Steven Brokaw Photography

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It's crowded downtown
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the annual Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.  This is a multi-day motorcycle-a-rama concluding with the Indianapolis GP race.  What I enjoy and have done for the past 2 years is head down to downtown Indianapolis the Saturday night before the race.  It’s crazy downtown.  The city streets around the Monument Circle are PACKED with every type of motorcycle imaginable from all over the USA. 

It’s an opportunity for the motorcyclist to show off and take in all the sights.  Many of the city streets are blocked off and downtown becomes a big party.  Indianapolis does these types of things really well.  All the clubs were hopping & open spaces turned into open air clubs / venues.  Needless to say a photographer’s dream.  The challenge is that most activities really start hopping after dark. 

The setting calls for lightning fast glass, high ISO & regularly changing white balance.  It’s a real balance to get enough speed to minimize motion blur, unless of course if that’s what the scene calls for.

Is the the proper way to ride a crotch rocket?

One wheeled wonder

Also, this year I went to the XDL Championship Series to start off my photoshoot.  This is a series of extreme motorcycle tricks / maneuvers on a very short stretch of road.  In Indianapolis they block off Walnut Street between Meridian and Pennsylvania and line the side of the street with bleachers.  On a very short stretch of road highly qualified riders do their timed series of maneuvers.  Amazing.

All shots were taken with a Nikon D300s and either my AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED or AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G.  I chose the 35mm over my f/1.4 50mm prime simply because I wanted a smaller focal length for my DX sensor.  In hindsight I probably should have used the f/1.4 in some settings.  All WB was preset using a grey card, which became a bit of a pain with all the changing lighting, so I switched to shade or cloud preset.  Speeds were normally in the 1/50 or faster.  Basically the fastest I could get.  I sacrificed ISO for speed.  All shots were at ISO 1600 or higher.  I did get away with ISO 400 during most of the XDL Championship shoot because it was still somewhat bright outside.  F-stop was almost always at the widest aperture, so I did sacrifice some deep DOF.  Again, a trade-off. 

Checking out the sights

Getting quite a few stares
Once again I find shooting at night tons of fun.  Although it’s technically more challenging it creates a mood and color range you simply don’t get during the day.  Especially when you have something as exciting as the pre-race downtown party for the Red Bull GP.

Oranje, Now That's a Party

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