Menlo Park GP

menloparkGP2007b.gif The Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix was a bigger event this year with more sponsors, etc... I went to go watch Dan race the 45+ and 35+ events as its much more interesting to take photographs when there are particular riders that you are targeting -- it's easy enough to point your camera at a peloton and get a photo of some rider in focus; it's much harder and more important to pick out a particular rider. Of course, Dan made it easy by driving a breakaway for almost the entire race.

Menlo Park GP Photo Gallery

I also used the criterium as a chance to practice shooting sprint finishes as well as 'trick shots'. Pans are easy enough, but I really wanted to start getting the hang of the zoom pan as I'm planning on trying it out on the corkscrew at Sea Otter. I've included my results below.

Zoom pan, aka Dolly Zoom, aka "Hitchcock zoom": I don't know what the right name for this is, but I've been enamored of the technique ever since watching Hitchcock's Spellbound. With a Dolly Zoom, you move the camera backwards as you zoom in to keep your subject the same size while weird things happen with the background DOF. With cycling photography there is no dolly but the rider is coming towards you. All you have to do is zoom out while keeping the oncoming cyclist the same size. If you pull it off, you're subject will look fairly normal but you'll get interesting streaks around. If you go to fast, you'll get weird sorts of distortion, which I guess can be fun once or twice.

I shot these at 1/30th - 1/50th of a second on my 70-200:

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Pans: this is a simple technique, not hard to execute. It's the bread-and-butter of cycling photography techniques. I'm snobby enough that I don't like taking these sorts of shots. I took a couple for fun, but most of my time was spent on the zoom pans. I shoot pans at around 1/160-1/200, which keeps it fairly easy.

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See also: Menlo Park GP 2006

Menlo Park GP Photo Gallery

related articles: NCNCA
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