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Image 1 - This action shot was taken at Blaxhall in Suffolk during a motorcross event. It was possible to approach quite close to the edge of the track, and I spent some time walking around the the more interesting sections to find a location where the flying bikes could be seen against a clear sky. I finally achieved this in a spot where the riders were jumping well clear of the ground over the crest of a hill. However, I still had to lie on the ground to shoot under the guard ropes and remove all background clutter from view. In reality the ground was only just out of shot below the bottom right-hand corner of the frame.

The motorbikes were moving very fast, and it was necessary to anticipate the peak of the action to avoid missing it altogether. After wasting half a roll of film,  I succeeded in training myself to release the shutter as the front wheel of the bike entered the frame. The success rate was not very high with a 135mm lens, but a couple of rolls of film produced several worthwhile images. The shutter speed had to be kept reasonably fast to freeze the action despite some panning of the camera. The shot was taken at 1/300 second, the highest flash synchronisation speed, on Fuji Sensia 200. The bright sky obviously had a huge effect on an automatic exposure, so my first reaction was to use a manual setting. However, I soon decided that the contrast between rider and sky was far too large for the film, and that it was essential to use daylight fill-in flash. On that basis, having checked with officials that a powerful flash would not cause difficulties for the riders, I returned to automatic settings and let the camera do all the calculations.

 

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