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Shooting motorsports with M mode

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Thread started 10 Jun 2008 (Tuesday) 18:07   
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Field ­ of ­ 33
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In about 10 days, I am going to the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway. I don't think that I have to tell people that it is an outdoor event and subject to constantly changing lighting due to clouds coming and going. Is it worth it to try to shoot in M mode or am I better off in Tv mode? I am going to be shooting RAW for the first time so I figured I might as well try to go the whole way and just shoot manual as well. I'm concerned though that if clouds come and go, I will lose good shots because I'm constantly trying to adjust exposure settings to compensate. The cars won't wait for me to take their pictures :D

BTW, for those of you that DO shoot manual, do you usually try to put the EV indicator right at 0 or do you typical go towards +1?

Post #1, Jun 10, 2008 18:07:58


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iamaelephant
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I have never shot motorsports (or any outdoor sports) so take what I say with a large grain of salt, but here we go. In my opinion shooting outdoors is a great candidate for fully manual shooting. The light may change over the course of the day, but never rapidly so you will always have time to adjust to compensate. With a bit of practise you should be able to figure out roughly how many stops you need to adjust based on the amount of cloud cover coming in and you should be able to see in advance when the sunlight will be blocked.

On the other hand, if you shoot in Av or Tv modes you will find your camera metering changes your exposure a lot more often than you would in manual mode. In evaluative or center-weighted metering mode you will get a different exposure depending on if you frame a shot with a lot of the crowd in them (crowds are generally quite dark) or if you frame a shot in which the track takes up most of the frame (which will be much brighter). But keep in mind what you really want to expose properly - the track and the cars. If you are using spot metering you will get different exposures with a black car than a lighter coloured car. Your camera is not as smart as you are and will make decisions which seem downright illogical considering what you are shooting. My advice would be to set your manual exposure to expose the cars and track properly. You may end up with slightly dark grandstands or slightly lighter infields but the subject will be properly exposed.

I generally try to get the EV indicator at around +1/3 - +2/3, but the main goal here is to make an exposure which is balanced to the right of the histogram without clipping. So try to get the indicator at around +2/3, chimp a test shot and adjust accordingly.

Post #2, Jun 10, 2008 18:53:47


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SnlpeR
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i wouldnt do manual for motorports
where im from..the sun comes and goes because of the clouds.....fast!
i would normally use av or tv depending on what i want to capture
and most of the time im in center weighted metering
ill reduce EC for darker cars and make it higher for white cars
leave it at 0 or +1/3 for silver, yellow, light blue, etc cars

Post #3, Jun 10, 2008 19:04:10 as a reply to iamaelephant's post 10 minutes earlier.




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yogestee
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When I'm setting up the first thing I do is a light check irrespective if I'm shooting in Manual (which I normally shoot) or any other mode..I take a meter reading off something that is a mid tone like grass or the back of my hand,,check out the historgram , adjust if needed and use that setting..This works great if the light is constant..If the light is changing due to clouds etc you will have to make an educated guess..Take a reading when it is cloudy..The difference might only be 1/2 stop which can be adjusted during post processing..Any more than 1/2 stop I would alter the exposure in camera..

Motorsports take a reading off the track itself,,it should lie in the mid tone area..Use 400 ISO and a shutterspeed of 1/1000th or more to freeze the action..Using Tv mode is good if you aren't confident using manual..

Try to set up on a corner where the cars etc will have to slow down..Prefocus on the corner..When the cars come into the viewfinder hit the button and rattle off a few frames..Check out the result..This was my MO in my film days when I was shooting with all manual cameras and motorcycle racing..

Post #4, Jun 10, 2008 19:56:24 as a reply to SnlpeR's post 52 minutes earlier.


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PhotosGuy
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I take a meter reading off something that is a mid tone like grass or the back of my hand,,check out the historgram , adjust if needed and use that setting.

That's a lot like what I do: First set the f-stop & shutter speed you need. Then adjust the ISO. Need an exposure crutch?

This shows how the subject can affect the exposure & why manual keeps me worry free: Post #47

In motorsports, if the sun goes behind a cloud, I can change the ISO in about 1 second without taking the cam from my eye. For FAST grab shots, RAW saves my butt. (Again!) ;)

Motorsport Shooting Tips, Tutorials and Advice

Great post by John Thawley:
what settings to get wheel and backround blur for car racing...

Why do you guys use manual? AV makes more sense.

Post #5, Jun 10, 2008 21:16:00


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gdrMatt
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i shoot motorsports in manual mode 95% of the time... like PhotosGuy. but I'll set up the Tv mode to where i want it, Like at 1/250 for those weird situations, so i can switch to that quickly.

Post #6, Sep 24, 2008 18:07:48


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Cadwell
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I use shutter priority (TV) mode most of the time. Usually with a shutter speed set to 1/320th down to 1/200th for head-on shots and often lower for pans. The last thing you want to do is use a high shutter speed for motorsport unless you're a fan of those gorgeous "parked on the circuit" photos.

