Fast moving cars in a racetrack

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by silver92b, May 6, 2013.

  1. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    These are my first attempts at photographing moving cars by panning them to get the feel of motion...










  2. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    And here are some more....






















  3. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Road Atlanta? :confused: :smile:
  4. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    No, it's AMP (Atlanta Motorsports Park), a fairly new track in Dawsonville, GA, North of Atlanta about an hour away from my house. I kind of wish I had not sold my place and driven, but it was a better choice not to do it this time.. Maybe later this year :biggrin:
  5. Matt917k

    Matt917k Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 10, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi Mate,

    Did you post these wanting critiquing or just to share? I've shot a bit of motorsport over the years.
  6. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for asking Matt917k, I guess it's a bit of both... It's my first time trying to pan the cars as they go by. Although I accidentally did a few great shots with 35mm film back in the dawn of time, I had not done it with a digital camera. Any tips to improve would be appreciated :)
  7. slothead

    slothead Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 14, 2012
    Frederick, MD
    You have the right idea, but you need just a little but more practice panning. Remember the speed effect will be displayed by the blurred background as you pan along with the car. You want the car itself to be crystal clear. You will want to keep your shutter speed slightly slow too (I'd suggest around 1/125) or everything in the photo will be frozen (thereby losing the speed effect). Don't give up, you're doing great.
  8. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    On tip I've come to realise is that it's best to shoot a little wider then crop the image. Too many otherwise good shots are let down by having the nose/back of the car out of frame.

    Also remember that you'll have a fairly low success rate. I've been working in Motorsport for 20 years and get the chance to play with the camera several times a year and still more than 90% of my shots I'd rather no-one else saw. I doubt if I'm happy with more than 0.1%.

    I find that if you can get to the inside of a bend, the barriers are often less intrusive, and the cars stay nearer the same distance from you, but you may need to drop shutter speed a little as they are going slower.

    You seem to have mastered the basic technique well (many beginners stop moving as they press the shutter) as many of your second set surpass anything I got in film SLR days. (It was expensive practising back then!)
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I've done this a handful of times and my success rate is roughly 1 in 50 right now. That's just for panning cleanly and getting a sharp car, nevermind other issues like framing. I'm usually firing 8-10fps bursts depending on the camera body. Getting the car or at least the focus point on the car dead sharp is key. Most of your shots are sadly in the failed category.

    I think it's easiest to find a longish straight, get a good vantage point, and follow the car with the camera for a few seconds before hitting the shutter button. The camera needs to track the car smoothly, and there's one other thing: there's a tendency at the beginning to slow down the pan when you hit the shutter. Don't do that. Gotta move smoothly. In fact, continue to follow the car after the burst has finished.

    Apart from that, you're also underexposing. I think a lot of these shots just plain missed focus as well.
  10. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    AF or MF?

    as far as focus goes, what seems to get the best results? S-AF, C-AF or MF?

    I've got an OMD, so I'm most interested in experience with CDAF...
  11. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I use MF, or S-AF and AF-lock. Tracking AF is unworkable, and even the fastest S-AF will be too late on a car. If you don't have mirror based PDAF on hand, it's better to prefocus (whether auto or manual) and know what your shot is going to be before you take it.
  12. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks so much for the feedback. I used some advise I read somewhere and it said to use very slow shutter speeds. I think I was shooting some at 1/50 and even slower... The location is crucial, I wish I could have gotten inside a curve. If I remember correctly, the great shot on 35mm I got of a Porsche 904 back in the early '60s was from the inside of a turn at the Chimney Rock Hill Climb...

    I really need to get there early and scout the place to get the best vantage. I too was wondering what focus mode to use. I think I shot most of the shots with the C-AF setting. It's definitely difficult to catch the moving cars in the straights. They go by extremely fast and fill the viewfinder faster than I can work the zoom... The other issue is that I really like to drive as well and in these situations, it's no good to mix the 2 activities.....
  13. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    I've always wanted to shoot some motorsports, but I never have an opportunity. However, I do practice the technique once in a while, just to have the skill and knowledge.

    You can get results with manual or auto focus. With AF I always use single not continuous. From your images I think first you need to set up your shot. Meaning frame your shot first, have a rough idea of where you want the car to be. Your framing is extremely tight, resulting in the car being cut out of the frame. Usually people want to see the whole car.

    This example is with a manual legacy lens (Minolta MC 100mm 2.5). I prefocused to a spot that I think the car will be in the frame. Then I "follow" the car through my viewfinder until it gets close to the spot. Fire off a few bursts, and you should get a keeper or two. Also, I used pretty low shutter speeds for that extra blurred background.
    <a href="" title="P1470833-1 by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8261950791_e376706962_b.jpg "1024" height="768" alt="P1470833-1"></a>

    This next one is with my PanaLeica 25mm. Same technique, except I wait to lock focus the very last second when the car comes into frame.
    <a href="" title="zoom by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 8076571355_2ea612fb4f_b.jpg "1024" height="768" alt="zoom"></a>

    Like others have said, it takes practice and even then, you will have a lot of missed shots.
  14. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    By the way, you can just go stand at the side of any random road and practice this.
  15. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Yep that's what I do!
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