Under the Gantry
Sony New Zealand
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Event Host

Behind the Shot: Under the Gantry by Aaron Staples

27 Oct 2021
Sony New Zealand
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Event Host
Image: Sony New Zealand, Alpha 9 (A9) Under the Gantry

Aaron Staples (@aaron.staples.photography) is a freelance photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. His passion for photography started eight years ago through his love of riding motorcycles, as he wanted to capture high-quality photos during his trips around the South Island. Whilst shooting motorcycle racing for the first time in 2017, Aaron discovered that capturing images of fast-moving subjects can be extremely challenging, and highly addictive. Since then he has focused on developing a career as professional motorsport photographer. In addition to motorcycle racing, Aaron also shoots rally, endurance and drift events. This image, titled “Under the Gantry”, was a finalist in the sports category at the 2021 Sony Alpha Awards.

 

Under the Gantry. Photo by Aaron Staples
Sony Alpha 9 with FE 24-105mm F4 G lens. 1/40 sec, f/22, ISO 100

 

Setting the Scene

The shot was taken at the first round of the 2020 Superbike World Championship, which took place at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia.

“I usually have a pretty clear plan of where I want to shoot when I’m out on the racetrack, based on corners and the light at that time of the day,” Aaron explains, “however, this particular shot was completely impromptu.” He recalls walking between locations when he saw the light shining between the two gantries and immediately realised this was an opportunity to produce a unique image. The high contrast between the darkness of the gantry and the bright sky behind it created an interesting zig-zag effect. “I wanted to capture the sunburst as well as the speed of the bikes, and because the photo was unplanned it made it even more satisfying.”

 

Gear & Camera Settings

Aaron used his Sony Alpha 9 paired with the FE 24-105mm G lens to capture the shot. “My camera was set to ISO 100, the aperture was f/22, and it was a 1/40th of a second exposure,” he says. “f/22 doesn’t allow for much light to be let through to the sensor, so I had to reduce my shutter speed and pan with the riders. There were definitely more rejects than usable shots, especially when the bikes are travelling at more than 200km/hr, but that just makes it even more rewarding when you do get a sharp photo.”

Over a race weekend, Aaron would typically shoot 3000+ images per day. He always shoots in raw file format, noting that “it gives you a high dynamic range”, and uses Photo Mechanic to sort through the photos because it can show image previews quickly. Before sending images out to his clients Aaron makes minor edits with Adobe Lightroom.

To check out more of Aaron's work, you can find him on Instagram at @aaron.staples.photography, or visit via his website www.aaronstaplesphotography.com

 

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