Sports photography at night

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by Daniel Lewis, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. Daniel Lewis

    Daniel Lewis Guest

    Hi everyone,

    Went to the go-kart track with my brother tonight, and, both being
    novices, could not work out how to take good shots of moving objects in
    a relatively well-lit area at night. (Taking motionless shots yielded
    well-lit pics, but moving object were the problem).

    We tried increasing ISO sensitivity, flash (object too far away),
    lowest f-number we had (1/2.8) and the shutter needed to be open far
    too long in order to have enough light, but, being moving objects, the
    slow shutter speed meant blurred images.

    Any suggestions? We were using the Panasonic FZ20 with 12x optical
    zoom. Not a DSLR yet, but we are working our way up!

    Daniel Lewis, Apr 2, 2005
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  2. Daniel Lewis

    paul the 2nd Guest

    Its a money thing. Buy a canon 20D (or better) Dslr & a 85mm f/1.2 L lens &
    you will bring 'em in like a laser. You just need a faster shutter & thus
    higher ISO (with lower noise) & a faster lens.
    paul the 2nd, Apr 2, 2005
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  3. Daniel Lewis

    Nige Guest

    agreed. Although, you can make the movement work for you.

    Last time I tried this I used Delta 3200 B&W @ EI1600 and some 400iso
    colour print film. It was pretty dark... my notes say I exposed the
    3200 at 1/60th @ f2.8 and 1/15 @ f4-f5.6. This pic
    ( was 1/15th @
    f4 or thereabouts.

    The colour ones were very hit-n-miss... and out of the roll I think I
    got 2 or 3 half decent ones. Couple uploaded at

    Since you're shooting digital, experiment! Maybe use a monopod (or
    tripod as a monpod) to limit vertical wobbles. This would keep the
    blurs going in the direction of travel. Pan by setting your feet in
    position so that you can swivel you hips to follow the action, keeping
    you shoulders, head and the camera all moving as one.

    I personaly wouldn't use flash unless organised beforehand with club
    officials. Having raced karts at night, bright flashs into ones eyes
    would be rather distracting and probably affect the pilots sight. One
    good thing is you can get right up to the edge of the track barriers
    which puts you pretty close.

    Cheers, Nige
    Nige, Apr 3, 2005
  4. Daniel Lewis

    werdan Guest

    If you try to 'capture' a go-kart dead in it's tracks, it will look like
    it's just parked in the middle of the track.

    Try panning your shots. Here's a tutorial I found with google to save myself
    typing one out :)

    Also, if you can manually pre-focus on a point on the track and click the
    shutter (allowing for shutter lag) so that it fires when the kart is at that
    point, your shots should look great.
    werdan, Apr 3, 2005
  5. Daniel Lewis

    Derek Guest

    I'd like to see you lock focus on a moving vehicle with a
    much as it's a fantastic portrait lens, it's focus speed sucks for sports.
    Derek, Apr 4, 2005
  6. Daniel Lewis

    VS Guest

    [top posting reformatted]

    Hi Derek,
    I believe Paul meant to say that you should a) switch to manual focus,
    then b) pre-focus on a section of the track, then c) allowing for the
    shutter lag, release the shutter just before carts hit the section
    you've focused on. With a bit of luck and a lot of practice, you can get
    great photos that way.

    I disagree completely that getting great photos trackside is all a money
    thing; expensive equipment doth not a master make.


    VS, Apr 4, 2005
  7. Daniel Lewis

    HC Guest

    G'day Daniel

    I agree with what has been advised about panning, it's something you'll
    get used to and with digital you can afford to do lots of practising.
    Back in the bad old days it became very expensive, but still doable.

    Personally I've found at speedway that a tripod will result in camera
    shake (through the ground) so now I only do handheld....although I'm
    presuming that karts might not give the same tremor effect that comes
    from sprintcars (being more powerful and heavier). Handheld makes it
    much easier to swing back quickly for an on-track incident too.

    My preferred lens is either 75-300 USM or 70-200 f4 L series, never use
    flash. If you care to email me direct (replacing the obvious) I can
    steer you to some photos that might help.

    happycamper_au AT yahoo DOT com DOT au

    Bronwyn ;-)

    HC, Apr 4, 2005
  8. Daniel Lewis

    Henrik Tived Guest

    Hi Daniel,

    alternative lenses are Canon 135L f/2 which would be nice. and if you got
    the cash and can find it the 200mm f/1.8L.

    For the record, then the 85mm f/1.2L is used for sport, especially for
    indoor sport! No one says you have to use Autofocus!

    the trick is always work within your limitations! usually it is our
    abilities and the budget that limits us the most :)

    good luck Henrik
    Henrik Tived, Apr 4, 2005
  9. Daniel Lewis

    Henrik Tived Guest


    You could also use the much cheaper Canon 50mm f/1.4 which would you an 80mm
    f/1.4 FOV and this is a very nice little lens!

    Henrik Tived, Apr 4, 2005
  10. Daniel Lewis

    paul the 2nd Guest

    Wow..thanks...didnt know i would have to break it all down. My coment re $
    was that a DSLR & fast lens is not a cheap option but will do the job WITH
    added skills. Man whats with all the anal retentives in here ?
    paul the 2nd, Apr 4, 2005
  11. Daniel Lewis

    paul the 2nd Guest

    Good point !

    paul the 2nd, Apr 4, 2005
  12. Daniel Lewis

    Michael Guest

    one thing I need to suggest that's more important than taking a photo!

    Under no circumstances use a flash for any night time sport involving
    motor racing of any kind. whether it be professional or novice.

    the flash will distract the driver/rider and can cause accidents if
    the flash is close or is very bright, (ie SLR external).

    Don't use a flash, I have seen (from the drivers point of view) for my
    self the damage it can do!!!!
    Michael, Apr 26, 2005
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