Daily Photo – ATT Crit Motion Blur

Here’s another shot from the ATT Crit early this summer (the previous one can be found here). This one’s from the men’s race and was a little later in the day, creating some exposure challenges.


  • Shutter: 1/320
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: 3200
  • Camera: Canon EOS 1ds mIII
  • Lens: Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM (at 16mm)


Composition and Processing

  • I wanted something that exaggerated the long line of riders as they swept by, making it look almost as if they trailed off into the horizon. I chose a slightly off center shot to make sure foreground riders didn’t obscure the riders in the rear, but stayed close enough to close the gaps in the tail. I really wanted to be as wide angle as possible, which meant making a choice between the 1d (1.3x crop) to get the high frame rate (10 fps) and 1ds (no crop, so wider angle, but only 5 fps). I settled on the 1ds: composition trumps shot opportunity, in this case. Shoot smarter.
  • The shutter speed is actually a little high for a typical motion blur shot, but I wanted to insure most of the riders were relatively sharp. The only motion blur I needed was on the lead rider to show speed; I think the eye naturally applies that to the whole chain because the riders are sort of connected visually anyway. Considering the angle of the camera and how close I was to the lead rider (you can see my own foot in the scene), the higher shutter was the right choice.
  • This might have worked in color, but I didn’t like the way the noise looked, even after cleaned up, at ISO 3200. And the riders didn’t quite separate from the background enough. As I’ve done on occasion in other shots, I used Nik Color Efx infrared filter to convert the image to black and white. I certainly could have gotten this look with other black and white plug-ins or just using channels, but this was faster and occurred in the context of a lot of other filters (black and white or otherwise). Being able to creatively explore a lot of options quickly is one of the biggest advantages to Nik’s product.

August 19 2008 10:56 pm | Photography

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