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Thread: motorsport photgraphy - tips for newbies please!

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    motorsport photgraphy - tips for newbies please!

    In a few weeks I to Wakefield Park to see a few mates in action. Wouldn't mind taking some photos but shooting motorsport is all new to me. So throw me your best general tips please! Will try and take some static shots and would also like some motion shots, rounding corners etc. Cheers...Scott

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    I haven't done a lot, Speed on Tweed one year and a historic racecars meet (they are on my Zenfolio gallery) but I found corners are your friend as there is often action on a corner and things happen there!

    Take lots of batteries, cards and a monpod is good as your hands get tired holding a heavy camera all day. Enjoy!
    Odille

    “Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky”

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    I'm not very familiar with Wakefield Park - I've only been there once so I can't recommend a good location to try shooting from and I'm only a photography beginner, so take all this with a handful of salt!

    Choose a slow corner - the slower the corner, the easier it is to take the pic.
    Watch where the bikes come around the corner, then manually focus on that spot, panning until the bike hits the spot, then take the pic, while continuing to follow the bike. Auto-focus can muck you up big time, especially if you're taking a pic through a fence, but even if you aren't - it just can't always keep up with the bike speed.
    I think the smaller the depth of field (low f number), the better, as I like to try to pan and get the bike sharp and the background blurred, to imply fast speed.
    I usually experiment between full manual and shutter priority, so I can play with different 'looks' but also get some solid pics with the faster shutter speeds and not worry so much about the aperture.
    Tripod / monopod is good. Very good.
    If in doubt - just take the pic. Sometimes I've taken good pics, even when I know the camera settings weren't quite how I wanted them, but I took it anyway, rather than missing out completely and sometimes you'll get a pleasant surprise

    Also take a look at: http://www.aus-superbikes.com.au/
    They have a Formula Xtreme ride day section that has a bunch of pics from Wakefield Park. You may get ideas of angles, locations, types of pics, etc from there.

    Most importantly - have fun!
    Nikon D70s / Nikkor 18-70mm / Nikkor 12-24mm / Tamron 90mm macro / SB600

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    Hi I do shoot a lot of motorsport There are no rules on camera settings Bikes and cars are very different and access makes a big difference.
    Settings for cars that I use as a starting point.
    SHUTTER PRIORITY 1/200th - 1/80th depending on speed of subject.
    ISO as low as you can go Keeping the shutter speed where you want it and keeping your lens as close to it's sweet spot (stopped down 2 stops usual).
    AUTO FOCUS ON tracking mode (Al servo on Canon) If camera and lens can not keep up better than you can get a new one unless you are a super human.
    DRIVE on continuous.
    If shooting up to 200mm hand hold 300 mm + Mono pod (leave the try pod home)
    If you are using kit lens or light 300 mm hand hold is possible at this length.
    Motor bikes.
    Same as above but use faster shutter speed's 1/320 - 1/80.
    You will find in good light auto focus will work very well and in pore light good (back light will affect your auto focus speed as well, or it dose mine).
    Keeper rates will be low 4 in 10 would be a very good result in very good conditions and it dos not get any better because you will get fussier.
    All that said I will use totally different setting depending on the look I'm after and the conditions.
    Position selection is a big thing. Things to keep in mind Back ground, Light, Obstructing others view and the big one your SAFETY.
    Last edited by atky; 12-05-2009 at 3:43pm.
    Thanks Steve
    Winer of the sheep week 2 + 6
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    All advice so far much appreciated! I am going to try and practise some panning of general street traffic before I go so hopefully I have some idea of what to try!

    Given that this will be my first attempt I am sure my keeper rate will be minimal but I guess I have to start somehwre and the experience will be good. I'm hoping for decent weather so at least something will be in my favour!

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