[24h race] I need advice (racing team photography)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by hadoq, May 15, 2009.

  1. hadoq

    hadoq TPF Noob!

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    Hello, so here we are, I've been chosen to be a Racing Team photographer during the 24h of nurburgring Racing event. I really want to come with great photos for the team and for myself.

    so here's my equipement

    Nikon D80 with standard Nikon Lenses (18/55 VR and 55/200 VR, standard nikon) and a tripod.

    The race will begin Saturday, and will last for 24 hours.

    So here's my "pre-plan"

    - Get there as early as possible to catch the general mood, cars prep, people excitement etc... Also I plan to be around during the cars line up -200+ cars-

    - Then probably wander abit around the pitlane

    - then I guess I want some action shots so I'll spend the afternoon around the track (lots of photo spots) until the light goes away.

    - I'll probably spend the night in the pitlane, I might be focusing on people photography there and a few action shots (refueling, tire changing etc...)

    - I'll stick there until the end of the race



    So I need some advice here, this is my very first time and I know I don't have the ideal equipement for (easy) night photography. I'm very excited about it but I would like to have other people's advice and shared experience.

    how would you do it ?

    if I want to get nice action shots during the night, there'll be plenty of light I guess, but probably no ideal lighting.

    should I go for higher isos, work with the tripod mixed with mid-isos and medium sutter speeds.

    I'm not very good in night photography but there will be some nice shots to be taken and I don't want to miss any.

    so I'll take any advice on this

    thank you !
     
  2. JE Kay

    JE Kay TPF Noob!

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    You lucky bast$#d!! :mrgreen:

    You need to go and rent some better lenses, hell see if you can rent a D700 or D3. You'll need faster glass than what you have, and longer as well. If you want great quality and the ability to shoot what and when you want during the race rent 'pro' equipment. :thumbup:

    The D80 will not handle it very well. I have a D80, my GF's dad uses it now, I tried it for some sprint car racing, not nearly fast enough, it's not designed for action/sports photography.

    Hope you get it sorted out and get great shots. Seriously spend the money on rentals if you can or maybe borrow if you can. ;)
     
  3. Alerick

    Alerick TPF Noob!

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    I agree the D80 does not have umpf to be shooting races. I was on a formula racing team in college and our photographer was using a D2x and a D1 for backup. Your lense needs to have IF glass and you will probably want to bring a circular polarizer filter and UV filter. Rent an awesome settup and have your D80 for backup.

    Walk around the track as soon as you get there. Imagine what the cars are going to look like in the race and try and find geat shooting points. There is usually plenty of time to capture the pitt and the audience so focus on a gameplan for the track. If you are shooting an oval track its no big deal but if it is formula or rally, it might take some time:).
     
  4. Alerick

    Alerick TPF Noob!

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    night time is a great time to take shots but I found out the hard way that higher isos can ruin night shots when the area is well lit.

    your shutter speed is going to depend on the type of shot you want to do. For example, if you have a bend that pulls into a straight away and you have a good amount of lighting. You could tripod the camera perpendicular to the car and, by remote, shoot a slower shutter; giving you some awesome motion streaks.

    When I did night shots at the football stadium I thought that I would need to up my iso and shoot on a tripod. Found out that there was plenty of lighting. It would have been wise of me to check out the field before hand and figured out what equipment I did and did not need.
     
  5. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    The D80 is perfectly capable of getting good shots. You just might have to work a little more for them.

    You will find that the 18-55mm is pretty much useless unless you are right up on top of the cars. It will however be useful for behind the scenes shots in the pits.

    The 55-200mm will be on your camera most of the time. During the day, run it in aperture priority mode. At about f/11 or so. Watch the shutter speed...if its in bright daylight it will probably be around 1/1000 or higher in some spots, which should freeze just about anything. You will probably be working at the max range of the lens somewhere between 130-200mm. So use the VR if your handheld, and steady things up. Practice your panning technique real well. Hold it steady.
    Id use center-weighted metering, and meter off the car itself. Continous shutter mode, so you can snap off a string if needed.

    Ive shot jets flying at 500mph using a D60 and a 55-200mm lens handheld at 200mm without the VR, and if its good enough for that, it will definatly capture a car going slower.
     
