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  • Writer's pictureMark Paterson

What I have learned from shooting at the 2023 UCI World Championships - Part 1

So far this month (1-10th August), I have been making trips up and down to Glasgow in preparation for the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships Primarily for volunteering purposes, however, I also had the opportunity to catch the opening session of the track cycling at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Just being in the velodrome area was magical enough, but to have FRONT ROW SEATS just after the finishing line, made it even more special. And it was on that first day that I took the opportunity to take my camera and get some action shots. After entering the arena, I was faced with several problems I had to solve to be able to get the best images.

The first was LIGHTING

Normally with studio lights, they have a temperature of 5500 Kelvin (the unit of measurement for the temperature of the light) and my camera is set to record that temperature. This is when "pure white is pure white". So not knowing what temperature the lights were, I decided to stick to that setting, knowing that I could colour correct it in post.

The second was SHUTTER SPEED

I knew that I had to have a fast shutter speed, to be able to freeze the action, and stop the athletes being blurry. It was during the on track warm up prior to the first race that I had the opportunity to experiment and find the correct solution. The shutter had to be able to allow the most light in, AND also freeze the action.

The third was APERTURE

I knew that if I missed the focal point on a shot, then that shot would come out blurry. Remembering that a large aperture (small number) allowed in more light that a smaller aperture (larger number) the decision I took was for somewhere in-between.

While looking through the viewfinder, I noticed that the scene was still under exposed. I knew if I had slowed the shutter speed down any more than I had, that would lead to blurry images. Plus, if I opened up my aperture, I may miss the opportunity to have a sharp shot by missing the focus point. There was only 1 other option available to me. And that was to raise the ISO

If you remember, the ISO represents the sensitivity of the sensor. So by making the sensor "more sensitive to light", the shot that I finally got was recorded properly. Thus giving me a correctly exposed shot.

This was all done before taking the first picture.

Even after that first picture was taken, I still had to make adjustments to be able to get an image that had details in the shadows and NOT blow out the highlights. Now that I had my starting point for that part of the track, I was sorted.


What would happen if the cyclists were on a different part of the track?

I would have to go through the same process all over again. Or, just make adjustments at the time and have my fingers crossed that I captured the shot without any issues. Unless there was another way.........

In the next post, I'll explain what I did to be able to capture the images as well as I could. And how knowing my camera allowed me to be able to overcome these issues.

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