They say a picture is worth a thousand words. While covering any subject, having photographs helps document the subject, and motocross is no different. This year, the guys at Align Media helped us tell the stories of the season through the lens of their multiple cameras. Simon Cudby, Rich Shepherd, Mike Emery, and Cole Beach all contribute here at Racer X and have created Align Media, a collective media group. You have seen their work each week in the post-race interviews, breaking news updates, race preview pieces, and more—including mammoth photo galleries from each round—plastered all over RacerXOnline.com.
For this week’s 3 on 3, we asked these shooters to talk about their five favorite photos from the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Here we go!
To me as a photographer, our job is to tell stories through our images and to preserve those memories. What separates us is how well we tell those stories. Luck and being in the right place at the right time can come into play but there’s a huge amount of talent and skill involved as well. I was fortunate enough to be able to work for the guys at Align Media this summer who are some of the best in the business between Simon Cudby, Rich Shepherd, and Mike Emery. I held myself to the standard of work that they had been producing and wanted to prove myself as well, so I had put a fair amount of pressure on myself. These five images are some of my favorites because I feel as if they tell a story from a unique perspective and show some things that most people don’t see.
The image of Dylan and his wife Nastasia holding their heads together after a tough race, it shows just how much this means to everyone in these rider’s lives and the sacrifices they go through.
This photo of Adam on the podium was after his first-ever premier class overall and I happened to just be on the right side at the right time to capture him being sprayed with champagne. You can see the pure joy on his face. The amount of time and effort that went into him standing on that top step seem unmeasurable but he had finally done it and this moment was everything those riders work for.
Next, the photo of Jett Lawrence and Justin Cooper giving each other fist bumps at Fox raceway is unique as well. The week prior on social media the two had their differences but after a long 30-minute battle in the California sun where Jett came out on top, Justin remained respectful enough to congratulate Jett and put their differences to the side.
The image of Dylan winning at Loretta’s isn’t as unique as the others, but this photo is special to me because it turned out to be one of the main images in the Racer X magazine for the article covering Loretta’s and there is no feeling that can replace seeing your work in print for the first time.
Lastly the photo of Chase’s bike in the morning light. This was more of being in the right place at the right time. I was walking back to the media tent after shooting some pit stuff and racers arriving to the track. I saw the harsh shadows and light pocket illuminating Chase’s bike, and I was lucky enough to capture it which turned out pretty interesting! This summer was filled with great racing and I was grateful to be able to be out there working with the best guys in the business, so thank you to the guys at Align and everyone at Racer X for the opportunity!
Check out more of Align Media's work below:
This shot of Jeremy Martin was a favorite the minute I snapped it at Thunder Valley this year. I wanted to slow the shutter speed down to capture the rawness and roost, and the fact that Jeremy ducked it like this was the coolest. He’s a fighter and I think he has a great year coming in 2021.
I love shooting raw emotion, and Zach Osborne’s face shows so much right after he rolled off the track at the Fox Raceway Finale. The fans and collective industry all seemed to agree that this was a true feel-good championship. Congrats on the title, Zacho and team.
This photo of Dean Wilson from Ironman seemed like it popped up everywhere social and that was kind of cool. I just found this jump so massive that I captured it from super far back and it just looked like a wall (it was.) Dean shredding it made the photo.
How cool (and horrible) are mud races? I love and hate them, and this particular round cost me a camera body. You know what though? I really enjoy the photos that come from a day like that and this shot of RJ Hampshire after his moto win was especially memorable to me.
Dylan Ferrandis, Fox Raceway, championship vibes. The fact that we had a successful Pro Motocross series this year was amazing, and I’m grateful for everyone that made it happen. Dylan whooped ass and is going to be a threat to the big dogs. This shot kind of wrapped the whole season up and I like how the fans are there for him. Congrats to him and his close-knit team!
Bonus round. A kind reminder to have fun thanks to style cat Justin Bogle at Thunder Valley. The dude just has it like that, and he reminds me of the Michael Jordan Jumpman logo in this shot. I also got yelled at after I shot this angle—sorry Davey and crew but it was worth it!!
Late in the moto, once I’d shot some “safe” images, I went to the uphill next to the start to get some slow shutter speed pan shots. I was impressed that Justin was on the gas every time he went by me on the track.
I found a spot on the outside of turn one at Thunder Valley, a little higher up than the crowd. As the riders streamed into view, the crowd in front of me put up their phones to grab the action too. I like this as it gives the image more depth.
Adam was on track in the first practice of the day. I saw a nice roller close to the start area, and I knew the racers would be getting low. This shot was on only his third lap of practice.
I just love this shot of Dylan on the podium after clinching the 250 title at the finale. I was off to the side of the stage with a long lens and was able to grab this image as I was working my way to the front of the podium.