Photos at Hoosier Arenacross
Last year, I had the opportunity to attend an AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) road race and I learned a lot. There were all sorts of motorcycle classes from vintage classics to modern street bikes. I was impressed by the technique and speed the riders displayed. It was exciting to watch the riders drag their knee in corner, come out onto the straightaway, and blow past you in the stands at wide open throttle. The fastest riders always seem so smooth and elegant as they fly down the track.
Then there are dirt bikes...
I have definitely spent more time riding on the street than I have on a dirt bike, which isn't saying much. I learned how to ride several years ago, but still consider myself fairly new since I don't get to ride very often. Nevertheless, I love motorcycles and the culture around them, and I've found using my camera is a way to be more involved with something I enjoy.
I had not been to an indoor race before, but Hoosier Arenacross was going to be in Topeka at the end of December and I thought this would be a good experience to take photos and learn something about this sport. I learned quickly this is a physical challenge for the riders and is a totally different experience than racing on a paved track. It's fun watching the little kids zip around the track on their 50cc bikes, but when the 250 and 450 classes take off, it is intense. The pro classes are insanely fast and these guys and girls hit some BIG jumps.
I attended another Hoosier Arenacross event in Kansas City, recently. The stadium and track were set up different but this allowed me to get different points of view to shoot. Everyone has their own preferences, but I almost always shoot in manual mode on my camera. I like to be able to adjust one setting at a time when shooting, so it works for me. I wanted to spend more time working with my 200mm lens, so I exclusively shot with that. For the majority of the photos I took, I kept my aperture around f/2.8 and f/3.2. My shutter speed stayed between 1/100 and 1/200. I tried taking shots with even slower shutter speeds, but was having difficulty keeping the subject in focus. More practice to come with that. My ISO was set to about 400 most of the time.
When I finally get home at night after that second event, and my wife is telling me to go shower because I smell like race fuel, I back up my photos and think back on the events. Maybe it's the crowd, the speed of the bikes, the noise, the smell of fuel, or the intermission freestyle show that make these events great. I came to realize it's the people involved. The racers, families, employees, and volunteers all make this happen. You can tell there is a lot of time and hard work that goes into these events and this sport. I'm just glad I could capture some of it. Now if they could just do something about those $8 beers...
P.S. I have photo albums from these events on my FB page @NickCodyPhoto. Let me know if you want a print or ever need someone with a camera ;)