Mar 2, 2009

Random Fun Shoot - BMX Racing

My Brother-in-Law and Nephew wanted to check out some BMX racing, which sounded like a fun photo opportunity to me...

In the Dallas area, Metroplex BMX seems to be the place to go for such a thing. Racing was on a Friday night, and other than the website photos, I had no idea what to expect...

I did not want to take "too much" gear, so I packed for versatility... the Canon 40D and two zooms, 24-70, and 70-200. I was really banking on the facility having good lights. In retrospect, it would have been wise to bring at least one faster prime lens, because the lights were not very bright. High ISO is my friend, but the photos could have been much better. Most of these were underexposed in the camera and required pushing the exposure in Lightroom to look OK. Image quality isn't great, but it was a fun shoot so no worries!

First up was round after round of practice starts, then the riders would slowly make there way to the finish. Practice for me too... and looking for backgrounds.

One section of bleachers was almost empty... not bad.. can I move your trash can?
Canon 40D, 70-200, f2.8, 1/320, iso3200

Looking down from the top row let the dirt of the track be the background.
Canon 40D, 70-200, f2.8, 1/320, iso3200

Of course, I wanted to try some slow-shutter panning shots. The dirt was quite good for this, although my technique still needs work.
Canon 40D, 70-200, f8, 1/25, iso3200

Long range panning is harder... I was pretty happy with this one. Most of the riders were not getting any air, so that was a bonus.
Canon 40D, 70-200, f3.5, 1/30, iso500

From ground level, the tops of the jumps are quite high. I wanted to catch a rider's head peering over the top to show the size. I was surprised how hard it was to get focused and get a frame before they popped up the jump, and I never did get a good focus on a face. The helmet makes an easier target for the camera to catch.
Canon 40D, 70-200, f2.8, 1/320, iso3200

From the other side of the track, you could look over and come face-to-face with riders exiting the final turn...
Canon 40D, 70-200, f2.8, 1/320, iso3200

When racing finally got started, there were usually 3-5 racers per class/heat. After the start and first set of jumps, there was not a lot of tight racing action. I did like this formation of riders hitting a jump early in one race..
Canon 40D, 70-200, f2.8, 1/320, iso3200

This guy would rather be racing than watching..
Canon 40D, 70-200, f2.8, 1/250, iso3200

From the finish line, you can look back down a long line of jumps that make up the final straight. I was hoping to get one rider down in the valley and another jumping.. this worked out nicely with a bonus rider in the middle.
Canon 40D, 24-70mm, f2.8, 1/250, iso3200

And another with four... this is about as close a finish as we had all night.
Canon 40D, 24-70, f2.8, 1/320, iso3200

I look forward to going back, it was a lot of fun, and there are lots of other shots I want to try now that I have had time to think about it.

Happy Shooting,

Don J.


  1. were is the track in the pictures???

  2. Hi Jared,

    This track is in Desoto, TX... follow the link at the top of the post to their website with address and directions.