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The feeling of winning



Michael Dunlop celebrating winning the 2014 Senior TT. The first win by a factory bike for BMW at the TT in 75 years

Michael Dunlop celebrating winning the 2014 Senior TT. The first win by a factory bike for BMW at the TT in 75 years
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Top Shot Award 21
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Contest Finalist in Full Adrenaline Rush Photo Contest
Lucky 3 Award
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Sports In Action Photo ContestTop 10 rank week 1
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18 Comments | Report
Etna PRO+
 
Etna November 06, 2014
Excellent shot
RobinV
 
RobinV April 18, 2015
Congrats on being Grand Winner
CeePar05
 
CeePar05 November 14, 2015
Great actions!
jennavgenio
 
jennavgenio November 15, 2015
Beemer burnout! :D
djmontano6
 
djmontano6 December 02, 2015
Legit! Great color, proper sharpness, great shot!
sweetpea72
 
sweetpea72 December 07, 2015
This is bad ass!!
Lostforphotography
 
Lostforphotography December 12, 2015
Beautifully shot. I love it. Its truly beautiful
KlebersonGomes
 
KlebersonGomes January 07, 2016
AMAZING SHOT!!!
SueDela
 
SueDela May 27, 2016
Awesome!
Gear
 
Gear November 24, 2016
This is an amazing shot and well done post processing!
Nonediscovered
 
Nonediscovered March 14, 2017
Perfect moment
LouiseK
 
LouiseK April 06, 2017
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
LouiseK
 
LouiseK April 06, 2017
Wow
Vinnie01
 
Vinnie01 May 21, 2017
This is niceeeee! :D
Matt86
 
Matt86 August 19, 2017
wow what a shot love it
marzenego PRO+
 
marzenego February 19, 2018
Your photo stands out. Bravo.
MichelleAnnHarrison Ultimate
 
MichelleAnnHarrison March 27, 2018
Nice smoke out. Awesome capture.
Alfredo_Jose
 
Alfredo_Jose November 21, 2019
Great shot!

Behind The Lens

Location
This was taken at the Isle of Man TT races, after the Superbike race. This is the first big race of the two week event and marked the first win in 75 years for the factory BMW team. Michael Dunlop, the winning rider shown here celebrating his victory, had left the Honda team who the previous year had won 6 of the 7 races and surprisingly signed for BMW - a team with no recent race experience. In the build up to the event, people were discussing whether the BMW would even finish, let alone make the podium. As the riders cross the finish line, they are directed back up towards the parc ferme, with the winners diverted off to a small holding area where they are interviewed by the media before heading to the podium. I managed to position myself in the middle of the photography scrum against the fence surrounding the enclosure. I wasn't sure what would happen, but I knew that this result would be something special. The bike was stopped pretty much directly in front of me, and before mechanics or officials could reach him, Michael opened up the throttle and burned out the back tyre as he screamed in joy and relief with the crowd screaming equally loudly around us.
Time
The race is run over 6 laps of the 37 3/4 mile Mountain Circuit, consisting solely of standard roads with no special run off or surfacing. Tops speeds are over 200mph and the winner's average speed for this race was 128.415mph. The race starts at 11am and riders set off about 20 seconds apart. This day was bright sunshine, meaning strong contrasts and deep shadows from trees and advertising banners.
Lighting
Shot with natural light, the shot had to be fast enough to capture the movement of the smoke and dust, but still retain enough light that the details wasn't lost in the shadows.
Equipment
This was shot using a Nikon D800 and 24-70 lens. Hand held in a photography scrum - turns out strong shoulders and sharp elbows are essential
Inspiration
I love the TT, the emotion, the atmosphere, the backstory to the riders and teams, but mostly just the sight and sound of the bikes screaming past only a few inches away from you (yes, you are literally only inches away in some places and never more than a few feet). The whole story of Michael Dunlop signing for the BMW team, the return after 75 years and then during the race, listening lap by lap as we all wondered if he could hold onto the lead, if the bike would last. When he pulled in to the Winner's enclosure, i just knew something would happen, the atmosphere was electric, and then when he opened the throttle and pushed that race engine to full noise, this was exactly the shot that I wanted. For me it sums up the race - one man, one bike, tarmac, smoke, noise and people watching on the edges.
Editing
As you can probably tell, there is a fair amount of post processing in this image. The image is effectively the original, with added grain, increased clarity and contrast and finally the saturation lifted.The final image is about 4 layers deep with some masking added so the smoke isn't destroyed by lifting the shadows a little. The trick to watch for "HDR" filters is the hazing around the edges of the image. They are destructive filters and can really degrade the quality of the final picture. The alternative takes much much longer, but I think it's worth it.
In my camera bag
A lot depends on what I'm going to shoot. I have a different bag for weddings than I do for sports. If I'm shooting the TT then I will have a 400 f/2.8 on a monopod over one shoulder, a second body with a 70-200 in the bag plus a 24-70 and a 50mm. Other than that the most important things are batteries, memory cards, dry towels, radio, chocolate bar and bottle of water. The last two are essential for days when I will be trapped at one location for a full day. Shooting the TT is unique, you will shoot over a range around the circuit from speeds of 200mph+ to under 10mph as they go around a hairpin. You can be inches away, hundreds of feet above them in a viewing tower to watching them rider towards you from a half mile away. Lighting conditions vary tremendously around the circuit depending on time of day, direction of the sun and local tree cover. As well as that, there is the Grandstand where the teams are all based and where the start/finish line is. Here the photography is more street photography style than sports, with the skill set and equipment demands to match.
Feedback
It's easy to say be in the right place at the right time, but it is essential. To know where and when to be for the shot you want, experience helps a lot, you learn where and when things are most likely to happen. Get to know your surroundings, if it's a race track, work out where the riders will be when they finish and make sure you get there early. It's worth missing the last few minutes of a race to be certain of being in the right spot in the winner's enclosure. Don't worry about switching lenses etc, if you do that you'll miss something important. Stick to one body, one lens and make the most of what you've got. Just before they arrive, take a few sample shots to check the lighting and after that don't mess with the settings again - if you're shooting RAW you can recover some detail in post. Most importantly though, don't wait for the shot to come to you, you've got to have an idea in mind and get yourself ready for it. If you're unsure, then 99.9% of the time in sports photography you'll miss the moment and end up with nothing. For a shot like this, high aperture, high speed, make sure the focus is on the helmet and try to bend to get as level with the rider as you can.

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