Making photographs, not just taking them – Dundee, Tayside, Scotland

Dundee Bikers Forum Track Night @ Knockhill 14-09-2011

So only a month after my first shot at Knockhill I found myself back there in the hills above Dunfermline, though this time it was more like normal – cold and windy.

This time the track had been booked by a member of the DBF (Dundee Bikers Forum) so was mainly my fellow members of the forum.

From my last visit I learnt that with the lens I have I can’t capture the bikes as they go through the hairpin at the end of the lap and that I could get decent shots at the opposite end as the bikes go passed me. With this I headed straight to the other end of the circuit for the start of the session to see what I could get.

The results were decent again at this location and I was able to pan with the bikes as they passed to get some good shots:

I then decided to move location to a spot on the start/finish straight. This was more of a challenge as the bikes were going passed much faster here and I was a lot closer to them. But the result was a handfull of shots I was even happier with as they really show the movement and suggest speed:

After this I met up with Ian from PKPerspective who is also a fellow forum member. He’d already been at the hairpin (a location I wanted to avoid) so when he suggested going back to my first location I agreed. Once back here I started playing around more with the shots (there is only so many photos you can take of the same bikes going passed at the same location), some worked and some didn’t. Here are a few of the ones that worked:

All in all the night went well, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there were only a few incidents. Two out of the three happened at the opposite end of the track to where I was but one did happen where I could see it and sadly for the rider I had the camera ready. This guy ended up running wide on the third corner and took to the gravel, he did well getting through that but once he got onto the very wet grass there was nothing he could do and down he went:

But even with the few incidents the night was a success for those on track (note: those with yellow or orange bibs were on the track for the first time) and for myself.  I have learnt that returning to the same location, and in similar conditions light wise, makes it much easier to get better shots or at least to know what won’t work with the lenses I currently have.

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4 responses

  1. The key to getting at the hairpin is actually pre focussing the lens – get it off the auto mode and focus on the tarmac right where the knee will scrape it (if they are going that low) then work out the quickest shutter speed you can muster and then as the bike come in hold the button down and let it rip. Sure you are going to take a few crap shots but you’ll probably get a couple of decent ones on one trip.

    I have some shots of Jenson button hammering around a chicane when he was in F3000 before he got famous with the same technique – just need patience.

    23/09/2011 at 13:20

    • batty79

      Ah see I didn’t think of that the first time and I never went back there the next time because I was putting it down to the lens used. Oh well another lesson learnt for next time 😉

      23/09/2011 at 14:08

      • If you need to get a bit closer without paying out a load of money try a second hand extension tube – it’ll do the job nicely

        23/09/2011 at 15:57

      • batty79

        Was tempted to look at them, a mate got ones for £10, has to shoot full manual with them though.

        23/09/2011 at 18:42

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