Taking the fast track
Moto GP fan and keen photographer Monique would love to make a living from her exciting, high-speed hobby
Motorsports have always been a big part of my life, and so has photography. I’ll photograph just about anything on wheels, but my first love is Moto GP, and it was after I attended my first Moto GP event at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria in 2008 that I decided that photographing Moto GP was what I wanted to do for a living. At the time, I had a camera that wasn’t capable of getting the results I wanted, but
Capturing the speed
in 2011 I was bought a Nikon D7000 and 18-55mm and 55300mm lenses, which I taught myself how to use. Following Moto GP can take you to some of the most beautiful places in the world. My favourite circuit is Phillip Island, where the ocean provides a spectacular backdrop. As the riders fly down the straight and into the first turn, it looks like they’re riding into the sea! The fans help to create an amazing atmosphere, but they can also get in the way, so for me it’s always an earlymorning start to get a good spot on the fence. And I stay away from people waving flags; some of them are pretty big and can ruin a shot!
Having a zoom lens of 300mm-plus is crucial, as there are spots around the track where you’re quite a long way from the riders, and having a
camera that is capable of a fast burst rate helps a lot too. You have to dial in the right settings, compose the shot and fire the shutter at the right moment. The bikes fly past in an instant, so you must be ready at all times!
The weather at Phillip Island can change from hour to hour, but it’s often cold, windy and raining, so I always carry an umbrella, wet weather gear and a camera sleeve.
Compared to Moto GP, shooting motocross is a breeze. There’s less to think about, and you can have fun as it’s a more relaxed environment. I always
Having a zoom lens of 300mm-plus is crucial, as there are spots around the track where you’re quite a long way from the riders
try to get close to the action, and I don’t mind getting dirty. When you’re lying on the ground playing with angles, getting splattered with mud flicking off the wheels, you’ll want to wear your not-so-good clothes!
If I had any advice for someone wanting to shoot Moto GP, it would be to spend the first day of a race weekend, Friday, shooting the free practice sessions. Get your settings right, practise your panning technique and find good spots, ready qualifying on the Saturday and race day on Sunday. Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment: try a slower shutter speed, shoot portrait instead of landscape, and who knows, you might just get a winning image!
01 ALE X MARQUE Z Nikon D7000, Nikon AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR DX, 1/2000 sec, f/5.6, ISO400
03 VALE NTI NO ROSSI Nikon D7000, Nikon AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR DX, 1/8000 sec, f/6.3, ISO1250
02 HONDA RC 213V Nikon D7000, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 G, 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO800
04 BOYS WIL BE BOYS Nikon D7000, Nikon AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR DX, 1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO100