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|Category:||Sports and Action|
Photography At The Festival Of Speed - Photography advice for those photographers venturing to this year's festival of speed.
- Lens with longer reach – 70-200mm should be fine for cars but if it's bikes you like you may need something longer. Just try and get as close to the track as you can without putting yourself in danger
- Wide-angle lens – scenic shots of the grounds and larger shots of the track.
- Polarising or ND Filter – reduce glare problems particularly if it's going to be a sunny weekend.
- Tripod/monopod – you'll be doing plenty of panning so take a long a tripod or monopod for extra support. Not only will one help you get a smoother pan, your arms won't get tired from supporting longer lenses. Manfrotto's new 290 and 390 series features tripods/monopods that are lightweight so are easy to carry around. For an even lighter model take a look at Manfrotto's 057 series made from carbon fibre that are ideal for outdoor use.
- Camera bag – if you're planning on taking a series of lenses take a backpack that will fit all of your lenses plus a few extras accessories. Manfrotto's Veloce V Backpack has room for your gear and a tripod either inside or outside the bag and if you plan on taking a laptop there's room for a 15.4inch one too.
Take a look at the festival's website to give you a better idea of what's going on and take a look in ePHOTOzine's gallery to see the kind of shots others have taken who have visited before. Buy a programme when you arrive as you'll be able to use it to see where you need to be and when.
Be earlyIt's a popular festival so you need to arrive early if you don't like queuing and make sure you're at your chosen event in plenty of time too otherwise the prime photography spots at the front of the rows of people will have gone. Just leave enough time so you can go and check out a few locations before you settle on one. Getting there early will also give you time to take a few shots of the grounds before they're packed with visitors.
If you can position yourself on a corner/bend the barrier, which is made up of a fence and usually hay bales, won't stop you from seeing the wheels of the cars in your shots. A bend where the riders have to slow down will give you a higher chance of capturing a better shot. If you can't get close to the track try and find somewhere slightly higher up to shoot from, although this can create less dramatic shots. You could also raise the centre column of your tripod up to get above the crowd if you get track side too late. Do adjust the legs first before doing this as the legs offer a more stable base to work with. Although, if you have a tall tripod such as some of those available in Manfrotto's 290 series that extend to 150cm you may not need to use the centre column at all.
Find a bend
BackgroundsIt's a little hard to find clutter-free backgrounds but try and find a spot where there's as little distracting background objects as possible, High visibility vests are worse as even when they're blurred, they still stand out in your shot (see above).
Watch out for unwanted glare and areas of your shots overexposing if it's a particularly sunny day. A polarising filter will help cut down on glare and framing up so the hay bales found around the track aren't in shot will stop their overexposed shapes spoiling your shot.
Motorsports are fast and as a result fast shutter speeds are generally needed to freeze the action. But to create a sense of pace you should try shooting a few shots where your subject is sharp but the background is nicely thrown out of focus. How good you are at panning, what shutter speed you use, how fast your subject's moving and how much light's around will make this harder/easier every time you visit the track but just try shooting a few test shots of races you're not so interested in first so you're ready when the main event does arrive. Just remember: too higher shutter speed and you'll just freeze the shot, too slow and they'll be too much blur.
You need to follow the action on the track so make sure you've created a sturdy base with your feet slightly apart and as the car begins to work its way to the edge of your frame, turn your upper body, keeping your bottom half still, following the car's movement along the track. Don't stop as soon as you've taken your shot, instead keep panning and following the car's path with your lens to produce a smoother pan. If your lens struggles to focus use continuous focusing once you've locked focus on your subject or switch to manual, focus on part of the track you know the car/bike will pass through, lock your focus and you should be able to keep getting sharp shots of the drivers and their vehicles all day. It may also help if you work in continuous shooting mode (burst mode) as you'll be able to fire off several quick exposures in a row.
Away from the trackOff the track you can try your hand at a little close up work of car wheels, engine parts and trims. There will also be plenty of candid photography opportunities. For tips on shooting candids take a look at our previous article.
Find the tripod to suit your needs at www.manfrotto.co.uk.
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