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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Formula Testing Day at Silverstone
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06/20/2007 03:42:18 AM · #1
The company I work for is a partner of Renault Formula 1 and yesterday we got to go a test day at Silverstone. Noisy, vibrant and hot kind of describe the half day I was there but one thing I discovered was that panning high speed cars is a real skill - which I have yet to master :-)

Anyhow, access to the pit lane and the Renault F1 garage helped in other ways so her are a few shots from the day, strictly for the petrol heads out there. Last two shots are most interesting as the red blur is a Ferrari passing in front of me, shutter set at 1/40 second and the last picture is a reflection of the same Ferrari coming back into the pits as reflected from the observation windows above the pit lane.

539454.jpg 539455.jpg 539456.jpg
539457.jpg 539458.jpg 539459.jpg
539461.jpg 539462.jpg
06/20/2007 03:48:13 AM · #2
Can't even begin to describe how jealous I am.......
06/20/2007 03:57:52 AM · #3
Originally posted by jan_vdw:

Can't even begin to describe how jealous I am.......

So I better not tell you about the free ticket I get for the race day itself and possibly for one of the test days...

I must admit I do feel a little fortunate this year with this access.
06/20/2007 05:49:40 AM · #4
That is awesome! I was fortunate enough to get a pit pass when the Minardi team had the two seater F1 cars here at Kyalami a few years ago. It really is an awesome experience.

Like the Renault pics (I support them cause I drive one).
06/20/2007 06:07:23 AM · #5
Originally posted by obsidian:

Originally posted by jan_vdw:

Can't even begin to describe how jealous I am.......

So I better not tell you about the free ticket I get for the race day itself and possibly for one of the test days...

I must admit I do feel a little fortunate this year with this access.


Hi Carl.

I've just got a free three day pass to the grounds (my brother in law is marshalling). I can only make Sat and Sunday - have you got special access, or will you (like me) be wandering around the edges with a camera in-hand?
06/20/2007 06:17:47 AM · #6
Carl,

I'm off to the french GP next weekend with my Nikon D80 in hand! Do you have any tips you could share?

I've been to a few grand prix and managed to get a few good shots in the past but never with a DSLR. I'm not sure on what settings would be best and obviously never have the opportunity to practise!

Thanks,

Joe
06/20/2007 06:36:34 AM · #7
Originally posted by joekent:

Carl,

I'm off to the french GP next weekend with my Nikon D80 in hand! Do you have any tips you could share?

I've been to a few grand prix and managed to get a few good shots in the past but never with a DSLR. I'm not sure on what settings would be best and obviously never have the opportunity to practise!

Thanks,

Joe


That will depend on the shots that you want to get. If you want a motion blurred background, car in focus, you need a slightly slower shutter speed and to pan the camera during blackout - something I plan to practice as much as possible. High shutter speeds (I guess around 1/1000th or faster) will be needed to completely stop the action.
06/20/2007 06:53:55 AM · #8
Originally posted by Matthew:

Originally posted by obsidian:

Originally posted by jan_vdw:

Can't even begin to describe how jealous I am.......

So I better not tell you about the free ticket I get for the race day itself and possibly for one of the test days...

I must admit I do feel a little fortunate this year with this access.


Hi Carl.

I've just got a free three day pass to the grounds (my brother in law is marshalling). I can only make Sat and Sunday - have you got special access, or will you (like me) be wandering around the edges with a camera in-hand?

I believe that I am in the stands at Beckets for both days so kind of hemmed in :-( Would love a more open access pass but as both days are free... cannot complain :-)
06/20/2007 06:57:01 AM · #9
Originally posted by Matthew:

Originally posted by joekent:

Carl,

I'm off to the french GP next weekend with my Nikon D80 in hand! Do you have any tips you could share?

I've been to a few grand prix and managed to get a few good shots in the past but never with a DSLR. I'm not sure on what settings would be best and obviously never have the opportunity to practise!

