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Uses A Point and Shoot
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THIS ISN'T SAYING THAT ANY SHOOTING STYLE SUCKS, SIMPLY A GUIDE TO SHOOTING SLOWER

I personally am a big fan of motion. I have found that in drag racing, most shots are all shot in high shutter speeds, this isn't meaning anything is bad, but you get no sense of motion. I RARELY shoot racing in high shutter speeds and try to push people to try slower shutter shots. It really isn't that hard to shoot with motion and here is a guide I made awhile ago that I adjusted for drag racing.

When I shoot action, i just run the camera in shutter priority (TV on canons) and let the camera figure out the lighting in MOST situations, and sometimes ill fine tune it with AE shifting. When panning a subject, the lighting changes a lot faster. Some situations I run full manual, generally in odd lighting conditions. Make sure you run AI servo and not single shot when shooting action, this allows the camera to continually focus.

The key really is a good lens with a good image stabilization system, this allows you to run a much lower shutter speed. Dont be fooled by some Canon lenses such as the 70-300. It has a single stage stabilizer that only stabilizes vertical movement. Make sure you get a 2 stage (only found in L glass) stabilizer that controls vertical and horizontal movement. There really isnt a formula to shooting action. Ive heard people say a 1MPH: 1MS shutter speed is good, but i dont quite agree with that, I would START with 1.5-2x and then go down from there.

the main points of shooting action are:
1) angle at which the object is traveling, I.E. coming at you, front 1/4 shot, side, rear 1/4, etc.
2) speed of whatever your shooting
3) your distance from where you are shooting
4) focal length (which can tie into 3)
5) lighting sometimes, if you have a good F lens, u dont have to worry about this so much

Side Bar on Burn Outs

I can look at a burn out picture and generally tell around where the shutter speed is just on how the smoke looks and don't really care for clumpy looking smoke. Don't be scared of running slow shutter shots on burn outs, it is easy and will make the smoke look more life like.



covering 1
Dont bother at trying to run a slow shutter on something coming straight at you. Whatever you might be shooting needs to be coming across you at some point to start getting a sense of motion. If im at a race in a photo hole shooting straight shots, I generally jack up the shutter pretty good, (1/250th) esp. if you cannot see much of the wheel rotation, This is really for only long range, head on shots (300mm+)



At that point you start getting the 1/4 shot, then shutter speed starts to become a factor.










Covers steps 2-4
When Im shooting with my telephoto at focal lock (or close to) at a good distance, your body movement isnt as fast, this allows you to run a slower shutter. keep in mind i have a 2.8L IS which is about the best lens for stabilization, allowing me to run really slow shutters. For non IS lenses, I would start at 1.3-1.5x the speed of whatever your shooting and then move down from there, not going below 50-60th.

Formula D Irwindale: car traveling about 40-50 mph, at focal lock, probably 30 yards away, shutter speed 1/50th. Yea I know it is drifting here, but it also applies to drag racing depending on lens length and lane.



The key is finding that sweet spot. Sometimes you can shoot REALLY slow, but can end up with a little more blur, in which basically your focus point is in focus, but the surrounding areas start to blur. Plus some drivers are faster then others. The below shot was probably either too close or too fast for the shutter speed selected.



DISTANCE

Generally, shorter the distance, shorter the focal, the less speed you can run. If your whipping your camera around fast, its going to be harder for you to hold that camera as still, allowing less shutter.



Launch shot with my 17-40 F4L, shutter was around 125th. As you can see, this is the same speed I was shooting cars traveling 50-60mph, but since it is MUCH closer, this really cuts your ability to run a slow shutter. Below, 1/80th at about 150MM



1/100th, 140 MPH on the brakes hard at about 180 MM

 

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great post!! i've been wanting to work on that technique of panning the camera with the car downtrack, like you did with the flopper... that's a great shot.

doing it while standing by the tree is problematic, because it's difficult to get the entire length of the car in focus, and you lose tire wrinkle.

thanks for the tips!
 

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Uses A Point and Shoot
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Discussion Starter #5

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Thanks for all the good tips on taking a good pic. I'll try to use it lilke a pro.. yea right....cant wait till race season starts..... come on warmer weather. Bill
 

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Team South FTW!
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I tried out shooting with a slower speed back at the outlaw radial tire shootout during one of the 10.5 qualifing sessions. I seemed to burn through quite a few shots before I got the cars in frame and not completely blurred. This shot is what I deem to be the best of the bunch.

exposure: 1/80, focal length: 26mm (lens is a 18-70mm macro), apeture: f/10.0, iso: 100

 

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Years ago I shot lots of TMAX film and processed it for the work I did. Now photography is only a hobby, and I am not too technical. But, at certain times in the evening, I get the motion effect. Here are a couple.



 

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Uses A Point and Shoot
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Discussion Starter #11
I tried out shooting with a slower speed back at the outlaw radial tire shootout during one of the 10.5 qualifing sessions. I seemed to burn through quite a few shots before I got the cars in frame and not completely blurred. This shot is what I deem to be the best of the bunch.

exposure: 1/80, focal length: 26mm (lens is a 18-70mm macro), apeture: f/10.0, iso: 100
The low sucess rate is due to TOO slow of a shutter speed for the distance as were. Try 100-125th next time and your sucess rate will go up.

Good ol Bradenton, I miss the home track!
 

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Uses A Point and Shoot
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Discussion Starter #12
Years ago I shot lots of TMAX film and processed it for the work I did. Now photography is only a hobby, and I am not too technical. But, at certain times in the evening, I get the motion effect. Here are a couple
Great Shots! Larger your gap between your subject your panning, the greater reward.
 

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bad ass write up. Some of what you saying wouldn't have made sense to me a week ago, but since I've been trying to pay attention in class and the help from people on here I think I've finally got it.
 

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Thanks so much for sharing techique and expertise guys. It's a true professional that isn't threatened by helping those trying to learn.

THANKS

Now,, you don't have to stop there ;) i'll bet not a one of us stops at shooting 'only' racing and action shots.
 

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Uses A Point and Shoot
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Discussion Starter #18
Looks like you may have been a BIT on the aggressive side on the shutters there.

Also keep in mind that F stop will slightly effect your shutter speed abilities. Meaning the darker it gets, the more conservative on the shutter you need to be. A deep depth of field and a slow shutter work against themselves a little.
 

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Looks like you may have been a BIT on the aggressive side on the shutters there.

Also keep in mind that F stop will slightly effect your shutter speed abilities. Meaning the darker it gets, the more conservative on the shutter you need to be. A deep depth of field and a slow shutter work against themselves a little.
Thanks, I'm just a point and shoot guy now. Not a pro (I guess that is obvious). But, the original poster has inspired me to delve into this some more.
 
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