In the months following my freestyle shoot in Ocotillo Wells, California, I felt like I wanted to take a stab at an area of motocross that always seems to look the same: racing. I started my photography career photographing motocross races, and while I really enjoyed the challenges of getting tack sharp, frozen moments, I found it incredibly difficult to show the scope of the events.
Each track is littered with banners, advertisements, and the scene can be a bit chaotic. Every hue in the color palette is literally around every corner, so capturing wider scenes to show the drama and landscape of the motocross world can be a daunting task.
But, if you could approach things with the advantages of capturing space, but disadvantages of stopping action that a large format view camera possesses, strip out the color, let the event soak into a sheet of film...maybe you've got something.
I just happened to be a few hours from the Sacramento area, where the opening round of the 2010 Motocross Nationals was scheduled, so I packed my camera for the trip, and headed up to the race with my brother John, who was covering the race for Motocross Action, where he is the Managing Editor.
Being able to select where the focus lands within the frame, and omitting all of the colors allowed for a much less distracting view of each scene. Perfect clouds passed overhead all day, as well, which gave me a lot to work with while composing wider images.
A few weeks later, back home in Colorado, I shot at the Lakewood National, which was a completely different scene altogether. Having some great overview and action images from a few weeks before in Sacramento, I experimented with a few different options and concepts, like a diptych of a start, where the bikes would streak past the camera as they took off. During the few second exposure, the noise and power from the bikes actually shook the camera, blurring out the whole scene.
My old moto-photographer buddies ridiculed me, until I reminded them that "mine was bigger".