View Full Version : Advice on shooting pix @ car race

06-19-2007, 10:02 PM
Hi - I have an olympus digital SLR and will be attending my first Indycar race soon. I'm really excited - longtime indycar fan, first time going to a race rather than watching it on tv.

Any tips on getting great shots of automobiles that are running around a track at over 200 mph?

06-19-2007, 10:56 PM
Which lenses are you bringing? Will you have pit access?

My first tip would be to go out to a busy street and practice panning for a bit. Like shooting anything you need to learn to lead a bit, not stop when you press the shutter and don't press so hard that you move the camera vertically. In open wheel and cockpit races try to focus on the driver when panning. Prefocus on the spot that you expect the car to be at when you will snap the shutter.

On a road course try to find a corner where you can see the car headed directly towards you at the Apex of the turn. The car will be moving relatively slowly in relation to you at that position and you can generally get a sharp image. Even for these shots prefocus and follow the car to the focus point. Trying to anticipate the car moving into your camera's field of view will lead to a lot of missed shots or rear wheels only ones.

For a good effect when panning pick a fairly slow shutter speed, less than 1/250 on a straight and lower on slow curves, this will give you some blurred motion in your image to help convey the sense of speed. If the new camera is an E-510 set the IS to mode 2 so it only corrects for vertical movement when panning.

06-20-2007, 05:01 AM
Additionally you may try the article "How to Take Action Shots" (http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5141)

06-21-2007, 08:45 PM
Thanks for the replies so far.

I read the article about to take action shots and learned a lot from it and from the replies here. Please forgive a "newbie", but what is panning?

The lenses I have are the 14-45mm and the 40-150mm that came with the two-lens package Oly offered when the e-300 was a fairly new product.

I have been thinking about buying a four-thirds adapter from oly and then buying a longer lens. Any thoughts about the adapter and/or what lens length might be best for Indycar racing? (fyi - one of my other favroite "genres" of subjects is waterfowl, who tend to be a bit shy - sometimes the 40-150 @ max zoom isn't enough to capture the little buggers, so any advice would be welcome)

06-21-2007, 08:50 PM
Oh and about access, it's looking like I may have pit access before the race (Cold Pit?) and garage access. Wow this is sounding like it's gonna be a lot of fun.

06-21-2007, 09:40 PM
Panning is when you follow the subject as it moves through your field of view. Generally you are trying to keep a fast moving subject still in your viewfinder. With race cars this can still require fairly high shutter speeds 1/500 or higher if your goal is a sharp subject. However, using a slower shutter speed adds some motion blur for effect.

You do not need a 4/3's adapter to use any 4/3 lens on your camera. There are a variety of 4/3's adapters that will let you use older Olympus OM lenses as well as Nikon or Canon, etc. When attached to the adapter the lens will be a full manual lens; both focus and aperture.

For auto racing 150-200 (300-400 in 35mm) range can be more than adequate depending on how far you are from the track. for wildlife you are likely to want a longer lens.

06-21-2007, 09:52 PM
A panning sample and a fun night shot.