  6. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually, this is the opposite of what you want to do. Sure it'll freeze anything at that shutter speed, including the wheels. Nothing sexier than a race car looking like it's sitting still in the middle of a track.. *j/k* I'm sure that's great for jets though.

    What you want to do is use shutter priority and set it for a low-ish shutter speed, maybe 1/100-1/200 depending on how fast the cars are going, and pan as the cars pass. What this is going do is give you motion blur on the background and wheels so you'll get that feeling of speed. Do a couple test shots to see what works since you'll have 24hours of cars zooming by.
     
  7. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    At 1/100th of a second, the car will have moved over 3ft. Unless your panning technique is very well developed, you probably wont get tack sharp images. While it will give you the motion blur as bhop suggested, you might have a difficult time getting clear shots. Try it and see what works for you.

    Some other tips....
    Bring earplugs!
    Im assuming since you are a team photographer, you will have photographers access to the track. BE VERY CAREFUL. Keep your eyes on the cars at all times. It can be very dangerous near the barricades.
    Take a camelbak with water. Its easy to be paying attention to taking photos, and not to your body.
     
  8. CanonSnob

    CanonSnob TPF Noob!

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    try some high ISO panning shots into heavy breaking spots. While the high ISO will give you more light to work with, it will also create a grainy aesthetic. The panning will also allow for longer shutter speeds and give you even more light. Plus under heavy breaking you will get the glow of the callipers.
     
  9. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    i just did a track day event.
    first wear a good set of shoes, you are going to be on your feet ALL day, and its a hell of a lot of walking around the Ring, even if you are able to get shuttle lifts to certain areas of the track. It's an 8 minute track, with a lot of elevation.

    Second, speak to media relations and find out if you will be on the track, if there is anything you need to be wearing. Usually a bright traffic cop vest is a good thing to be wearing. Your safety is paramount, and the cars will be moving FAST. Something that looks like its a long way away can be on you before you blink.

    Third, get a good backpack for your gear, you are going to be lugging stuff around a lot, and the ring is a BIG track even if you just stay in the new portion of it near pit lane.

    I shot over 16GB in 4 hours, so have lots of memory. You kind of get set up in one spot and its non-stop cars coming round a corner so it becomes a click fest.
    Corners are great spots to show speed. Especially if you can capture them loading the suspension. While shooting the cars on the straights is okay...you aren't able to capture as much. FInding the passing spots and the heavy braking spots is key. At the ring the Ring the first corner in the stadium area thats the hairpin would be a perfect place to set up shop. YOu will have cars at full speed under hard braking trying to pass as they dive down into the turn. You will get a lot of good shots there. When the cars are going fast they look like they are standing still in photos. When they are going slow they are in heavy braking or turning and you get a lot more action out of the car through body roll and such.

    [​IMG]

    It's really handy to have 2 bodies, one with your telephoto and the tripod attached, the other with either a wide angle or 17-55mm range. I borrowed my buddies D90 and took it with me. Spare batteries are kinda a given. Stuff happens so quickly you go to change lenses and you miss things.

    Pit lane is a great place to catch action, but if you are in the lane itself you have to be VERY careful. There is so much going on, cars darting in and out, you need to be aware of whats going on at all times. Watch for air hoses for the air jacks....they can sneak up on you.

    Check out my flickr page here: Cars - a set on Flickr

    i'm still processing shots, takes so long to go through stuff and I had a lot of throwaways.

    IF i did it again i would shoot at a lower ISO than I did. I was shooting at 800 and it created too much grain when i wanted to zoom in on shots. It's always easier to be zoomed out a little bit, take the photo somewhere in the turn, and then in post zoom in and crop it where you want it. Problem is when you have too much grain it gets difficult. I found 400 and 200 were more than adequete to capture sharp images in brigh sunlight.

    I would have also bought and borrowed more memory. I chewed through it like you wouldn't believe. Had to start limiting shots, and eventually end early because I didn't have enough.
     
  10. In2daBlue

    In2daBlue TPF Noob!

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    Pan. Pan. Pan. Did I mention you should pan?
     
  11. hadoq

    hadoq TPF Noob!

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    thanks for all the advice, it all went well ^^
     
  12. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Gonna share some pics?
     

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