On Sunday, I traveled to Daisy, Georgia to capture some fast-moving action shots of motorbikes as they raced at the Live Oak Motorpark. Armed with my Canon 7d and my 70-200L lens, this gave me a perfect opportunity to figure out how to properly use the “AI Servo” method of focusing. This is a method of focusing in which you can lock focus on a moving subject and the camera will automatically track the subject and adjust focus as needed. Think of it as being similar to a fighter pilot locking a missile on an enemy plane. If you’re not familiar with what AI Servo is, and are somewhat into photography, I highly recommend you study up on it and begin using it.
When I first began getting shots this day, I had a hard time getting the subject to be in focus. As great as AI Servo is, you still need to fine-tune the camera settings. Several hundreds of shots later, I finally had everything figured out, so I decided to walk over to an adjoining track, where there were some riders practicing jumps. The name of the person in this post’s photo is Oliver Braun and I could immediately tell that he was a seasoned rider/jumper.
Of course, watching these daredevils made me very nervous. For those of you who don’t know, I worked as a Paramedic from 1991-2000. As a Paramedic, I was very familiar with just how dangerous the force of gravity was and I kept having visions of these riders getting hurt. (Paramedics came up with a medical condition for people who fall and get hurt, called “Cement Poisoning”.)
It seems as though accidents always happen when I’m around. In fact, about an hour after I took this shot, I was standing on the sidelines telling a friend how nervous all of this activity was making me. I was talking about how whenever I fly on an airplane, someone usually gets sick and I have to render care. Literally 5 seconds after I finished getting those words out of my mouth, my daughter, Sydney, gasped and said she just saw a person take a jump and fly off of their bike.
As I turned to the direction she was looking, I could see a crowd of onlookers running across the track. Knowing how high the riders on this track were jumping, I knew that whoever had fallen was definitely going to be hurt. I paced over to the direction where everyone was rushing out to and saw someone laying on their back on the ground. It turns out that it was Oliver. (The person in this photo.)
As I reached Oliver, I could see that he was conscious, so I breathed a small sigh of relief. Because of how high up he had fallen from, I immediately held “C-Spine” to stabilize his neck. Oliver didn’t complain of any pain to his neck though. His primary complaint was pain to his left foot and right ankle. What had me concerned was that Oliver kept asking the same questions over and over, which is a sign of a brain injury.
About 30 minutes later an ambulance arrived, fully immobilized Oliver, and transported him to the closest emergency room. I would later learn that Oliver had 2 fractures of his cervical vertebrae and a “messed up” ankle, but that he was going to make a full recovery.
So, Oliver, this post’s for you! I hope you enjoy this photo I captured of you on a day you’ll likely never forget.
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