I will switch into manual metering mode for "tricky situations". GT cars running with headlights, bright sunshine blowing highlights (unusual in the UK) and fog (more common).

Post #7, Sep 25, 2008 02:47:38


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ice8420
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gdrMatt wrote in post #6374513external link
i shoot motorsports in manual mode 95% of the time... like PhotosGuy. but I'll set up the Tv mode to where i want it, Like at 1/250 for those weird situations, so i can switch to that quickly.

What he said :)

Post #8, Sep 26, 2008 00:05:32


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Simon ­ Harrison
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What Glenn (Cadwell) said, unless I know that lighting conditions are going to remain very constant which is very, very unusual here in the UK. The following gallery was shot entirely in M mode, as the sky was flat grey and for once, light levels didn't vary much at all: -

http://www.srh-motorsport-photography.fotopic.ne​t/c1573138.htmlexternal link

Usually I shoot in Tv mode, but whichever mode I'm shooting in my approach is essentially the same. Set the shutter speed I want, and then vary ISO to give me the DoF I want.

Cheers,

Simon.

Post #9, Sep 26, 2008 00:58:27


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michael_
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personally i think it also comes down to the body you are using, i have found the M3 meetering in Tv and Av to be bloody brilliant so can confidently use it 95% of the time for MS work, but as Glenn mentioned in the tricky situations you have to go to M or when you have a lot of very Dark cars and very white cars which tend to either under or over expose by about 2/3 to 1 stop

Post #10, Oct 03, 2008 17:26:09


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Moppie
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I pick a section of track every time I stop to take a photo, and get a spot meter reading from it that gives me an exposure I like.

If the light doesn't change, then I can use that reading for an hour or so, shooting manual. Usually chimping the histogram on the odd white or black car.

If the lighting is changing due typical NZ weather, then I will take another reading off of the same bit of track when it is covered by shadow and work out what the difference is.

Then just adjust the exposure as needed as the clouds come and go.

If I move to a new track position I simply check a new piece of track.

This provides nice consistent exposures regardless of what colour the car is, if there is lots of background in on shoot and lots of track in the next.
I don't have to worry about adjusting EC, and I total control over the exposure.
Then I can worry about framing and focus.

Post #11, Oct 06, 2008 00:08:02


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pastanley
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Field of 33 wrote in post #5698245external link
In about 10 days, I am going to the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway. I don't think that I have to tell people that it is an outdoor event and subject to constantly changing lighting due to clouds coming and going. Is it worth it to try to shoot in M mode or am I better off in Tv mode? I am going to be shooting RAW for the first time so I figured I might as well try to go the whole way and just shoot manual as well. I'm concerned though that if clouds come and go, I will lose good shots because I'm constantly trying to adjust exposure settings to compensate. The cars won't wait for me to take their pictures :D

BTW, for those of you that DO shoot manual, do you usually try to put the EV indicator right at 0 or do you typical go towards +1?

Manual mode is best used for indoor/low light sports where you need large aperature and high shutter speed. Try using TV mode at the Indy car race (providing that it is a daytime race and not night).You will need TV to stop the high speed cars.

Post #12, Oct 07, 2008 01:01:00


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Simon ­ Harrison
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pastanley wrote in post #6451320external link
You will need TV to stop the high speed cars.

That statement is incorrect. You will need the correct shutter speed to 'stop' the high speed cars. That shutter speed can be achieved by either using Tv mode, shooting in full manual exposure or even shooting in Av mode if you want to.

The biggest advantage that using Tv mode gives you is when you light levels are constantly changing eg a day when the sun keeps moving in and out of the clouds. If the light is consistent, then M works just as well as Tv regardless of what your shooting - provided you know how to set the correct exposure.

Simon.

Post #13, Oct 07, 2008 03:39:15


Simon

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Simon Harrison wrote in post #6451627external link
That statement is incorrect. You will need the correct shutter speed to 'stop' the high speed cars. That shutter speed can be achieved by either using Tv mode, shooting in full manual exposure or even shooting in Av mode if you want to.

The biggest advantage that using Tv mode gives you is when you light levels are constantly changing eg a day when the sun keeps moving in and out of the clouds. If the light is consistent, then M works just as well as Tv regardless of what your shooting - provided you know how to set the correct exposure.

Simon.

+1.

Post #14, Oct 07, 2008 04:55:44


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gdrMatt
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Simon Harrison wrote in post #6451627external link
If the light is consistent, then M works just as well as Tv regardless of what your shooting - provided you know how to set the correct exposure.

Thats not really true.. depending on your exposure mode, the background, glare and color of the car will change the camera exposure even if the lighting is consistent.. it could under or over exposing the photo.. in Manual mode the exposure won't change at all. if you have the camera exposed for ambient light your photos will be more accurate.

Post #15, Oct 07, 2008 08:58:07


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