Road Atlanta Photos

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Minister of Information, Aug 19, 2006.

  1. I will be attending the AMA races Labor Day weekend. Is there anyone here
    who has shot motorsports and motorcycle racing in particular who can share
    some insight or tips? I have a friend who will be racing that weekend so I
    expect to be able to get a hotpit pass and get about as up close and
    personal as possible.

    Hoping to come back with lots of "umbrella girl" photos and maybe even a
    couple of bike photos.
    Minister of Information, Aug 19, 2006
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  2. Minister of Information

    Mark W. Oots Guest

    I shot stock cars, midgets and road racing for about ten years. One of the
    best tips I can give you is to pre-focus on a spot on the track where a car
    or bike is likely to be when they come by. Then, begin panning with the
    vehicle before it gets there and a split second before the pre-focus point
    is reached, fire the shutter. Continue to pan as the camera fires to keep it
    in frame through the lag time of taking the pic.

    The best place to do this is at the apex of a corner. If you can get to the
    inside of the turn and stand at the center of the radius, it is a piece of

    One other hint, keep an eye on what's coming your way on the track. If you
    are close enough to the action to get a good frame of the racing, you are
    likely close enough to get smack by someone leaving the track on the inside
    of the turn. As soon as your fire the camera, snap your head back toward the
    action and see what else is coming along. Being on the inside of the turn
    helps, since anyone completely losing it mid-turn, will likely go off the

    If you can't get close to the action, just use a long lens and frame and
    shoot like any other action. Just keep your shutter speed up, unless you
    intend to show a lot of blur for effect.

    Apex of corners are easiest, followed by entrance/exit of corners. Straights
    are tuff, unless you are shooting down the track. Bikes passing you at 90
    degrees going 150+ MPH will be nearly impossible to shoot without tons of

    When you get back from the races, post some of the pics someplace so we can
    have a look.

    Mark W. Oots, Aug 19, 2006
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  3. You need to keep watch of shutter speed when photographing moving objects
    but still wish to convey the essence of speed., so shutter priority can be
    helpful. You don't want such high shutter speeds at to totally freeze all
    motion, background, rotating wheels, etc. I'd start around 1/320 sec and
    move up n and down given the specific situation. And work a lot on getting
    a smooth panning motion to obtained a blurred background. Practice,
    practice, practice.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Aug 19, 2006
  4. I guess I should have added this in my original post. I will be shooting
    with my K-M Maxxum 5D. I have the standard 18-70mm lens and also 70-300mm
    lens. Any suggestions of f stops are greatly appreciated. This is
    probably my 5th or 6th time going to this race. I have photographed before
    but this will be my first time with a dslr. The sun is usually bright
    throughout the whole time I am there. I will be going up on Friday to watch
    the practice laps and roam around the pits when all is not so hectic. That
    will give me time to practice tracking the bikes with the new camera and
    also give time to scout out the best spots to try to set up.

    I definitely will post some photos once I get back. Thanks for response.
    Minister of Information, Aug 19, 2006
  5. Minister of Information

    Frank ess Guest

    Sometimes you get lucky, applying the excellent advice from Mark and
    1983, I think. Wished it was Kodachrome rather than 'color. I just
    found a box of negatives; maybe it's in there and I can get a better
    scan than this one from a print.
    Frank ess, Aug 19, 2006
  6. Better than I did with the new monster 200-400 f/4 VR last Sat at VIR. For
    those who consider the 70-200 f/2.8 VR too big to carry around, it's not
    even a decent bicep training implement for this lens. :)

    Some of the better shots with some quick just EC applied in RSE, nothing
    really to write home about:
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Aug 19, 2006
  7. Minister of Information

    Jay Beckman Guest


    I had a chance to shoot a little practice at Watkins Glen last Saturday...

    Jay Beckman
    Chandler, AZ
    (Feel free to wander around my galleries...pretty eclectic...)
    Jay Beckman, Aug 19, 2006
  8. Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Aug 19, 2006
  9. Minister of Information

    Frank ess Guest

    Thanks to Ed and Jay. Those are two places it must be great to be
    doing it.
    Frank ess, Aug 19, 2006
  10. Minister of Information

    Jay Beckman Guest

    Jay Beckman, Aug 19, 2006
  11. Minister of Information

    Richard H. Guest

    Cool. Should be fun. Call in advance and see what it'll take to get
    close / out in the middle of the track (if they allow it).

    Some of my co-workers are into motocross, and I grabbed some shots a few
    weeks back. Better ones are here: They were all taken from the
    middle of the track, close to harm's way. :)

    I find that around 1/1250 (@ 100mm on a 70-300mm lens) is a good balance
    between freezing the bike & rider, but blurring the background and the
    spinning wheels. I prefer very low apertures for shallow depth of
    field. Use spot focusing to make the camera focus on the right subject,
    and use continuous-focus mode if your camera offers it.

