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2018 Petit Le Mans - IMSA Racing with D500

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by ijm5012, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Hey everyone. I'm a big motorsports fan, and earlier this month I headed down to the town of Braselton, GA outside of Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans. For those who don't know, it's a 10-hour sports car race where multiple classes of cars run for 10 straight hours in a bid to win the last race of the season (and if the season's gone well, the championship).

    This was the first race I've really traveled far with my Nikon gear, and while heavy, I'm glad I brought it. The equipment I took included:

    • Two gripped D500's
    • Sigma ART 35mm f/1.4
    • Nikon 17-55 f/2.8
    • Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR II
    • Nikon 300 f/2.8 VR
    • Nikon TC-14E III
    • Filters (ND & CPL)
    I fit all of the gear in a recently purchased SKB 2011-7 hard-sided case that complies with all major US airline carry-on size restrictions (no comment on the weight with it fully loaded :oops: ).

    To be quite frank, the D500 performed remarkably well. Handling, frame rate, image quality, all superb IMO. The ONLY time that I felt a bit "meh" about tit was when I was shooting at ISO 12,800 in basically the pitch black, maybe ISO 6400. But short of shooting with a D5-type camera, I really don't think anything else could do a whole lot better. Anyways, enough talking. Here are some of my favorite images captured during the race weekend.

    1. A 1/10s pan of the number 912 Porsche 911 GTE exiting turn 7 and beginning its run down the long back straight.
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    2. The #62 Risi Ferrari 488 GTE. Big wing, bigger shadow.
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    3. The distinctive tail lights of the Ford GT. Even when the car is in the shadow, you still know exactly what car it is.
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    4. The #4 Corvette Racing C7.R, running a bit wide through turn 5.
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    5. The #33 Mercedes AMG GT3 crossing the finish line and continuing down the front straight towards turn 1.
    IM1_5208.jpg
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    6. The #55 Mazda Team Joest prototype making it way through the final turn.
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    7. The #911 Porsche 911 GTE using the curbs to put in a fast lap.
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    8. The #62 Risi Ferrari streaking up the hill between turns 1 & 2.
    IM1_6984.jpg
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    9. Eventual GTD/GT3 class winner Weather racing in their 488 Ferrari.
    IM1_3851.jpg
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    10. The #85 JDC Miller prototype, putting on a show for the fans standing track-side at the spectator fence.
    IM1_7021.jpg
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    11. The Prototype season championship winners, Whelen Racing coming down through esses during golden hour.
    IM1_9136.jpg
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    12. The two Mercedes entries running together on track to help the #33 clinch the endurance championship in its class.
    IM1_9191.jpg
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    13. While we love shooting the cars during sunset, the drivers hate it as the sun is directly in their eyes.
    IM1_9178.jpg
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    14. Risi's Ferrari 488 GTE running down through the esses.
    IM1_9249.jpg
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    15. The Acura NSX GT3 of Michael Shank Racing, lit by the beautiful setting sun. The lighting at this time was really incredible.
    IM1_9928.jpg
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    16. Eventual GTE/GTLM class winner, the #911 Porsche in its classic throwback livery.
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    17. Wide hips, and an orange sky.
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    18. D500 at ISO 6400. Needed to further push the exposure in post, but noise cleans up well with DXO's PRIME NR.
    IM1_1224.jpg
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    19. ISO 12,800. Yes, it's noisy, but short of getting a D5-type camera, it's not going to get much better. Also, I RARELY shoot in conditions like these. It really was almost pitch black out with the naked eye.
    IM1_0190.jpg
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    20. Makin' sparks. Again at ISO 12,800 and pushed further in post.
    IM1_0396.jpg
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  2. Lawrence Beck

    Lawrence Beck Mu-43 Regular

    52
    Feb 15, 2018
    Brilliant work, Ian! You crushed this one!!! You've raised this discipline to a new level!!!!
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  3. LilSebastian

    LilSebastian Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    317
    Feb 28, 2017
    Pasadena, CA
    Thanks for showing us your results with the Nikon. I especially like #15 with the NSX. Sun flare makes it very artistic.
     
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  4. Bushboy

    Bushboy Mu-43 Veteran

    312
    Apr 22, 2018
    NZ
    Charlie
    Great photography. Well done. You could go pro with shots like that....
     
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  5. damianmkv

    damianmkv Mu-43 Top Veteran

    640
    Nov 7, 2014
    Surrey, England
    Cracking set Ian - 15 is one of the best shots I've seen, perfect panning with beautiful light.

    I should get my backside in gear and try events like these
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  6. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thank you Lawrence, I appreciate it. It's great being able to combine two passions/hobbies together!

    Thank you. Yes, #15 is one of my favorite shots, as the lens flare is fantastic. Fortunately we had good light at this year's event.

    Thank you, and it's definitely something I wouldn't be opposed to (at least going to a few races to shoot for people on assignment).

