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F1 Grand Prix Shooting Tips – Summary Notes September 1, 2009

Posted by Lawrence Oei in Shoot Trips.

Here’s some first-pass notes I gathered on the net to do this right

  • Set ISO to 400 and the shutter speed above 1/500 sec. That should freeze the action for you if that is the effect that you are going for
  • Forget the polarizer (add it for flare reduction from body paint?)
  • Need to work on learning to pan with the cars
  • Use a single focus point (the centre one is a good idea – although an off-centre one can be useful depending on your angle). Use AI servo AF, choose a high contrast area somewhere on the front of the car as your focus target and track the cars for half a second with that area under the focus point before releasing the shutter. Put the camera in shutter priority mode and set your shutter speed to no faster then 1/320th of a second otherwise you will have a lot of “cars parked on the circuit” pictures. The most common mistake for motorsport photographers is to set their shutter speeds too high – you want to retain some sense of motion. Use an aperture of around f/8 and then set the ISO to something that gets you a decent exposure
  • Get there early
  • Be really friendly and a little pushy, you may get a few shots from a prime location.
  • 1/320, F8, ISO 200, 300mm (good guide; again depending where you are wrt the cars)
  • The trick to racing shots is to be able to pan well for the duration of the shutter. Practice that skill every day for the next two weeks somewhere that there’s a highway and your chance of great shots go up significantly
  • Look at the very excellent Sigma 100-300mm. f/4.0 EX HSM
  • If you find the fence is in the way, drop your shutter to 1/80 and as long as your panning is good, you’ll blur out the chain fencing, then all you need to worry about is the horizontal wires (pretty easy to clone out)
  • More to come…


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