Sunday, May 16, 2010


Day 135 and I spent about three hours up in Gimli, MB, shooting the opening race of the MRA motorcycle season. It was a great chance to play with the 70-200, and work on some high shutter speed and panning shots.

The weather was great, but the sun was incredibly bright, so expect some blown skies in the pictures, and a lot of pictures to boot. I shot about 400 exposures, and a good 50% of them are usable, but I picked a few favourites to share.

The pit area was set up with a variety of tents and shades from various competitors and teams:

Gimli Raceday - The pits

There were about twenty or so racers all together, and they were kind enough to line up a number of their bikes for me:

Gimli Raceday - The lineup

Some of the hardware on display was pretty impressive and expensive:

Gimli Raceday - Hardware

And of course, my friends team, Defiant Motorsports, was in attendance:

Gimli Raceday - Defiant Motorsports

You have to love it when the competition flies the Jolly Roger as well:

Gimli Raceday - The competition

Now to the racing itself. Initially, I went with some straight high shutter-speed shots. I kept the aperture fairly wide to achieve that, and to blur out the terrain and trailing bikes. This first series was shot in one of the main curves, at f/4, ISO 100 and roughly 1/1600th shutter, manually focused on the tripod:

Gimli Raceday - In the curves #1

Gimli Raceday - In the curves #2

From there, I moved on to some panning shots on a slower section of the track. It took some fiddling, but I found that my magic exposure was about 1/160th shutter and f/11 still at ISO 100. IS is on in mode 2, which allows for movement in one direction for panning, and I handheld all these shots:

Gimli Raceday - Panning #1

Gimli Raceday - Panning #2

Gimli Raceday - Panning #3

These panning shots worked fairly well, and I kept about 1/3rd of these shots. The bikes were only hitting about 80kph here, so it was a good starting point.

I moved back to the corners for a bit, and tried some different angles to find interesting points to shoot. I actually had to cross the track to get this angle, please don't tell the guys at the MRA.

Gimli Raceday - Fighting in the corner #1

Gimli Raceday - Fighting in the corner #2

Gimli Raceday - Fighting in the corner #3

Finally, a challenge. Panning shots, close in, on the main straightaway. I was about fifteen or twenty feet away and these bikes were hitting 240kph or so at this point. Handheld again, same 1/160th shutter at f/11. This was a challenge, and I kep a lot close to 10% or so of these shots, but I consider the fact that I managed to keep any of the a huge victory. Here are my best two from this section:

Gimli Raceday - Straightaway #1

Gimli Raceday - Straightaway #2

All in all, a really fun day, and I got away from the kids for a few hours :D

The 70-200 performed *admirably*. Sharpness is everything I should have asked for, focus was accurate and fast, and the panning mode for IS made my very first attempts successful.




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