Shooting an Enduro race, Dirt Days 2014

In 2014 I tried shooting a sports event, the enduro race Dirt Days. Enduro motobiking is great for photography of many reasons:

A usually big racetrack offers many locations. Often located in an old gravel pit surpassing a nearby forest, such racetracks are interesting.

There are built obstacles out of wracked cars, tree trunks and rockgardens. To riders these are challenging, which for you as photographer leads to interesting scenes.

The race is round-based, so the many riders pass each location multiple times. So you have enough time to try an idea, check whether it works, and improve it.

Here some of my best pictures of the race, to inspire you on your next sports event:

enduro bike, throwing back stones when accelerating

1/320s – F/5.6 – ISO 160

Fast shutterspeed and open aperture can be used to capture the details of this fast sport, and lead the viewer to focus on the relevant part.


enduro biker coming out of the woods

1/40s – F/10 – ISO 100

„Slow“ shutterspeed and following the rider. If you manage following the rider well, you can create a nice blur effect on the surroundings. Don’t despair if it does not work out immediately, this needs lots of practice. Keep in mind that „slow“ is relative, what means that e.g. in a fast sport like enduro biking 1/40 second is quite slow. Additionally I really like this image because of the enlightened background by the setting sun.


1/80s – F/8 – ISO 100

Here I somehow followed the biker with the camera as well, leading the viewers focus. What I want to show you with this image apart from the following, is a basic rule of shooting moving objects: Leave them some space! In the previous image I did not manage it because including the sunset was really important to me. But in this image you can see it. In front of the biker should be more space than behind it. If you want to perfect it, apply the famous 1/3-rule here. In front of the image should be two times the space as behind it.

Concluding, I would really recommend you trying to shoot a sports event! Especially a not to large, local event suits well, because there are less restrictions and it is less crowded. It was best to ask the organizers first. By that one usually gets the permission to get closer to the track than the audience is meant to, wearing a safety vest (wearing a safety vest additionally has the advantage to make you look like belonging to the local stuff, making some things easier for you).

Do you have any things to add or personal experience you want to share? Feel free to add them below in the comments, I would really like to read your opinion!

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