Thanks,

Joe


That will depend on the shots that you want to get. If you want a motion blurred background, car in focus, you need a slightly slower shutter speed and to pan the camera during blackout - something I plan to practice as much as possible. High shutter speeds (I guess around 1/1000th or faster) will be needed to completely stop the action.

I found a monopod to be very useful for stability and for taking the load off my shoulders. As Matt said, panning is a technique you need to practice to master and something like 1/100 s will really blur the background well. I was shooting at 1/500 s and faster but with all of the fencing in the way, it was a real pain to get a good shot - so find a place without a lot of foreground interference.

The only other advice I can give is to take plenty of sun cream and keep covered - half a day in the stands and pit lane and I was pretty well burnt :-)

edited to add: the D80 is not the fastest shooter in the world so I shot JPEG for most of the day with AF-C set but with single zone focussing (custom setting 2). Dynamic area seemed to get confused easily. I would also use wide zone centre AF area (custom setting 3) which really does help when panning and using the central focus zone.

Message edited by author 2007-06-20 07:13:26.
06/20/2007 06:59:17 AM · #10
Originally posted by obsidian:

The only other advice I can give is to take plenty of sun cream and keep covered - half a day in the stands and pit lane and I was pretty well burnt :-)


Good tip - thanks!
06/20/2007 07:20:42 AM · #11
Thanks Matthew,

I plan to manually focus on a predetermined spot and pan. I've done this a few times with varying results in the past. It will probably be best to set the camera to manual I guess and use a bit of trial and error.

Would you recommend upping the ISO settings to get a faster shutter speed?

Thanks,

Joe
06/20/2007 07:31:57 AM · #12
I'm jealous too. Spent most of the summer shooting at the local stock car track. Please post lots of photos!!
06/20/2007 07:42:09 AM · #13
Will do and can't wait!
06/20/2007 02:25:32 PM · #14
bump for the US petrol heads
06/21/2007 08:22:40 AM · #15
Originally posted by joekent:

Thanks Matthew,

I plan to manually focus on a predetermined spot and pan. I've done this a few times with varying results in the past. It will probably be best to set the camera to manual I guess and use a bit of trial and error.

Would you recommend upping the ISO settings to get a faster shutter speed?

Thanks,

Joe


In order to get high shutter speeds the first step is to open up the aperture pretty wide and keep the ISO as low as you can go. I'll be aiming to stop my images down by a half stop from widest aperture (to get a silghtly sharper image) and aim for ISO 400 or so, I suspect - but it is all very much dependent on how bright the light is. If it is cloudy/rainy, then ISO will have to go way up, I suspect.

I plan to use full auto focus tracking for panning shots - that is unless someone tells me that this won't work. When I used this for go-karts, it seemed pretty successful.


06/21/2007 08:35:26 AM · #16
Matthew,

Sounds like a plan! I'll try the same on qualifying day and hopefully will have it all sorted for the race.

Joe
06/21/2007 12:38:39 PM · #17
Originally posted by Matthew:

Originally posted by joekent:

Thanks Matthew,

I plan to manually focus on a predetermined spot and pan. I've done this a few times with varying results in the past. It will probably be best to set the camera to manual I guess and use a bit of trial and error.

Would you recommend upping the ISO settings to get a faster shutter speed?

Thanks,

Joe


In order to get high shutter speeds the first step is to open up the aperture pretty wide and keep the ISO as low as you can go. I'll be aiming to stop my images down by a half stop from widest aperture (to get a silghtly sharper image) and aim for ISO 400 or so, I suspect - but it is all very much dependent on how bright the light is. If it is cloudy/rainy, then ISO will have to go way up, I suspect.

I plan to use full auto focus tracking for panning shots - that is unless someone tells me that this won't work. When I used this for go-karts, it seemed pretty successful.

I was using ISO 200 and getting 1/640 - 1/1000 sec at f/5.6-ish for the shots I took - but it was a bright although overcast day. I started with aperture priority with the f/2.8 28 - 70 zoom to control DOF for the pitlane shots and then moved to shutter priority for the trackside shots, working between 1/640 and 1/1000 sec.

