I learned about the Escape Velocity races from a co-worker and have been waiting for some good weather to make my first 'self assignment'. The weather today wasn't optimal but not that bad and my shutter finger has been getting unbearably itchy so I drove out to Abbotsford to give sports photography a try.
The cyclists were a lot of fun - most times hamming it up for the camera or saying something witty on the way past me as I stood on the side of the road. These are brave, dedicated souls to bare the cold to race so very close to each other. I will be attending some more of these races to hone the very different types of skills required for fast moving subjects than I have been using for landscapes, street or still life.
Things I learned:
- Must have a camera that writes to memory very quickly. I brought 2 bodies with me, a Canon Rebel XTi and a T4i. The XTi didn't write to the memory card fast enough. In burst mode I was only able to capture 5 images before it paused to dump the buffer to the memory card. The T4i allowed for 10-12 before pausing to write to the card.
- Must have a lens with a very fast focus. My Sigma 75-300mm telephoto zoom lens had trouble keeping up with a speeding cyclist coming head on.
- Don't drink too much coffee prior - nothing worse than finding a great spot with nice leading lines and have to drive to a washroom.
One technique that worked well was to meter and focus to an area that I knew the pack would ride through and take as many shots of who ever was in focus as they sped by.