Shooting My Very First Pro Motocross Race

Do you remember your first Pro Motocross race? The smells, sounds, and buzz of it all… there’s nothing quite like going to the races.

I’m likely preaching to the choir here, but I’m getting hyped up just typing about it!! My first Pro Motocross race was the 2019 Washougal National. I had recently moved to Washington State, and realized that the race was coming up. Washougal is a REAL one, and I knew I had to go while I had the chance. At this point I’d been dabbling in landscape photography, but I’d never really taken photography as much more than a hobby and had only taken a few photos of friends riding here and there. And even that was nearly 10 years prior. 

Washington State is by far the most beautiful state in the country (sorry, everywhere else) and I consider Washougal to be one of the most scenic and photogenic tracks on the circuit. So, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to try out my new camera and see what I could come up with from the fences. I reached out to my old pal Mike, who hooked me up with some passes (thanks, dude!), and we made plans to go to the race.

I had my sights set on a single goal: capture just ONE photograph that would be good enough for me to have printed and hung on my wall. I figured if I could get just that one photo, it would all be worth it. I started planning for the race. I went online and started researching how to capture motocross photographs. What kind of lenses to use, what settings will freeze the action, what are the best angles to shoot? I spent hours reading articles, and I must have watched like half of YouTube. I was totally green, but determined to get that shot!

I had recently gotten a camera, but didn’t have the right kind of lens for it, so I rented one for the weekend. I met with Mike at the event and we hung out for a bit in the morning, but I was anxious to get some photos, and ready for some racing! He probably only saw a few minutes of me the rest of the day, because from the first practice to the last moto, I was on my feet running up and down the fences getting shots. All the planning and research was paying off, and I was getting the shots I’d come for!

I not only got the photo I came for, but some others I was happy with, too. As it turns out, a few folks actually kinda liked the photographs I took and they got just a little bit of attention from some friends and family, and even a few shares and likes from riders themselves. That put me on Cloud 9! I couldn’t believe that out of all the talented guys out there, MY shots would catch the eyes of anyone. Going out and capturing some shots that I was really proud of created this fire inside, and it became the only thing I wanted to do. 

As I’m writing this, I can’t help but kinda laugh at myself, because when I got started I was about as new as it gets. It’s not until you take the time and look back at life that you have a chance to really measure your progress. When I went to this race, I had the goal of shooting just one good photo. But, by the time I left, my mind was made up and I knew that one day I’d be shooting motocross for a living. I even made a post about it during the race, where I gushed over a brief encounter with Garth Milan and committed to the goal of getting to wear a blue vest of my own one day.

Can’t go back on that, right?

Mega Gallery From the Millcreek Summer Classic

Vurb Center: TV and Streaming Guide for Washougal and MXGP of Czech Republic