Photographing Crit Races

Last night I got the chance to photograph the beginner races of the Tuesday Night Crit series at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. My wife was racing in the women’s beginner division, but I also had time to shoot most of the men’s beginner race as well.

One of the unique challenges with races like this is the sheer speed that the participants are going at. The most effective technique for fast moving events is “spray and pray” where you put the camera in high speed capture mode and just hold the shutter. It means that the first task in editing is deleting a good 30%-40% of the images that are garbage, but it does mean a higher chance of getting something good in-between.

Back in the old film days trying to shoot events like this were a huge challenge, and incredibly expensive. So much film would get wasted trying to capture at least a few good shots, combined with mediocre auto-focus that left many images blurry. However, in the digital realm you can free yourself to waste pixels on something that might not turn out. You just delete it later in Lightroom.

Despite having some good success last night, if I were to do this type of event professionally I’d probably consider stepping up to something like a Sony A1. The improvements in high speed capture are big enough that it’s often the go-to choice for sports photographers. Overall though, I’m happy with what my A7C was able to bring to the table, with my 85mm lens.

Full album is over on my SmugMug.


Beer, running, and geeky things.

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