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Author Topic: F1 Photography Advice  (Read 18615 times)

Lloyd

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2013, 07:33:38 PM »
I went to the practice and qualifying sessions of this weekend’s F1 race in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).  Representative photos can be found at http://www.pbase.com/lebthree/2013_austin_f1

The COTA web site indicated they had no restrictions on the size of detachable lenses.  So on Friday’s practice day I decided to bring my old manual focus Canon FD 800mm with Ed Mika’s adapter on my 5Diii.  I thought that trying to capture these high-speed cars with an 800mm on a monopod with no autofocus or image stabilization would be an exercise in futility, but I got some great shots.  Keeper rate was far south of 50%, but I am no pro and don’t have to get the shot.  It also helps that I live in Austin, so this is not a once in a lifetime opportunity that I don’t want to blow.

I also brought a friend’s 400mm 5.6 which I have used on the COTA track before for the motorcycle GP and it would be a great option.  I didn’t use it too much as I wanted to experiment with the 800mm.  The 400mm is obviously a more portable option than the 2 foot long and heavy 800mm.  However, next year I probably will just bring the 800 to practice day as it was just a lot of fun trying to manually focus and get the shot.  Pre-focusing on a spot worked the most reliably, but it was fun to try to also attempt to focus on the cars in random areas.

On Saturday, qualifying day, I decided to recover from my hernia from carrying around the 800 on Friday, and just brought my 5Diii and a 24-105.  I was sitting on the 23rd row at the straight following turn 15 so my line of sight to the cars was just above the top of the fence.  I tried my hand at 125/sec exposure pans to get motion blur and initially got a very low keeper rate.  I got better when I tried to focus in on one spot on the car and keep it in my center focus spot as the car flew by.  Needless to say, the photos on my Pbase account using the 24-105 are heavily cropped.

The bottom line for me was to have good quality lenses, even if they may lack such things as autofocus and image stabilization, be prepared to take a lot of photos to up your chances of keepers and, if you are going to have to do a lot of cropping, the more resolution your camera has the better.   









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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2013, 07:33:38 PM »

Roo

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2013, 01:46:58 AM »
Great shots Lloyd.  Last year's shots were good but these are a step above by nicely capturing the cars in motion.
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Lloyd

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2013, 10:49:17 AM »
Great shots Lloyd.  Last year's shots were good but these are a step above by nicely capturing the cars in motion.

It's odd but I had more keepers manually focusing with the 800mm than I did trying to pan with the 24-105mm.  I think it is a matter of more experience manually focusing with the 800mm than panning.

I see so many posts from very experienced photographers that have such a high skill level they become bored as they have very few mountains left to climb.  For me, I am at the foothills, with many new skills to aquire.  It is kind of like seeing your favorite movie for the first time.  So far, I am enjoying the journey. Thanks for noticing the progression. 
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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2013, 01:25:03 PM »
Great shots Lloyd.  Last year's shots were good but these are a step above by nicely capturing the cars in motion.

It's odd but I had more keepers manually focusing with the 800mm than I did trying to pan with the 24-105mm.  I think it is a matter of more experience manually focusing with the 800mm than panning.

I see so many posts from very experienced photographers that have such a high skill level they become bored as they have very few mountains left to climb.  For me, I am at the foothills, with many new skills to aquire.  It is kind of like seeing your favorite movie for the first time.  So far, I am enjoying the journey. Thanks for noticing the progression.

Those are nice shots Lloyd! Your panned shots provide a nice sense of speed while the one with the ferraris has a feeeling of rivalry in it that is interesting.

As for your AF issues, I think that, as I said in my previous post, if you are using too short a focal length the AF sensors are going to catch bigger objects with high contrast instead of the details of your subject. For example, helmet details are going to be too small for the AF sensor to resolve and it might just catch the curb in the background instead.

I enjoy this thread so much I am just going to have to add a few more of my pics...
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

Arctic Photo

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2013, 02:28:25 PM »
Thanks for the responses guys, and there's some really nice photos here. Think I will sell on the 55-250 and start saving for the 70-200. I would think it should be sharp enough to crop in if necessary.  I'll do my best to get there as early as possible and have a scout around.

One last thing, would the 28-135 (there's a chance I might be able to borrow a 24-105L) be wide enough to use as a walk around or would I be better looking at something like the 15-85?

Thanks again.
The 15-85 is a great lens, but for this venue the 24-105 or 28-135 will be wide enough. Sepang is huge, between the grandstands there is a very big space and you are not likely to need anything wider.

Lloyd

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2013, 03:39:51 PM »
As for your AF issues, I think that, as I said in my previous post, if you are using too short a focal length the AF sensors are going to catch bigger objects with high contrast instead of the details of your subject. For example, helmet details are going to be too small for the AF sensor to resolve and it might just catch the curb in the background instead.

