Report/Lessons Learnt from the Hoggin the Bridge Photoshoot - October 8th, 2017

This was a thrill - right on the edge of the motorway on the old Severn Bridge, photographing thousands of motorbikes as they roared past. We left there with broad grins on our faces.

That was the good news. In our excitement we clocked up thousands of images - filled up our cards, and guess what, we didn't bring enough spares!  This meant that we couldn't follow the bikes to Caldicot for the ensuing event.  We had many, many, images of bikes (3801 in my case) as they rolled by.

  • Lesson #1 - don't get carried away and check the cards occasionally.

  • Lesson #2 - there are only so many interesting pictures of bikes on motorways you can take.

Even with good cameras and technique (or so I thought at the time) I had many poor or soft images.  Analysing them and thinking about it, I concluded the following:-

  • I used spot AF as I wanted to be specific about the point of focus. In many cases this was the face/head or the front of the bike. Two issues there -

  • Visors (or windscreens on the bikes) meant focusing was difficult due to reflections & colour aberrations.

  • Spot focus on fast moving objects is just too ambitious. So ....

  • Lesson #3 - use a small number of focus point (typically centre 9) to give you the best chance of grabbing the sharp image you seek. Considering this is how I get 'BIF' (Birds in Flight) images - I should have known better!

  • Lesson #4 - be aware of reflective surfaces for your point of focus.

And finally Lesson #5 - PLAN !   For a shoot like this that has multiple sites - make a plan with timings and quantity of images at each site, and stick to that plan.

Richard Bedwell