound back to 120mm, I was still (optically) too close for a lot of the time: it’s necessary to be physically pretty close to the bikes for panning to work properly, and Croft doesn’t have many spectator opportunities that tick all the right boxes, which is why there’s a “sameness” to many of the shots I came home with.
So I’m thinking long and hard about adopting a little brother for my Big Sig..!
Anyway, following are just a few examples – some better than others – but the better ones are pretty good, I think.
Now, you might be thinking that somehow these pictures don’t look quite as “natural” (if I can use that word for pictures of motor bikes!) as they might.
You’d be right too – I’ve processed them in a slightly HDR (or probably more accurately, tone mapping) style: not by layering several differently-exposed images, but by actively “opening up” the shadow areas of the images.
I realised from my last set of Croft images that I rather like the look – for now, anyway – and I think it makes them a little bit different from “just” pictures of bikes, when it works.
It’s just a “style” thing – but it’s important to have a style, isn’t it..?