PhotoZAP 22: Revved Up

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“For all the color and crispness and sense of place in this image, the one thing there isn't, is a sense of energy.”—Jack Howard

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© Rick Otto, Kimberly, ID. Gear: Canon Rebel XSi (450D), Canon 75-300mm zoom lens set at 140mm, mounted on a monopod. Exposure: f/13 at 1/500 sec, ISO 400, AE Shutter Priority mode.

Photographer’s statement: “This was shot at the Rock Creek Racetrack out of Kimberly, Idaho during a multi-state competition. I stood behind a hay bale right at the beginning of the first turn and let the riders scream off the starting line right at me. This was the first Motocross event that I have ever shot, and, in fact, was only four months after purchasing my first DSLR. “


Our critics say...


Mason Resnick: I like how the colorful bikers line up in the foreground with the other line of bikers at the ready behind all the dust in the background, as well as the silos in the distance. It really gives you a sense of place. What I don’t get, even though this is a race, is any sense of motion. A wider angle might help: If I could see the wheels kicking up the dirt, that would give me a clue that these guys are going fast.

Jack Howard: There's so much to like about this shot. The exposure is dead-on for the main subjects, and the dust and nicely stopped down lens-which breaks the wide-open-all-the-time "rule" for sports photography-adds a great sense of place and space to this image. And I've got to repeat what Mason says: for all the color and crispness and sense of place in this image, the one thing there isn't, is a sense of energy. A vertical composition to take in some of the bikes, a wider angle, a bit of panning (by stopping down even more to slow the shutter speed enough to add motion blur) would really make this image spring to life.

Monica Cipnic: I agree with both Jack and Mason, that this photograph has all the elements you want: both rich color and muted color, the subject interest in the foreground playing off against the background, and the sense of place, a dirt track near snow-capped mountains. I don't agree with them, however, that we need to see dirt flying to know we're at a motocross. I see the background line of bikes and riders in the dust, and some of the best shots of this genre are stop action ones. Trying different compositions that had more of the bike wheels and perhaps moving to hide the silos behind one of the riders could improve this shot.


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