    Thanks Damian. There are some great circuits over in the UK that I'd love to visit and shoot. The nice thing about this track is that there's a lot of elevation change with plenty of areas to shoot where you're not obstructed by catch fencing.
     
  7. Koru

    Koru Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Nov 23, 2014
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Ian, my jaw dropped when I saw the first shot, and was pretty much on my chin by the end!
    I have not seen better motor racing images, well done.

    May I ask what focus mode, points you used?
    Thanks,
    Don
     
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  8. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thank you very much for the kind words Don, I appreciate it. It was a lot of fun to shoot!

    I would use D25 or Group AF most of the time, and single-point on occasion. It really depended on the situation, where I was intending the focus to be, and if I was shooting through anything in the foreground.

    The D500 performed exactly how I expected and hoped it would, and I'm glad that I brought them along with me.
     
  9. Robstar1963

    Robstar1963 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 10, 2011
    Isle of Wight England UK
    Robert (Rob)
    Stunning stuff Ian @ijm5012@ijm5012 !
    Looks like a very atmospheric track
    I assume the hit rate for the very slow panning shots is very low even with the D500 so this probably represents a lot of work to achieve :bravo-009:
    Regards
    Rob
     
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  10. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thanks Rob. Yes, the track and the event are fantastic! 10 hours of racing in the warm southern sun in October is hard to beat.

    Yes, hit rate while panning is low, but not terrible. As long as I wasn't shooting at something like 1/10s and was in a more reasonable 1/25-1/50s range, if the burst were 5-7 shots, there were typically 2-3 nice sharp images where I could pick which one I liked the best. I am very happy with the panning performance of the D500, as I get a good enough hit rate to pick which image I like best out of the panning sequence.

    Of course, having 10 hours to practice certainly helps as well ;) 
     
  11. pwol

    pwol Mu-43 Regular

    133
    Apr 21, 2015
    CT
    Nice shots. I'm a Ford GT fan so it sucked watching the Corvette win the championship without winning a single race all year. It was a great race though.

    That sounds like a great trip, looks like alot of fun. I'd love to go to the Daytona race in January. There's a very small chance I might actually go, but I'll probably just stick to Lime Rock and Watkins Glen this year.

    I've only been to 2-3 hour races. I'm just curious what your time split was for actual shooting vs just watching the race. I shoot all the time during shorter races because of FOMO the perfect shot, it must be nice to just sit down and watch the race. Also I'm curious about what your total shot count was before culling and how many miles you walked if your phone tracks that lol.
     
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  12. PannyPaul

    PannyPaul Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Aug 8, 2017
    What an absolute feast. Stunning work.
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  13. Thanks for sharing. Very nice. Did you use a tripod for panning?
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  14. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thanks. Yes, it was interesting that the drivers of the #3 Corvette won the driver's title without winning a race all year. It goes to show that team's consistency (especially after Garcia smashed the wall coming out of the pits on cold tires with only a few hours to go). However, CGR did win the team title, so not all was lost. I love the look of the Ford GT's, but still don't like the way they sound as a race car.

    While Daytona is great, you should look in to Sebring as well. The weather is a bit better (it gets damn cold at night at Daytona, especially if it rains), and this year will feature the WEC cars running on Friday in addition to the IMSA cars running on Saturday. It should really be a great event. From what I hear, Sebring is a good track for spectator photography as well.

    As far as the race goes, because it is so long we walked the track and spent 60-90 minutes at the corners we stopped at. That gave plenty of time to shoot, but also sit back and enjoy the racing as well. The longer races really are worth going to over the shorter races, because there's simply more time to shoot as well as enjoy the racing. The lighting is also better too, as typically with the shorter races all you get is that harsh, mid-day sun. However, with the longer races you get to shoot in golden-hour and blue-hour lighting, which really makes a difference in your images.

    As far as my shot count goes, too many to tell really. After each corner, I would quickly go through and protect all of the potential keepers in-camera, and delete everything else. That helped keep the total shot count down when I got to editing them on my computer, but I still had something like 1,000 images from race day, and of those I kept something like 200-ish? Some were binned due to blur, but most of them because they were so similar and I kept the best one.

    We walked ~5 miles on Thursday, 5 miles on Friday, and 8 miles on Saturday. It was even better exercise because I was hauling around my Nikon gear vs. m43 gear :rofl:
     
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  15. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Thank you Paul, I appreciate it. I really enjoy getting to the track and shooting motorsports. The speed, sound, and technical challenge make it fun.

    Thank you Holly. Nope, all the panning is done hand-held except for some of the stuff with the 300mm which is on a monopod.
     
  16. dobro

    dobro Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    27
    Jun 4, 2017
    Thanks for posting....I live less than an hour from Road Atlanta and have never hit the Petit LeMans. I have been to a number SCCA and WERA events there years ago though (in the film days!)....it's a great track.
     
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    You've gotta go! It's an amazing event. You're right though, it is a great track! I love getting to go there.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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