NY NJ PA CT NH MD VA DE Motorcycle Road Racing PicturesThere is nothing quite as thrilling as watching the high speed/high stakes sport of motorcycle road racing. Watching these men and machines carving up the track is a spectacle unlike any other. 250 plus horsepower bikes weighing in at a tad over 300 pounds. Top speeds on the straightaway, depending upon which road course is being challenged, can be in excess of two hundred MPH. Diving into the apex of a turn at break neck speeds with the motorcycle leaned over at angles that appear to defy the laws of physics and gravity. Pairs of two or packs of a dozen or more bikes carving up a turn mere inches from each other. All while challenging the race track itself with it’s multiple left hand and right hand turns, elevation changes and pavement that could become slippery by the addition of some oil leaking from a competitor’s machine. Throw in the rain factor. Yes, these guys race in the rain. They put on special rain tires and slow down ever so slightly but the speed contest goes on rain or shine. Photographing a motorcycle road racing event is thrilling to me. Of all the different types of motorsports racing I have photographed, motorcycle road racing is the most challenging and my favorite racing event. Challenging to a photographer on so many levels. First of all there is the "target" size itself. Motorcycles are much smaller than their road racing sports car counterparts. It is simply harder to get a great shot of something so small moving so fast. Then consider the way these machines move. They are not running in a continuous counter clockwise rotation around an oval track…like flat track racing…or NASCAR. They are diving left and right constantly with constantly changing speeds and no two riders will follow the same line around the course. Predicting what course a particular bike might take is an educated guess at best. Then you must factor in the road racing circuit itself. Often times the parts of the track with the best photo opportunities are hampered by being far away from the safe zones where one, as a credentialed professional photographer, can position ones self. This dictates that you must use very long telephoto lenses which are extremely hard to keep track with the blistering fast machines; and generally operate at lower apertures resulting in a very shallow depth of field. Choosing the right shutter speed to "freeze" the motorcycle without "freezing" it’s tires is essential to convey the feeling of speed. Panning, to create a motion blur effect, is another whole skill set the motorcycle road racing photographer must practice and perfect.