Shooting moving cars

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by LeftRightLeft, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. LeftRightLeft

    LeftRightLeft TPF Noob!

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    So my buddy wants me to take some shots of his car while its in motion. He wants a shot where the car looks still but the background is blurred. I've seen many shots like this and was wondering how I go about it.
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Smoothly pan with the car. Try different shutter speeds until you find one which provides the 'correct' degree of blur.
     
  3. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Been there, done that. With film, Hasselblad on tripod. And with 35 mm SLR, unsupported. With a good stance you can do it with a dSLR without tripod as well. It's like Torus says. Pick a bright day and set your cam's sensitivity at 100 ISO or whatever is its lowest setting. Best way to do it is to let your buddy drive the car a continuous 35/40 mph in a perfect circle (ideally around a roundabout). You stand in the exact middle of that circle, plant your feet firmly on the ground, and pan smoothly tracking the car while exposing at 1/30th, 1/15th and 1/10th second (shutterspeed priority; let the aperture take care of itself).
    Twisting your upper body you'll only be able to track the car part of the circle. That's OK. You can 'pick him up' again when he comes around again.
    Your buddy must be prepared to drive dozens and dozens of those circles. The more, the better. It may be boring as hell, but it's neccessary if he wants his blurred photos. And you must be prepared to track, pan and expose all those times. The more, the better.
    Make only one careful exposure per circle. If you fire off a number of frames consecutively, all of those will be jarred, thus useless duds. So save yourself the trouble (and dissappointment).

    It ain't easy to get a good exposure. But it can be done with care and patience.
     
  4. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Man I get dizzy just reading that.

    There was an article in Popular Photography last month about this where someone screwed a 2 x 4 into their bumper and had it extend about 2 feet past the side of the car. They then attached a tripod head to it and tied it back to the grill of the car for stability.

    If you wanted to do something like that you could get some easy shots with the timer and a remote (depending on camera) but then again... the idea of having my camera on a peice of wood hanging out the side of my car makes me cringe. I'm sure I'd be the guy who'd forget about the camera being there and try to roll through a BK Drive-Thru with it.
     
  5. dsp921

    dsp921 TPF Noob!

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    Panning is the typical way to get this type of shot, but maybe you could get another person to drive you along side your buddy's car and shoot from that car. You'll still want to use slower shutter speeds so the wheels blur and to ensure you have enough background blur. I've seen some pretty nice shots taken from a chase vehicle. Might be easier and quicker than learning to pan.
     
  6. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    I said it ain't easy, didn't I? To get this shot in the can is not a matter of seconds, or even a couple minutes. It may take an hour or more! So, when you and your buddy have done 3 dozen circles/exposures, take a breather. And a cup of coffee. Relax. Then start again.
     
  7. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    How hard do you think it is to nail this technique? I've heard it used for a ton of situations and I think the shots look amazing when done well but from what I've heard it's a VERY hard technique to really master. Have you had any luck? How long did it take and do you have any tips for learning it faster?

     
  8. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Am I detecting a change here? From the above, it seems as if taking an hour to get a good print is viewed today as something of a hassle. I've heard that Adams would wait for many hours just to get the right cloud formation in a landscape.
     
  9. rmh159

    rmh159 TPF Noob!

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    Where's the instant gratification in that???? When I get paid to take pics I'll stop bitching about spinning in circles for an hour. :lol:

     
  10. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Great nature photographers will dedicate months to get that one, brilliant shot of e.g. an albatross low-flying over the ocean waves.
    If an hour is too much for you, you're not a dedicated photographer. Just a snapper.
     
  11. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Enough with the judgements already.


    I had fairly good luck my first time trying it.
    http://www.markcarpenter.com/gallery/autocross20040502
    As I remember, most of those were shot at 1/30 or 1/60.
    It works best with all side-to-side movement. The more front-to-back movement there is, the more blur there will be, since you can't move with the car in that direction. This is trickier to do with an SLR, since your view is blocked when the shutter is open. It's easier with a rangefinder. These were done with a 10D, so I had to keep the camera moving steady without seeing the car the whole time. This is nice to practice with a digital, since you can see how well you are doing right away.
     
  12. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Shoot a PM to Xmetal with a link to this thread...he shoots GREAT moving car shots, he'll be able to give you some awesome advice.
     

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