View Full Version : Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Testing Pics

7th of January 2007 (Sun), 04:31
Hello All

This is my first post at this forum. I searched long and hard for a forum to talk about racing photography and I am happy to have found POTN!

Here is a gallery of my pictures from the test weekend for the upcoming Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona:


I shoot with a 350d and most of the pics are with the 28-135 IS. For some I used my cheaper 18-55 kit and 75-300 telephoto. I was very happy with my pictures from the 28-135 IS, which is my newest lens.

I shot for most of the day (and night) in exposure-priority mode. When I viewed my images on my computer I noticed pretty severe sensor dust when f-stops above f10 or so :( looks like I need to invest in some sort of cleaning device.

I'm interested in any comments or criticisms as well as tips for taking better racing photos.

For the next big race I attend (Sebring 12 Hours in March) I plan to rent a more serious telephoto lens, maybe an ~300mm L lens. This I can do for around $80 with insurance which I found surprising. What particular lenses will serve me best when I'm shooting from spectator areas?

I have many other questions but I'll save them for later.

Enjoy the pictures!


R Mutt
7th of January 2007 (Sun), 08:11
If i'm being honest, the majority of photos seem soft. Almost every on track shot is, you did much better with the static pit shots.

Get use to dust and get use to photoshopping it out. Invest in a large blower that will help.

Their are lots of threads with good advice lurking around here, seach some down and welcome to the forum. :cool:

7th of January 2007 (Sun), 09:50
Welcome Mike. I typically shoot motorsports (I'm not pro by any means) in shutter priority so I can control the action look of the tires/wheel when panning a car going by of coming to me. the key is to have motion appear on the background and tires, with no apparent motion on the car body itself. On my 70-200 I think 1/260 was used coming at me and 1/320 when they are going by me, like left to right. Those may be backwards. My gallery is not overwhelming but there are some shots i think quite technically accurate and maintain the exif data so you can view preciesly how the cam was setup for that shot.

Best of luck!

I hear the 100-400 is a good motorsport lens. I sure want one for other reasons. Maybe a 300F4 or 2.8 as well.

7th of January 2007 (Sun), 10:21
hey mike


some of your pictures do look soft but when i had the 350d i also suffered with the same problem.

for the speed their traveling at some of your panning shots are a bit slow might be worth experimenting with diffrent settings

i love shot number 588 btw its a brillant shot

7th of January 2007 (Sun), 10:59
Thanks all for the advice so far.

I'm not exactly sure what is meant by "soft". Are the action shots soft because I've focused inaccurately, or is it some attribute of the lens I'm using? What should I do to counter the softness, apart from purchasing a new body?

I'd never tried any panning before. I tried to find a point on the track, lock the focus there and follow the car up to that point where i would take the pic.

About the slow panning shots, i tried mostly exposures of 1/50th or thereabouts. With faster exposures i couldn't get the background blur and with longer exposures I couldnt get the car to look sharp enough (in the viewfinder..)

Thanks again for the help!

AccidentalArt - I love your pictures, especially from Trois! Did you use the 70-200 sigma lens to fill the frame with the cars like that?

7th of January 2007 (Sun), 12:23
hi, there are some decent shots in there, and it's good that you're getting out there and having a go!

most of the stuff i shoot is motorsports, and find i almost exclusively leave the camera in Tv mode so i can controll the amount of speed blur and let the camera sort out the rest. i then alter the iso if i need to.

'soft' is usually caused by either the lens not focusing / tracking quickly or accuratly enough, or from camera shake / the user not trakking the car smoothly.

from looking at you pics it seems your shutter speeds are in an awkward area, too slow to keep the car nice and sharp, but too fast to get some crazy artistic blur effects. i generally find i'm shooting between 1/160 (slow corners) and 1/400 for freezing headon action. most of the time i'm at 200 or 250. Then sometimes drop right down to 1/20th for a bit of a play, or to try and get some really creamy background blur.

It's a tricky subject, the best thing to do is stay at a corner, take a series of shots of cars in the same place through a range of shutter speeds. find what works best for you and keep practising. as your technique improves you may be able to take the same shot at the same place with a lower shutter speed and still get a good hit rate.

I also tend to manually set the focus point, and try and track the car on a point of high contrast, something light the edge of a grile or dutct, even if that means the shot isn't perfectly framed. A shot that's sharp but needs slight cropping is of more use than a well framed but out of focus one.

7th of January 2007 (Sun), 12:39
are you in a1 servo or one shot ?

stupid question i know but if your focusing in one shot then the car will move out of focus and the camer wont compensate

harry seams to have covered everything elts

7th of January 2007 (Sun), 22:05
Hi Mike,

The 70-200 was near filling them, but those are cropped a tad.

The best way to practice panning is to go out by the street and practive on cars going by. I sometimes use a monopod as well. Lock on the car with your focus (preferably using CF 4,1) and pan with it, then shoot. Anyone can shoot a car at 1/2500 and make the car appear still, like its parked, and have a crisp shot; you don't want that.

I learned to shoot from people on here, there's a ton of knowledge better than what I have to provide. You'll find a rythym after a few cars.

Hope this is of some help.

8th of January 2007 (Mon), 17:15
I would have to agree with much of what has been said here by the others.
I'll add to it by pointing out a few other things.
1) Light. Be aware of it! When I saw those sunset shots I was screeming at my monitor "Turn Around!" Soft late day light is ideal for getting some great shots. The harsh bright sun is what makes so many shots seem so...average. Keep the Sun behind you (I know it was overcast, but always keep it in mind), and take advantage of early and late day light. It's not called "golden hour" for nothing.
2) Cropping and Composition. Try to fill the frame with your subject as much as possible. Yes, your lenses will limit what you can do, but if you can't do it in camera, do it in photoshop (or some other application) while post-processing. Try not to center your subject. Learn about the "Rule of Thirds" and use it as a guide for framing your subjects.
3)Post Processing. Learn how to do it. PP will allow your images to have more punch.
Learn how to tweak your images to make your whites whiter and your darks darker (contrast). Push up the saturation to make the colors brighter. Use USM (UnSharp Mask) to sharpen the images a bit more.
With a little more work you could have some great looking images.