Tips for Rally Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Wozza, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Wozza

    Wozza TPF Noob!

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    Hey all, scored a few days off work to watch the New Zealand Targa Rally this year. This is an event that tours the North Island of this country, I'm going to follow it for three days in three locations. The rally includes modern cars as well as a lot of classic hobbyists. This is a tarmac rally that takes place on a variety of closed roads.

    I have never tried my hand at photographing a race before so would like any tips you all have to offer, I'm probably going to go and practice my panning before the even as I haven't tried that technique yet properly.

    Oh and I'm just going for fun, I'm not commisioned for shots or anything, just to enjoy the event, take some snaps and hopefully try something new.

    Cheers in advance.


    edit - better list what I have available:

    Canon 20D
    70-200mm Sigma ex
    20mm Sigma ex
    18-125mm Sigma
    Basic external flash
    Monopod
    Tripod
     
  2. Timbo1961

    Timbo1961 TPF Noob!

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    Hey Wozza ...
    Well, it has been a while since I did this, but you have me jealous! I would love to shoot a rally again.
    A couple of things to remember and probably the most important is to find a spot that is NOT in the line of where the car would go off the road if the driver lost control. You want to concentrate on the photo and the car, not on watching out if he is going to hit you.
    Now, having said that, there are some really good places to spot yourself.
    One on the inside of a hairpin. As the car comes by it will be a lot slower and you could use your wideangles. Panning with a wideangle or even a static position with a higher shutter speed should yield some good shots.
    Two is on the outside of the hairpin, but again watch your position. If gravel is thrown up at you the rocks can hurt and also damage your camera. Some nice shots can be had with the rear-end drifting out around the turn. Try towards the start or end of the hairpin ...
    Areas where the car gets some air is also interesting, but a little harder to scope out ahead of time. Water crossings or just wet spots can give some neat effects.
    Night time shots in heavy braking zones can also be very neat. Depending on the level of competition, and how the cars are set up, if the drivers are braking from high speed, they will hit their brakes hard and downshift, you should in some cases, see some cool glowing brake discs and perhaps a backfire or two from the exhaust... really cool at night with flash if you can nail it.
    Also, I have found that the early morning shots (still a bit dark) with the high intensity lights lighting up the fog in the early morning hours to be really cool also.
    See you got me going now !!
    Good luck and it would be great to see some pics you have shot.
    Tim
     
  3. Wozza

    Wozza TPF Noob!

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    Cheers for the advice man, I would have gone on the outside of the hairpin, but now you mention it the inside has a number of advantages. :)

    Unfortunatly no water (unless it rains - would make for good shots but an uncomfortable me) and the sun will be strong on both the morning and afternoon events so not a huge amount of variety there.
     
  4. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Hide behind a big tree! :lol:

    TV, you can get down to 320 or pick up to 500. More motion blur at the slower speeds, less keepers. The wheels will probably still show motion at a 500th. Depending on the light, but ISO 200 will be fine, you start losing quality at 400. (personal opinion, I shoot 100 when I can) No one says you have to have blurred backgrounds, it's just one kind of shot. If you want, stop the action, especially when you get gravel flying or cars going over a jump, it looks just fine.

    Spot Meter, Center focus point. Ignore the "little running man" setting because it leans towards faster shutter speeds and defaults to ISO 400. (if I remember right, I don't use it)

    The 70-200 will probably give you the best reach, but if panning from the side you can get some nice frame filling shots with the 125. Which brings up a point. Try to fill the frame with the car, as much as possible. Nothing worse than a nice shot of a car, where it's a tiny dot in the frame. Of course if you don't mind cropping and losing a little...

    Some straights after a corner, the cars will be way out to one side, setting up for the next turn, if that turn is away from you, that means they are already out there and close to you, but headed away from you.

    [​IMG]

    If you can get up high on the inside of a turn, and shoot down, into the car, it's interesting sometimes. I don't shoot from the rear much, because I like the front of cars... but you can shoot them going over a crest, from the back, you are positioned lower, even better if you are inside the apex.

    If you can find a place where they crest a hill, coming towards you, then turning and you can find a safe spot so you only have the road and the sky, it's pretty dramatic. You'll miss some, be late on some and maybe get some just right.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, I'll get boring repeating this... NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON RACING CARS! I only chimp a couple of shots, to see if I'm close on the settings, then after that, I don't look until I'm away from the race traffic. If you know how big the gaps are, there's time to do it, when it's safe.

    Oh that panning thing. Put this into your mind while you practice. Keep panning after you shoot. Follow the car, then shoot, and follow through. It helps you get a smooth motion and more keepers. You can just jab at them as they go past.

    Some people like monopods, some hate them. I use one, I have friends who swear they don't help. This goes with IS, I don't use it, some guys keep it on. I don't like the way it jumps just before the shot, some people it doesn't bother.

    [​IMG]

    I think this is the IS setting, just as I took the shot. It's not a double exposure? Or maybe it's just me screwing up somehow? Panning at 1/20th is not especially reliable.

    How about 1/30th - 200mm on a dark cloudy day?

    [​IMG]

    And one more thing, Sun over your shoulder, watch out for glare and reflections that will fool the meter. White cars are a problem, black cars are a problem, windscreens and headlights can cause trouble.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  5. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The best advise I can give is STAY THE H@%% out of the way. Those road rally cars seem to find their way off the road a lot. :lol:
     

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