Help! How do I get the perfect shot?

mad_malteaser

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Hey everyone,

I haven't been around for a while, but I'm hoping you can help me with something.

On Sunday the Tour de France is passing right near where I live and, it having been something I've wanted to see for years I'm naturally heading down there to see the race.

I'd love to get some good shots mostly for my Dad who has also always wanted to see it but won't be able to this time. My photography is amateur at best and so far I've been limited to landscapes and the like so the idea of taking photographs of fast moving cyclists is daunting, to say the least.

What advice would you give me about technique, settings and equipment I should use? Thank you so much to those who reply!
 

deanimator

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Depends!

Camera?
Lens?
Film or digital?
Colour or black & white?
Time of day...light direction?
What viewpoint do you want to have...and can you get to this position?

How much time will you have?

You may want to consider a bridge or overpass, where you can also get down to the roadside quickly for a different angle.
However, I would plan my shot...for example, say a long lens from the top of something like a bridge, looking down at the riders as they come towards you with the light on their faces. Use a high ISO to give you a fast shutter speed and a smallish aperture to keep good DOF (you could preset focus or depend on the tracking capabilities of your autofocus, if you have it). This will allow you to concentrate on keeping them nicely framed without worrying about camera shake or losing the focus...

Look here for some examples and tips http://www.procyclingphotos.com/
 
OP
mad_malteaser

mad_malteaser

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I have a 400D and so far, I only have the 18-55mm kit lens. It'll be about 11.30am but as far as viewpoint goes, I have no idea until I get there.

Thanks for the info about high ISO and the like, that's the sort of thing I needed to know. Fingers crossed it goes well!
 

wesd

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It might be helpful if you were able to get ahold of a map of the run, and try to figure out where you plan on shoting from beforehand that way you can try different settings with your camera before the day. That way you will be a litle bit mre preaired. It might be the difference of takeing the good or bad shots. Maby be showing up for the event you will be able to shot some of the festivities. Also if you are in a location where you are able to get quickly to a vehical you might be able t kind of "track" the race. Any favorate riders?
Wes
 

Garbz

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If you can position yourself on an inside corner, set your camera to Tv and the shutter speed to 1/100th or slower. Then pan with the bike and depress the shutter right when he goes past. This creates a feeling of speed.

But this is just one of the possible photos. You could also try picking a predetermined focus point and waiting for a cyclist to ride into it and snap it at a high shutter focusing on the expression on his face. Going up hill you will get some very determined iron man type expressions.

There are many more creative photo opportunities at races.
 

deanimator

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As you can see, the emphasis is on planning your shot...meaning you can´t run around randomly shooting. Ok, that´s obvious.
Some other things to consider when planning the viewpoint:

Do you have any idea what stage of the race you want to be at...early when they are all in a big bunch, middle when they have started to spread out into break-away groups and a large bunch, or late when they break-away groups are starting to duke it out and are breaking up even more into individuals or pairs, but there will still be a main bunch.

Are you looking for something general or for a particular individual?

And get there really early...2 or 3 hours before.

Be prepared for everything...umbrella, water, food, jacket, phone, binoculars, and tripod. Check your batteries. Take a compact camera as well.
 

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