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Adelaide – Photographing the Tour Down Under

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The final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under saw competitors vie for supremacy over 20 laps of a street circuit in central Adelaide. With riders zooming by every few minutes it was the perfect event to practise my sports photography. I was able to try out various techniques and different settings on my camera and I was able to move to different locations during the race safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to wait long for a group of riders to fly by and a shot to present itself.

So here is what I did and what I learnt.

 

Composition

–       It’s not just about the famous faces

 

You just can’t help but try to get those close up shots of your favourite rider, the strain showing in his features, maybe some sweat glistening in the sun.  But tomorrow in the paper there will always be a better photo, taken by a professional with better gear and a press pass allowing them into all the good spots. So as well as trying to get those shots I spent a bit of time on interesting compositions.

Mingling with the punters is not always a bad thing and often the photos that include the crowd give the shots a better perspective of the event overall. Well that’s what I’m telling myself until I get my hands on a press pass.

 

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Ok so the best examples that I could find for this were actually taken earlier in the week in Stirling but you get my point.

 

–       Local landmarks

 

I also tried to get a few shots that gave a sense of place. Rather than tight shots that focus in on the riders in this photos the competitors are secondary and it’s more about the event.

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In this photo you can’t even tell who the riders are so this picture is more about Adelaide, city of churches.

 

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Camera settings

– Creating blur

 

Before my last long flight I was in the airport magazine shop looking for something to read. But rather than buying a celebrity mag filled with useless information I picked up a mini magazine about digital photography.

I used the tips in it to take these photos. I put the camera on burst mode so that it took multiple shots and panned along with the riders.  I experimented with the shutter speeds to see what worked best in the given light.  And because the riders were doing so many laps I had plenty of chances to get it right.

 

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–       Depth of field

 

Depth of field is my favourite photographic technique.  Blurring the background by using a large aperture draws the viewer’s eye to the crisp part of the shot.

 

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