Motocross Race Photography

It was a perfect weekend for Motocross racing…and motocross photography, on Easter Sunday, 2014.  Sunny skies and warm temperatures set the stage for round 2 of the Nuclear series at Byron Motorsports Park near Byron, IL.

Byron Motorsports Park

My son and I were traveling with my brother and his son Jared Nelson (who races motocross) to enjoy some racing and also try my hand at a little  motocross photography (which would be a first for me).  I do a lot of nature and wildlife photography so I’m used to trying to capture fast moving animals, such as birds, but this would be a little different and I was looking forward to the challenge.

We arrived Friday night, got the camper situated and unpacked for the weekend. Saturday consisted of a full day of practices, grouped according to class, and the race began Sunday at around 10 am.

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Jared getting himself mentally prepared for practice














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                                ” Race Day”

Sunday morning started out a little brisk but the temperature rose quickly for perfect racing weather.  After a short riders meeting it was straight to race warm-ups and the first race of the day.  The Legacy track (the original MX track) is a nicely designed track and very conducive to race photography, allowing you to get close to the race and therefore close to the action almost anywhere around the track. The inside of the track was also easily accessible.  From the first race it was pretty much nonstop action and it wasn’t difficult to fill up memory cards quickly.

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(click on the images below to view them larger)

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Jared mid jump during race.

Some preparation ahead of time is a good idea to find positions and angles that will make for good shots.  It’s also a good idea to wear old clothes as some shots may require being on your knees to get low to the ground or even laying on the ground, plus there’s quite a bit of mud flying.  You definitely want to use fast shutter speeds to freeze the action but slow shutter speeds can be employed to get a desired effect…as in the shot below.

DSC_8882 by Christopher L. Nelson .

ISO 100, f/22, 70 mm, 1/20s

All in all it was a fun weekend of camping, motocross and photography.  There’s plenty more racing to come this season and I’m looking forward to getting out there again soon.  Hopefully a little better prepared for some better action shots next time around.

Sharing God's creations one glimpse at a time.


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