    Find vantage points with interesting background. Grab a magazine and
    see what kinds of shots look best. Some favorites seem to be halfway
    through a corner, where the bike and rider are close to horizontal. Or,
    coming out of a corner on the high side, with a spray of dirt coming off
    the rear.

    Track the subject when you're pressing the shutter. This will blur the
    background, but freeze the subject like this:

    Hopefully you're shooting during the day. Find a shutter / aperture
    combination that works well and lock it in manually. You'll end up with
    some shot in the shadows that need to be lightened a bit, but it'll
    prevent dramatically bad exposures.

    It's a lot to swallow, I know. Pick a few points, try them, and build
    from there. Most importantly, have fun - realize that it's a constant
    learning process, and you've got to take a lot of shots to get a few
    really good ones.

    Richard H., Aug 19, 2006
  12. Minister of Information

    Richard H. Guest

    i.e., panned with the car, to freeze it and blur the spectators.

    So, where do you like to shoot around Chandler?

    I haven't done Nascar at PIR yet because it's a fair price to get in,
    then get the right access. I gather you're with a media team, so that's
    probably not a factor. :)

    Richard H., Aug 19, 2006
  13. Minister of Information

    no_name Guest

    Car sharp, people blurred.


    These are my views. If you've got a problem with it, you can blame it on
    me, but this is what I think. I am not the official spokes-person for
    any Government, Commercial or Educational institution.

    no_name, Aug 20, 2006

  14. First things first and I'm assuming you've never done this before so bare
    with me if I'm mistaken. Keep your eyes and ears open ALL the time. Even a
    motorcycle can cause serious injuries. My first time on pit road at Atlanta
    taught me that as a Kasey Kane crew man knocked me on my ass. He was very
    rude about it but had he not knocked me out of the way I would have been hit
    by the car.

    The rest is all very subjective. As always there are many ways to skin a
    cat. This is what I've found works with me.

    2) A piece if advice, don't get so caught up in shooting the racing that you
    forget about all the other action around the track. The people, the pits,
    the riders, the equipment, the track itself, all provide great photo opps.
    Keep your eyes open.

    3) That telephoto lens is your friend. I shoot mostly with a 70-200 or
    100-400 depending on the size of the track. I also use a 17-40 on a second
    body but to be honest it's not really used that much.

    4) Shutter Speed. As already stated the slower the shutter the more motion
    blur you get and the better the feeling of speed. The trade off can be
    sharpness of the subject. I'd start out with a fairly high speed say 1/500
    or even higher and then show the shutter down as you get more practice. I
    find that 1/200 provides a good sharp subject with plenty of motion blur.

    5) Panning, Good posture is important here IMO. Plant you feet and hold you
    arms in close. Move only with you torso.

    6) Focus and shooting. Lots of good advice give here already. I use the
    center focus point and AI Server or continuous focus. I will prefocus on a
    point but only to give the AF a bit of an advantage. Shoot in burst mode.
    I usually shoot off 3 to 5 in a burst.

    7) Metering. I usually shoot in TV mode using Partial metering. With my
    Canon that means the center 9% of the lens.

    I'm sure there's more but that all I can think of now. Here is my racing
    galleries. Feel free to look around.
    Look over the EXIF data.

    Most important thing is to have fun. And post some results. :)
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Aug 20, 2006

  15. Personally I find nothing wrong with the blurred car pics. Here's one of

    The trick is to watch the background for distractions. Or try to make the
    background tell the story or be a part of the story.
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Aug 20, 2006

  16. Cool shot Jay, how'd you find the time? Shouldn't you have been in some
    production truck? ;-)

    I'll be in Bristol this coming weekend and then Richmond. Unfortunately, I
    can't get into the pits at Bristol but I'll be there at Richmond. Should be
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Aug 20, 2006
  17. Neither do I, but the folks in the background on the OP's shot cited didn't
    strike me. Your shot on the other hand does. As always just my opinion,
    which isn't worth much.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Aug 20, 2006
  18. Minister of Information

    Richard H. Guest

    Excellent point. One idea is to take someone as a spotter, both to help
    spot the specific riders as you setup the shots, and to help watch your

    Ah yes, another good point here... motorcycles + dirt track = fine
    airborne dust. It's a good idea to leave the lens on the body the whole
    time. And dust the camera with canned air before removing the lens later.

    Richard H., Aug 20, 2006
  19. Minister of Information

    Frank ess Guest

    Frank ess, Aug 20, 2006
  20. Man do I miss Riverside!!!! Great pics Frank. I love looking at old pics
    and old film of any auto racing. I guess that assumes that 1983 is "old".
    ;-) I have the last Winston Cup race at Riverside on tape. Every so often
    I take it out to reminisce.

    Love the pic of Newman in the 84 gallery. What a mess... short shorts and
    yellow socks. ;-)
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Aug 20, 2006
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