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Shooting Long Distance at Night

edited August 2013 Posted in » Canon T2i Forum
My son races dirt bikes and by the time his last moto starts, it is dark outside. All of my pictures come out dark or blurry. I tried to shoot it in sport mode but they were blurry or dark. What can I do? Do I need to purchase an external flash?


  • edited August 2013
    An external flash would not do you much good; even the most powerful ones are not strong enough. Is there floodlighting on the circuit?

    If so, position yourself where the bikes come under the glare of the floodlighting. If your son could pose his bike in one of these areas beforehand, set Tv shutter priority quite high, say 1/1000th.

    Leave ISO on auto. Focus on the bike and try to get an exposure. You may have to fiddle with the shutter speed and exposure compensation.

    You might want to set your white balance to tungsten. If you have Auto Lighting Optimiser enabled, disable it. Also set your camera to AI Servo and continuous shooting.

    Develop a panning technique so you can track a bike until the moment it hits your pre-focused area and then fire away.

    If it's any consolation, for every decent picture you see in a motocross magazine, the photographer may have taken dozens of shots.

    Good luck and happy shooting.
  • @lesaherman33 - @PBked gave you some great advice. I'll add that shooting motocross at night near a dimly lit track is a recipe for disaster. Even the best sports photographers with expensive equipment would struggle in this instance.

    If you want to come away with some keepers, rent a super bright f/2.8 lens (something like the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8) and shoot on a day where your son is racing closer to late afternoon (rather than twilight or nighttime).

    As you might of guessed, fast action requires plenty of light. Happy shooting! :)
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