My New Year’s Resolution 2020 – Motorsports with m4/3

Kae1

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Confession time. I’ve been to over twenty motorsport events this year and have about 20,000 photos to prove it!.

I have to admit that, for me, 2019 has been a year of concentrating more on the equipment which I’ve been using for motorsports rather than the output. The jpeg images are just for my own pleasure and I only view photos on my monitor except when once a year I produce monthly and weekly calendars for the following year. I must have taken over 50,000 images this year and have imported about 20,000 to my hard drive. Selecting the best from 20,000 images to narrow down to less than 100 was therefore a bit of a challenge. Especially as I don’t rate the photos as I go and I normally just leave the images SOOC, then tweak the selected 100 using Photoshop Elements prior to getting them printed.

What shocked me for this year’s calendar was that three of the images I chose were using the Olympus 14-150 mk1,
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and three were with the Olympus 70-300mm including one using the ETC setting on my G80.
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Consequently the penny has sunk in that getting images that please me doesn’t necessarily rely on lusting after PRO level equipment but technique and using what you’ve got available at the time plus a bit of editing when you get home.

So my first New Year’s Resolution is no more equipment but to use what I’ve got. If I want a challenge then I’ll just use one of my current lenses and see what I can do with that. Although I love a bargain, since this year’s Black Friday I’ve so far managed to not be tempted and hope to stick to it in 2020.

My second resolution is to edit the images after each meeting before I save them to disk. Whilst I delete the clearly out of focus and not wholly in frame images before I import to my hard disk, I’m afraid to admit that I’ve still imported way too many photos this year. I’ve also noticed that even a little bit of post processing works wonders. This is where I could do with a bit of advice.

As I see it doing what I currently do isn’t that sensible. I’d be better importing to Elements, editing after each meeting, review the edited images (as there’s bound to be similar shots) and then delete the unwanted edited images before ending up with around 100 final images per meeting. However, to edit potentially 1,000 images then review and compare within Elements to delete potentially 900 is not going to be that easy!

Has anyone got a work around which they’d like to share? or even recommend another programme that would do what I need? A batch editor? Any suggestions would be welcome.

….. and if you’ve got to here, all the best for 2020.
 

wjiang

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I delete before editing. With wildlife I too often end up with hundreds of shots after a session. I do a quick cull using FastStone (it has a useful 4-up compare view for this). It does support basic edits but I'm not sure you can do batch. Because I shoot raw, I 'edit' in ACR which does allow cloning adjustments between images.
 

Bagrphotography

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Photo Mechanics v6.

I am saving my $$ for it ($230AUD)

You can ingest from the card to PC AND tag with IPTC data AND only import the images you actually want. ( I haven't done that yet).

But so much faster to go through thousands of images. ( I can go through 15k+ images from one meeting alone (admittedly they are multi-day events ; ) , and it can (does/did) suck to go through Adobe Bridge)

There are limitations, however, but there is a month free trial available for you to ascertain what those limits are.

Looking at the first image with the Civic and (Focus? Fiesta?), I see that you are at f6.3. And yep, most of the time I would shoot (larger aperture) with the 40-150mm f2.8, but the f2.8 allows for faster shutter speed when 'face-on/tail facing'.

I admit to never having tried the ETC on my G85. Care to give a run-down?

Nice NYE resolution. (pun intended)
 

Kae1

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Thank you both for your suggestions - I'll do some research.

Regarding the use of ETC, the best article I came across which explained it was this one :-
https://www.jasondimichele.com/blog/2016/10/16/free-14x-and-2x-teleconverters-for-lumix-users

I suppose the main downside is the loss of resolution. My monitor is 16:10 so I choose to shoot using 16:9 rather than 4:3 or 3:2 so my monitor fills with the image albeit that the resolution of my images would be only 12mb. When you shoot using the Ex Teleconverter you have to change the resolution from high to medium and the consequently the final image is only about 8mb at 16:9. However at 16:9 it does give you the effect of a 1.4 times teleconverter.

I only use it when the focal length of the lens which I have with me isn't long enough, but haven't compared whether it's best to crop the image or use the in camera ETC. Give it a go and see what you think.
 
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I delete before editing. With wildlife I too often end up with hundreds of shots after a session. I do a quick cull using FastStone (it has a useful 4-up compare view for this). It does support basic edits but I'm not sure you can do batch. Because I shoot raw, I 'edit' in ACR which does allow cloning adjustments between images.

Well, well, well. Never heard of the 4 up in Faststone. I have now and just looked at it and found it. Funny, I've been using it for years for exactly the same thing, fast culling before LR and it has useful other features. So a huge thanks for that and IMO, extremely useful. ;)

All the best and a happy new year down there.

Danny.
 

Kae1

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I need to endorse the thanks, wjiang. I've just downloaded FastStone and the 4 image comparison is just what I need. As well as culling before editing I think I'll be using it to save a bit of hard drive space before next season's motorsport starts in the UK!
 

Kae1

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Thanks barry13. Just downloaded XnViewMP and am now spoilt for choice! Seems to also have a batch edit function which would be something else to explore. Well happy :dance3:
 

wjiang

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I'm liking XnViewMP. There's a similar 1-4 compare tool, but unlike FastStone, the histogram shows independent RGB channels, and the application is properly aware of associated RAW+JPEG+XMP files, managing them as a group for deletes, moves and renames which is pretty awesome. You can also select the images to compare once in compare view, whereas with FastStone you had to go back to the browser to change the selection (after delete, for instance).
 
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barry13

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Thanks barry13. Just downloaded XnViewMP and am now spoilt for choice! Seems to also have a batch edit function which would be something else to explore. Well happy :dance3:
Yeah, I occasionally use that for a batch B&W export, as there doesn't seem to be a B&W preview in it.

