I started to take photos at the race track around 3 years ago. It started as a hobby that grew into my current business. I now take photos as a freelance photographer and visit my local race tracks on a regular basis. Here are a few examples with some info about them. I started with 1/800sec or 1/1000sec depending on the light available. Over time it came down to 1/400sec as 1/800sec doesn’t show motion very well where 1/400sec gives you a nice blurry background as you follow the motorcycle from side to side. Only problem is it’s a bit slow to capture a crash cleanly and expect to have a lot of rejected photos. My hit rate on a bad day is 50%-60% and on a good day 80%-90%. The good thing isI take thousands of photos per race day which gives me a good pool of images but it’s a lot of work to trawl through all the images. The photo that started it all, it’s old and blurry but perfect when used on my business cards. This was taken at the World superbikes race 1 held at Donington in 2011. I used my old Canon 450D and a Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS lens. Settings were F5.6, ISO400 and 1/800sec. I thought it out of the world at the time but looking at it now I can see its flaws. I feel as a photographer we have to learn and progress in our skills or our photos with newer improve, I can see looking at this photo that my skill has improved as my camera equipment were upgraded, I do hope this isn’t all dow to my camera equipment. On my next visit to Donington in 2012 I had my Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6 IS L which helped to improve the photo quality and give me better reach. Setting depending on the light available were F6.5, 1/800sec and ISO320 or F5.6, 1/800sec and ISO200. The rest of the photos were taken at East Fortune race track which is east of Edinburgh. It’s always great to see this iconic name on a fuel tank. The rest of the photos were taken at East Fortune race track which is east of Edinburgh. I used my Canon 7D and normally the lenses I would use would be either be my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 IS II L or Canon EF 300mm F/2.8 L with a Canon 2x extender at times added. I previously used my Canon 100-400mm f/4-5.6 IS L but the Canon x2 extender give me the same reach with the 70-200 so I have parked it for now. I have tried to use my Canon 1D Mark III but I found I prefer the Canon 7D above it and now just have it as a backup camera at the race track and I use that for my other photos sessions.If you were wondering, no he didn’t recover but crashed. Well it’s was luckily more of a sliding off the track without getting hurt than a crash. One of only a handful of times there were a puddle of water on this corner (called railway) during a race day. It’s sometimes sad that a photo is only glimpse of the whole story. This is the last race of the season, #79 had a heavy crash not even 30 min earlier (as he entered Snake) and was given the go ahead to restart. He and #179 (which is just out of shot on the left) are head to head in the championship and it all comes down to this race. But sadly it wasn’t to be a dramatic fight to the finish line. #79 crashed again this lap or it might have been the next one and that was his championship challenge finished. UPDATE: He ended up with the championship in 2015 though.
These riders are like warriors and determined to battle to the last breath on track. The courage and determination they have is amazing to watch and I have a lot of respect for them. I tip my hat to you ladies and gents. I had to add this photo. There’s just something that I like about it. It’s in colour but with the rain, the motorcycle and leather combination it makes it looks slightly colourless with a hint of colour thrown in. Initially I wasn’t going to use this photo but I actually like the fact that the number area of the motorcycle is in focus and the rest is blurry while he brakes for the hairpin corner. This corner is called Snake, it’s in the shape of a S and a pretty fast corner at that. I am sitting at the end of the tire wall you can see. I am so close to the riders flying past that if I lifted my arm up, my hand would have touched the rider’s helmet. Being able to take photos at track side is a privilege and not a lot of photographers are allowed to this. I appreciate that I’m in danger at all time and listen to everything the marshals tell me to do. They have a job to do and I’m not there to be in the way but be part of the track side furniture. They are a great bunch and I have made a lot of friends. In the case of the photo below I was told by a marshal to try that position as it has been used by photographers in the past (but not very often). In the beginning I was sitting upright and by the end of the race my right shoulder was pressed into the ground/tyres on my right, this happened subconsciously and showed me my survival instinct were at work. I can’t even start to explain the adrenaline rush this gave being so close to the riders flying past at probably over 100mph. I was told that I can’t sit there for the bigger classes due to the effect that would have on me while flying past, I was glad I didn’t try to find out. The result after one race was maybe 5 photos that I could use, I have improved since that day but prefer to stand a bit further back. I get better quality photos and have slightly more time to get the photo while still getting the same photos as I would if I sat there. I wish I could explain the feeling of sitting so close to danger while trying to get a good photo and the bikes are only in the frame for a very very small fraction of a second. All I can say to try and get that across, I had the biggest grin on my face since started to take photos at the race tracks and was buzzing thanks to the adrenaline. I hope you liked these photos, you can find more of my motorcycle racing photos at www.TrackSidePics.com. Photographs by Jacques …
2 thoughts on “Motorcycle racing”
How on earth do you loose a back wheel like that!?
It’s a carbon fibre wheel which broke. It’s happened before but it’s very rare to happen.