Need help! Photography in the dark! (Dirt Track Racing)

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by keith204, May 20, 2007.

  1. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I took a job taking photos at a dirt track. The lighting there is terrible, and I need advice. (this problem comes into place after it gets dark outside)

    The problem: In about 1/2 the track, lighting is terrible. The only way I am able to achieve decent results, is to use my 70-200 lens in 2.8 aperture the whole time. In addition, 1600 ISO... When I hook up my flash, it works well, for about 1/3 of the track. The other 2/3 of the track is too far away, and the flash only lights up the dirt in the air...so my pictures end up 90% brown.

    Most of my pictures are F2.8, 1600, and 1/50 shutter.
    The 1/50 shutter is slow for taking pictures of speeding racecars. I use a monopod which eliminates up/down blurs.

    Restated: My best option, is to use 2.8, 1600 without a flash, with a monopod, and I acheive decent results on most of the track.

    **************
    I would like to be able to take faster pictures, so that I can get decent shots on ALL of the track. Any ideas? Good lenses, good settings, tips, etc?
    **************

    Here's what I own: Rebel XT, stock lens (i dont use it for this), a Sigma 70-200 2.8 DG HSM, a Canon 430EX flash.

    I tried a canon 17-85 IS lens, but i gave up on that real quick since at 85, the aperture is 5.6, causing a 1/13 shutter. Single-mode IS doesn't seem to help with fast-moving objects.
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    1/50th can make for some great panning shots, You can shoot at maybe 1/250th and bring up the exposure but that would give off ridiculous amounts of noise and you would lose detail.

    Or you can use a 35mm SLR and shoot with ISO 3200 or 6400 film.
     
  3. smyth

    smyth TPF Noob!

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    panning is an invaluable skill.

    also, a fast prime lens i.e f1.8 or faster might help... though i'm not sure how much of a difference one stop will make.
     
  4. DSLR noob

    DSLR noob TPF Noob!

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    Wow, tha tis why the new Id MK II can go up to ISO 64000......not liek you have $5000 for a camera body just laying around....... I don't really know how to help.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Even if I had or wanted a EOS 1D MkIII I wouldn't use it at that iso. It would look just as bad as any other camera.

    Keith do you ever wonder why you rarely see photos of race events at night? And if you do they are rarely sharp. Freezing action in the dark is impossible. Well it may be possible for purpose built cameras, but not for your average DSLR and even some above average ones.

    All I can suggest is grab a fast lens (f1.8) as above (note that this will mean no zooming as these are usually always fixed lenses). High ISO as you can stand the noise for (a badly formed sentence), and if that is not enough I will actually recommend giving up. Btw watch flash photography at race tracks, it can be dangerous.
     
  6. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    actually, your fastest option for a telephoto is the Nikkor 200mm f/2.0 VR.
     
  7. les_rokr

    les_rokr TPF Noob!

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    Ha, I'm finally starting to catch on to all this lens talk! :shock: lol
     
  8. elle

    elle TPF Noob!

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    I find it depends where you are in respect to the riders. I've taken a fair few photos at night on track, so I know your plight well. As for using the flash, I normally just say something to the guys before they race and if any of them have a problem with it I would try not to use the flash around them ( I havent had that problem yet though). Most of them seem to push it more around the corners and end up crashing because they are trying too hard to get a good shot for the photo.

    However as smyth and switch said, panning is invaluable in this situation
     
  9. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Great plan. I asked the track owner about it, but it would make sense to talk with the DRIVERS.

    However, I dont think I will worry about it, since the flash only causes problems with the dust. I may try upping my shutter speed a bit (just a bit) and upping my exposure. I hope to gain just a bit more speed, and lose barely any quality. Is anybody familiar with upping exposure?
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you have access to the light stands (poles) and the funds to do it, some Pocket Wizards and Metz 60s or Sunpak 622s might just work. You wouldn't have the full track covered but you would have zones of it (or a zone on the far side if you like). I say access to the light stands (poles) because you wouldn't want your equipment walking off and they should be high enough to not only be out of harms way but not blind the drivers.

    just a thought

    mike
     

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