Shooting photos in the sport of motocross is a very fun job. Yes, it’s a lot of work on race day, but not only do I get an inside, up-close look at the stars of the sport, but I also get to document what I see in my own personal way. What follows are my 10--plus one extra--photos from the 2012 season of Supercross, motocross, and freestyle motocross. Be sure you click through all the pages, and if you like what you see, click and save the image for a wallpaper.
When I first started at TransWorld Motocross, I tagged along with Garth Milan to help shoot Ivan Tedesco for a feature in the magazine. Since then, I've always seen him as one of the nicest and most down-to-earth riders on the tour. I was pumped this past outdoor season when he decided to sign with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki. He's a past champion in the Lites class and it just added even more excitement to the series to see what he had for the young kids in the class. I shot this photo at the end of the second moto at the opening round in Hangtown where he finished fifth after running up front for most of the moto. When he pulled into the podium area, he took his helmet off and had a huge smile on his face, as he relived the moto with his friends and mechanic. It was a really cool moment to see someone accomplish a goal that they weren't entirely sure they could.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/800th @ f5.6
This photo of Todd Potter is easily my favorite freestyle motocross photo I've ever taken. In the weeks leading up to the shoot, Todd and I exchanged text messages about how to shoot his cover. He wanted it to be something different that popped off the front page of the magazine, and above all he wanted it to be a huge gnarly trick. While this shot doesn't have the coverlines and title on it, I think you can see that we accomplished the goal. It took two days of shooting to get the shot--the first day was too windy for Todd to pull off a Cliffhanger backflip--but it was well worth the extra time.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/320th @ f8.
LIGHTING EQUIPMENT USED: Profoto Acute-B powerpack with Profoto head and reflector
JEREMY “TWITCH” STENBERG
Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg has the best style on a dirt bike; it's almost difficult to take a bad photo of him. This particular photo was taken on the same day as the cover of Potter. Twitch's house is just up the road from where we were shooting, and after riding down on his mini bike to say hello, he quickly turned around and road back to his house to gear up. He only hit the ramp a few times before I was able to snap off this shot of him laying his bike flat--truly a testament to his talent on a dirt bike.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens, ISO 200, 1/400th @ f8
LIGHTING EQUIPMENT USED: Profoto Acute-B powerpack with Profoto head and reflector
Many people think shooting Southwick is really easy, and that's true if all you want to get are amazing berm shots of dudes throwing sand and going fast. But if you want to get something different than the norm, it becomes a little more challenging. Every time I shoot there, I always get the berms shots done, then walk around trying to find different angles that show a little what Southwick is about--rough, gnarly sand. I shot this photo of Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer late in the final 450 moto when the track was almost at its roughest point. I ended up running this shot in the magazine for Skills, and got Jake to divulge some of his top tips for going fast in the rough stuff. Check it out in the November issue.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens, ISO 800, 1/1250th @ f5.6
I went to school for photography and I really enjoy getting to shoot portraits as much as I do action. Earlier this year, we did a feature in the magazine on Malcolm Stewart. The theme of the story was about him stepping out from beneath his older brother's shadow. For that reason, I thought it would be cool to shoot him outside with one light and make it look like he was outside the shadows. This particular photo didn't run in the feature--our Art Director chose to use a tighter one--but I liked this one the best.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens, ISO 100, 1/250th @ f18
LIGHTING EQUIPMENT USED: Profoto Acute 2 powerpack with single Profoto head and reflector
I really enjoy shooting FMX. It offers for more creativity and I generally have more fun doing it. This photo is of relatively unknown rider Sean Fogle. While the rest of the riders were taking a quick break, Sean continued to hit this fourth gear 120-foot jump at Fitzland. When I saw him doing it, I quickly ran out to snap off this shot of him right before he broke a few spokes on his front wheel, forcing him to stop riding. It was one of those shots where the sun was just right, and I happened to be in the right position to capture it.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens, ISO 640, 1/1600th @ f6.3
This was the start of the first moto of the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship series. Going into the series, the majority of the talk centered on James Stewart and how he'd fair in his first outdoor race in a long time. As it turned out, this was the last time anyone saw him during that moto. He checked out and rode away with the win. The second moto was more of the same, proving that in spite of his time off, he still hadn't lost much speed. I liked this photo, because there was so much going on between the on-track action, the photographers, and team personnel. There's so much to look at, and a lot of times that's a bad thing for photography, but I feel it works for this image.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/1600th @ f5.6
I took this photo right as Stewart took his helmet off following his first moto win at Hangtown. Yoshimura Suzuki team manager Mike Webb was the first to greet him. It goes without saying that everyone on the team was very excited to get the win, but being that close to them, I could hear James explain to Webb and the crew how his bike performed and how good it felt to lead the entire race. It was one of those moments as a photographer where I got to see the human side of the racers that not everyone gets to see. At the end of the day, doing well in a race as a top pro is just as rewarding as it is for an average rider.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 16-35mm f2.8 lens, ISO 640, 1/1600th @ f6.3, Canon Speedlite 580 EX II
I grew up watching videos like Crusty Demons, Moto XXX, and Terrafirma. And every time I get to shoot with Brian Deegan, I think back to how I grew up watching him hit big jumps like a boss. To this day, he still hasn't lost his touch. I shot this photo of him at his Metal Mulisha Compound in Temecula, California, and he was the only guy that day to even think about hitting this cliff jump. True to his Crusty roots, though, he hit it multiple times before making sure I had the shot I needed.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/1600th @ f5.6
Before tearing his ACL right after wrapping up the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, Ryan Villopoto was on the gas every time he took to the track. This photo was shot during practice at the second round of the series at Phoenix. RV didn't win that night--Ryan Dungey took a historical win for KTM--but that didn't mean he wasn't pinning it.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens, ISO 2000, 1/1000th @ f3.5
In the weeks leading up to the opening round of the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross Season, I got to watch Geico Honda's Eli Tomac spin some laps on a few private Supercross test tracks. The first thing I noticed about him was his increased intensity and speed. He almost looked like a different rider than the Tomac everyone saw in 2011. During the main event at Anaheim I, Tomac got a bad start and was forced to climb his way up towards the front. Every lap he scrubbed the first base line triple harder than any did all night. This photo was taken towards the middle of the race and Eli still wasn't backing off.
IMAGE DATA: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens, ISO 3200, 1/1000th @ f3.5