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And on the third lap

By francisg
Taken at a meeting of Stock car races. This one didn't quite make it on the third lap. I was trying to capture some of the gritty atmosphere of the race and give some idea of the speed that there once held pride and joy, are pushed around the track.

Tags: Sport Colour Action Danger Stock car Races Wrecks Excitment Sports and action

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2378 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2016 8:35AM
This is the sort of action where I really got into serious photography, many years ago. It's terrific fun for both spectators and photographers - as you say it's gritty, down to earth sport, no synthetic glamour. It's about observation and timing, as well as technique.

This was a good moment! Things not going quite to plan...

It is cropped from a larger frame, and much as I love a good square crop I don't think it works here. It detracts from the horizontal movement of the action. Can you upload the full frame please, as a modification? I would certainly like to see more space on the left, that's where the car is heading.

You say that you were trying to capture the speed. There are various ways that speed can be conveyed in a stills image. You had a very good idea in standing opposite a curve in the track, because the angle of a car as it rounds the bend (or doesn't ... ) can be very eloquent. But you were using a program mode, which meant that you were relinquishing a fair amount of control to the camera's brain. And the camera cannot read what you want to convey...

This was taken at 1/400 second, and it has some quite pleasing motion blur. A car can travel quite a distance in 1/400 second! But were you intending motion blur? To freeze the action you needed a much faster shutter speed, I would aim for at least 1/1000 second, and a larger aperture. For really dramatic motion blur, 1/200 second, landscape frame, car sliding off sideways - that could be effective. Slower than that and you risk camera shake.

As this stands, I would crop off the top down to below those tyres, concentrate on the real action area which is the car and the marshal. But I really would like to see the full frame...
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.7k 2378 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2016 10:25AM
Just as an afterthought - have you added any blur here?
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1814 England
20 Sep 2016 11:54AM
For me, the problem is that the car's blurred, and everything else is sharp, and it's blurred in a way that doesn't particularly suggest what is going on.

Program mode is the big problem, as Moira mentions: you could probably have lived with a slightly wider aperture, but definitely needed a significantly higher shutter speed, or to pan with the motion. The latter would be difficult, given that the car isn't heading in the direction that the driver (and you) had expected. But then, nobody ever said that motorsport photography is easy...

Some people shoot in Shutter (T) priority, I'd go for Aperture priority, and keeping a very careful eye on the shutter speed. But you definitely need to have complete control of the settings: Canon's engineers are clever, but Program will adjust for hte light, not the action.

Go back, with spare batteries and cards, and shoot every car coming round the corner all day. Look at what you get, and try different settings to see how they affect the results. As the golfer said, 'the more I practice, the luckier I get'...
francisg 16 705 1 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2016 4:20PM
Thank you Both Moira and Dudler for your comments. They are really helpful and appreciated. I have uploaded the original version of the photo. The only manipulation I have done other than darken it a little is to remove the second Car, As I wanted to focus attention on the Martial and the car that suddenly went astray.
dudler Plus
17 1.5k 1814 England
21 Sep 2016 8:28AM
If there's no other manipulation, I reckon that you have some odd camera settings there - there's a lot of sharpening, as Willie's remarked on the repost. The overall 'wiry' look, and the outline around the marshall against the tarmac are indicative of strong sharpening, whether it's a camera setting (which you should seek out in the menu and alter) or processing.

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