BTW, I don't use XnView MP as a full DAM; I've found DigiKam to be far more powerful, but it's too slow for mass culling imo. I posted a review of DigiKam and compared it to XnView MP in the reviews section here.
 

Kae1

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Now we are already over four months into 2020, it's probably a good time to open my soul and provide an update on how I'm getting on with my New Year's Resolutions.
Whilst I've only been to one motorsport event before lockdown, I have some 20,000 images from 2019 to work through, so have been sticking to my resolutions (apart from the purchase of an Olympus 8-18 which doesn't really count) and reviewing my skills! Thanks to
XnView MP is free and very fast.
I am happily comparing similar photos, deleting the not in focus ones and processing what's left with Elements & Topaz Adjust. This process has allowed me (a Silly Old Hector) to learn such a lot about my gear too. With a bit of editing (I expected in camera adjustments to do everything) I can see that, whilst not Pro level, some of my current equipment does provide me with better images than I'd thought. Whilst I wouldn't have saved thousands of pounds in gear "transactions" I could've saved several hundreds on my GAS. At some point I will post some of last year's edited images when I get further into 2019 as there won't be much new motorsports for quite a while for us to share.
However, what the process to date has highlighted is either a lack of technique or expecting too much from my equipment on more than a couple of occasions. The following three images taken with my Panasonic g80 and 100-400 are from a burst of probably 6 (three having already been deleted) and probably illustrate both a lack of technique and high expectations.
I think the first one will have been my attempt to get no 34 in focus at the same, or more acute, angle as no 95 is in the second shot but will have been out of focus so was deleted.
This second shot has the back bike in focus (could this be back bike focusing?) but the front one missing focus, which will probably be cropped to just show no 95.
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The third was deleted so presumably both out of focus, or bike positioning not good.
The forth has good bike positioning but neither bike in focus
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The last one has 34 in perfect focus, but a bit missing, and not an ideal bike position.
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The first lesson is to shoot in 4:3 rather than 16:9 if I'm going to edit later but what else should I be doing?
It's clear that my camera isn't going to cope with the changes in acceleration and deceleration of the bikes between corners, but would any camera or camera lens combo?
Should I just be concentrating on one corner or the other? In the olden days of 35mm manual focus I would have stuck to one corner, a single shot and hoped. Have I become lazy?
Although I won't be able to practice anything, any comments or tips would be more than welcome and give me the chance to make another resolution.
Stay safe!
 

Bagrphotography

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Whilst I am not pro, perhaps look to the eyes of the riders - are they or the helmets in focus?

Could a composition change work in regards to some cropping and rotating the image one way or another to get something working?
 

Kae1

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perhaps look to the eyes of the riders

Thanks Bagrphotography for you suggestions.
My track record is that it is more by luck than skill for me to be able to focus on the eyes or helmets. I only manage to get eyes in focus on very few occasions ... various dark tints in visors or strong light not directly in front seem to be challenges. I agree that if I could get it right then it would certainly improve the impact of the photo. It will be worth trying and maybe a smaller focus point too when racing resumes. 🤞
I have also just recently started, for me, "creative" cropping and angles too, which does allow different types of images. I thought I had to do it SOOC which was incredibly hard to do.
Here's one set of eyes that I did manage to capture.
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This one was salvaged from another image.
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I suppose it would be easier if eyes were just a bit bigger ;)
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Bagrphotography

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Nice 'saves'.

I try to get it right in camera as much as possible, to be able to go SOOC, but I now shoot raw+jpg or raw only. Why? I found that I wasn't able to really salvage some of the jpgs that came out right BUT the exposure/highlights were blown, or the intentional underexposure didn't allow for much pulling back in the shadows without banding. Dammit.

But if you compare your crops that you 'made' above, vs the actual images you shot - are YOU happy with how they now appear? Is there the action, excitement, colour that you recall? If so, then fantastic and job done. :D
 

Kae1

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Ken
I’ve read today that it is possible that UK motorsport could be open to spectators in July so I’m a bit excited. It’s probably too soon to write an end of year report, as there will probably be a second spike and further lockdown, so this is more of an interim “what has lockdown taught me about my motorsport photography”.
  1. First of all editing does work. It does improve SOOC images even with “kit” lenses. Less editing is required with better lenses but even then a bit of editing improves the image. It can also add impact to an image.
  2. Editing has shown to me that I have been taking a lot of very similar pictures and need to be a bit more adventurous. I now have the tools to compare images and select the best shots for editing. Whilst I have been happy to edit 400+ images from a single meeting during lockdown I need to be more selective when we get back to normal. With hindsight I was trying to compare images from different equipment rather than thinking about how I wanted the finished image to appear.
  3. I need to use my equipment to the full and shouldn’t expect my cameras to do everything for me. I was certainly expecting too much from the CAF of the cameras I own. If I only want/need one shot from a sequence then I should concentrate on shorter bursts rather than three images before I want the final image and a similar number after. I don’t think I have enough confidence to go single shot but shorter bursts are worth a try. I have also produced some nice (to me) images with manual focus where I’ve not been able to track the car/ bike.
  4. Obviously there have been exceptions, but as a rule it is easier to get a zoomed out image to be sharp and in focus rather than a zoomed in one. Whilst a higher shutter speed can work if you've zoomed in, there is less impression of speed. Editing later on zoomed out images can also improve positioning and add impact.
  5. Photography during lockdown for me has mainly been birds, bees and flowers but it has re-taught me about exposure settings and how a bit of exposure tweaking can change the impact of the image.
So I am raring to go and get to some meetings in 2020 and see whether my home schooling was worth it!.
 

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