Out in Bahrain: Red Bull X-Fighters Jams

Too many times I’ve caught myself saying, there’s never anything to do in Bahrain. There’s never anything on. In my defence, coming from London, that’s sort of true. But, feels like things are changing in Bahrain.

Take this for example – for the first time ever, the Red Bull X-Fighters came to Bahrain for a couple of nights. Now we almost didn’t make this, due to an epic dust storm that took over the entire island. Though, thankfully due to said dust storm, the night these guys were performing was pushed back, and we could make it!

Never have I seen any of this sort of stuff live. Casually perused events if they’re on TV or watched a few YouTube videos, so I’m not what you’d call a fan. Though I think it’s fucking amazing what these guys do. And when’s the next time I’m going to be able to see some guy do a superman in the air while riding a bike?

My favourite shot of the night. Helps to be close to your subject with a good bit of light!
My favourite shot of the night. Helps to be close to your subject with a good bit of light!

Red Bull X-Fighters Jams

Probably my best, and favourite, of the actual aerial acrobatics these guys were doing on the bikes.
Probably my best, and favourite, of the actual aerial acrobatics these guys were doing on the bikes.

Red Bull X-Fighters Jams

Red Bull X-Fighters Jams

(More photos from the night right this way)

It was pretty damn awesome. Didn’t take that many photos because I realised I’d rather be enjoying the event than watch it through my viewfinder. Always find that balance tricky when I’m out and about with my camera. Think I made the right choice here. Who knows when I’m going to see something like this again?

There was one other minor reason I wanted to check these guys out. I’ve never done action photography. At night. It was hard. I made the stupid mistake of not really doing any research on what lens would be ideal for this sort of photography. (In my defence, I didn’t know the set up of the seating or anything so couldn’t really say whether I’d be needing a telephoto or wide-angle!) I winged it with my Nikon f/1.8 35mm and Tokina f/2.8 11-16mm lenses. The 35mm was probably the most handy, because it’s so adept in the low light conditions. Sure, I couldn’t zoom. But every single one of these shots is a crop, done in Lightroom, of a shot using the 35mm lens. So I’m fairly happy about that.

What took me embarrassingly longer to realise was that shutter priority was the mode I should have been in. Not aperture. I was struggling with manual. Duh! It felt like such a eureka moment when I switched my dial over to “S”.

However not being in manual mode meant my camera did suffer when the riders would go past bright stadium style lights, and my camera just couldn’t focus on them due to the lights. What does that mean? I need to practice on manual a wee bit more.

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