First Timer at Motorsport Photography

Saturday, 16th October, 2010

Today I took a very significant deviation from my photographic subject matter interest and photographed motorsport.

Back in July a good friend of mine invited me along to photograph the iRace Round 7 meet at Eastern Creek International Raceway.

Now, I am not particularly interested in sports, know practically nothing about motorsport and have no interest in cars, but it was a good opportunity to try a form of photography I would otherwise never consider, and with which I had no prior experience.  Sometimes it is good to get radical and step well and truly out of one's normal comfort zone.

Knowing it was sports and that there would be distances involved, I went armed with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM, Canon Extender EF 1.4x II and Canon Extender EF 2x II.

I came away with some key learnings today:

  1. motorsport photography is not easy;
  2. it is necessary to shoot a lot of frames;
  3. for every good or great image, you will shoot hundreds of not-so-good images;
  4. windy conditions (50km/h westerly) make shooting with long lenses more challenging, and lens hoods are basically wings;
  5. it is easy to photograph a moving car, but harder to produce a great image of a moving car;
  6. images with blurred wheels and blurred backgrounds are much more dynamic; and
  7. panning a 4kg camera rig to follow a car moving at 300km/h is not all that easy.

The day was a new experience, both photographically and in general.

Posted Under