Ask MBAction: Shooting Like The Pros

SHOOTING LIKE THE PROS

The Esker Cycles Elkat takes to the air. Photo by John Ker

Question:

I read your magazine a lot, and I am really impressed by John Ker and Pat Carrigan’s photos. I’m fairly new to mountain bike photography and have been shooting for about four years. I currently own a Nikon D7100 with a 18–70mm Sigma lens. While this lens is great, I can’t seem to capture the “in the moment” action present in your photos; the rider looks so far away. I have about $650 to spend on a new lens now and am wondering what type/brand/model you would recommend. I apologize if this is not as bike-related a question as it should be.

Paul Holzman
High Desert Bicycles

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Lake Castaic night rides. Photo by Pat Carrigan

Answer:

That’s a very good question, but it’s a tough one to answer. If the riders in your shots generally look too far away, as you indicated, you can either zoom in closer or move closer to the point of peak action when you are getting ready to shoot. I still have to remind myself to do that, and I’ve been shooting photos for MBA for over 30 years. Your 18–70mm lens has a good range for mountain bike photography. It should be good for shooting action photos from roughly 7 feet away at 18mm (be careful) up to about 30 feet away (at 70mm). I have lenses ranging from a 15mm Sigma fisheye lens all the way up to a 300mm Canon telephoto, and I use them with a full-frame Canon 5D Mark III camera body.

The 18–70mm lens on your camera would be roughly equivalent to my shooting with…

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