I tended to use centre-weighted metering most of the time as some of the car's colours fooled average-weighting and spot metering was too specific - e.g. BMW's white tended to underexpose the rest of the car but nothing post processing couldn't fix.

Full auto works but I found it useful to pre-focus on the point I wanted to take the picture, lock the focus and then pan and shoot at the appropriate place. This worked reasonably well but when I tried the auto focus settings I laid out earlier in this thread they worked pretty well too.

Carl
07/15/2007 07:01:14 PM · #18
I thought that I might post some post GP observations.

At Silverstone certainly, it is hard to get close to the track with an uninterrupted view due to large amounts of chain link fencing. I was using 400mm (70-200mm x2) and stood on hillocks as much as possible. However, it is v hard (or v expensive) to get close to the action without a press pass.

To completely stop the action, shutter speeds of 1/4000 or so are required. The cars are fast and small amounts of movement blur happen at 1/1600.

When panning, longer is usually better but much harder. I got a few useable shots at 1/25 (not bad at 400mm), which look good but it is a very wasteful strategy. 1/40 got a couple more, and 1/60 seemed to be roughly a happy medium. 1/100 and 1/125 resulted in higher numbers of keepers, but not nearly as attractive shots as the slower speeds.

My new monopod (bought for the occasion) was a complete life saver.

I spent half my weekend on RAW and half on jpeg. Jpeg is probably the sensible option, given how many shots are required to get good keepers.

Full Auto focus was almost always the right option - the cars are moving in and out of focus all the time. To get two or three shots of a car in a single panning motion, full auto was great.

I think that I have ruled these shots out of the next free study, so I'll post a few examples shortly.
07/15/2007 07:14:14 PM · #19
Originally posted by Matthew:



That will depend on the shots that you want to get. If you want a motion blurred background, car in focus, you need a slightly slower shutter speed and to pan the camera during blackout - something I plan to practice as much as possible. High shutter speeds (I guess around 1/1000th or faster) will be needed to completely stop the action.


I for one would be interested to know what you come up with in your quest for the perfect pan to capture a formula in action with a blurred bg.
07/15/2007 08:18:32 PM · #20
Here are some samples. All were taken with Canon 5D, 70-200mm 2.8 and Canon 2x (Mk2) at pretty much 400mm from two or three parts of Silverstone.

Please bear in mind that the following are 100% frames as I took them and with minimal editing so far...

Speed - - Full frame (uncropped) - - 100% crop (unsharpened)

1/25s - - 555485.jpg 555491.jpg

1/40s - - 555484.jpg 555490.jpg

1/60s - - 555487.jpg 555493.jpg

1/60s - - 555488.jpg 555494.jpg

1/85s - - 555489.jpg 555495.jpg (jpeg)

1/100s - .555503.jpg 555501.jpg

1/100s - .555504.jpg 555502.jpg

1/1600s - 555486.jpg 555492.jpg


07/15/2007 09:04:08 PM · #21
Matthew,

With the slower shutter, how hard was it to time the pan?

I'm thinking the closer you were the harder the pan was to time.

Is this true?
07/15/2007 11:05:59 PM · #22
31_N.gif robadsy knows his stuff about motorsport, he helped me a great deal with my local event, might be worth asking his opinion.
07/16/2007 04:52:51 AM · #23
Originally posted by Man_Called_Horse:

Matthew,

With the slower shutter, how hard was it to time the pan?

I'm thinking the closer you were the harder the pan was to time.

Is this true?


Timing the pan is not difficult - as long as you have a decent view of the cars coming, you can move your lens in a long fluid sweep and press the shutter when ready. The difference between 1/25 and 1/80 is negligible in terms of shutter depression and I think mirror black out is the same for both. The issue is the need to be more fluid and accurate with panning speeds with slower shutter speeds.
07/16/2007 06:03:54 AM · #24
Good stuff.

The Renault Road show will be in Sandton (South Africa) on Sunday, really looking forward to that. Hope to get some nice shots.
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