I wish I could blame my panning issues on the autofocus.  I am afraid it was just poor panning technique.  I think I got a little better at it as the day went on. 

You have posted some great shots and your second photo with the reflection of the car in the puddle is fantastic.
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canon1dxman

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2013, 03:44:03 PM »
Times have changed in F1. I used to do a lot of motorsport work, including the RAC Rally as a press photographer (when it was a real rally!), Le Mans 24 Hours and loads of club events. This was all pre digital and using various film SLR's, Canon, Nikon and Pentax.

In the mid 80's, I managed to blag a competitor's ticket (from a support race) which gave me pit access right up until the start. Great opportunity to get all the cars in the pit lane etc and a memorable one of Prost and friends watching Concorde flying over. Track access too and I didn't really need anything more than 300mm then.

Can you imagine how difficult it is nowadays? Got Bernie's mobile no? Still not enough! I really wish I had kept going but i got harder and harder to comply with all the demands of F1 bureaucracy.

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2013, 03:44:03 PM »

scotty512

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2013, 05:06:40 PM »
i went to Silverstone last year with my 5Dmk3 and 70-200 2.8 and was pretty close to the track so much so that I didnt have to always use the 2x convertor, however if you have that setup becareful on panning at 2.8 as i had a few shots that had the front in focus and the rear of the car OOF but overall for my first attempt I was happy with my results

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjAvEqS9

my best advice would be to go and stand near a road and take shots of passing cars to practise panning and what type of shots you want thehn you can perfect the technique rather than using the precious time at the F1 track for testing

hope that helps and enjoy your day!
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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2013, 05:09:05 PM »
...
I wish I could blame my panning issues on the autofocus.  I am afraid it was just poor panning technique.  I think I got a little better at it as the day went on. 

You have posted some great shots and your second photo with the reflection of the car in the puddle is fantastic.

It is true that panning is not that easy but you are right that you pick up the pace along a day of shooting. Nevertheless, I find it hard to strike a good balance between a shutter speed low enough to blur the background and one high enough to still end up with some keepers. I shot a lot around 1/250s but that is too fast and only provides the strict minimum in terms of bg blur. I definitely am not one of those bored by not having anything left to learn...

Thanks for the good comments about my pics.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 05:13:19 PM by IMG_0001 »
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

ajfotofilmagem

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2013, 08:47:48 PM »
I went to the practice and qualifying sessions of this weekend’s F1 race in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).  Representative photos can be found at http://www.pbase.com/lebthree/2013_austin_f1

The COTA web site indicated they had no restrictions on the size of detachable lenses.  So on Friday’s practice day I decided to bring my old manual focus Canon FD 800mm with Ed Mika’s adapter on my 5Diii.  I thought that trying to capture these high-speed cars with an 800mm on a monopod with no autofocus or image stabilization would be an exercise in futility, but I got some great shots.  Keeper rate was far south of 50%, but I am no pro and don’t have to get the shot.  It also helps that I live in Austin, so this is not a once in a lifetime opportunity that I don’t want to blow.

I also brought a friend’s 400mm 5.6 which I have used on the COTA track before for the motorcycle GP and it would be a great option.  I didn’t use it too much as I wanted to experiment with the 800mm.  The 400mm is obviously a more portable option than the 2 foot long and heavy 800mm.  However, next year I probably will just bring the 800 to practice day as it was just a lot of fun trying to manually focus and get the shot.  Pre-focusing on a spot worked the most reliably, but it was fun to try to also attempt to focus on the cars in random areas.

On Saturday, qualifying day, I decided to recover from my hernia from carrying around the 800 on Friday, and just brought my 5Diii and a 24-105.  I was sitting on the 23rd row at the straight following turn 15 so my line of sight to the cars was just above the top of the fence.  I tried my hand at 125/sec exposure pans to get motion blur and initially got a very low keeper rate.  I got better when I tried to focus in on one spot on the car and keep it in my center focus spot as the car flew by.  Needless to say, the photos on my Pbase account using the 24-105 are heavily cropped.

The bottom line for me was to have good quality lenses, even if they may lack such things as autofocus and image stabilization, be prepared to take a lot of photos to up your chances of keepers and, if you are going to have to do a lot of cropping, the more resolution your camera has the better.   


Congratulations for the photos. From time to time, it is good to try something different and "unattainable" with limited equipment. Modern lenses focusing Super fast can leave accommodated photographers shoot many good pictures, and stop doing that photo "impossible" with old equipment. This reminds us that the most important is the photographer.

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #40 on: November 19, 2013, 04:49:28 AM »
Some fantastic shots here!

I haven't been fortunate enough to be able to photograph F1 cars for a long time.  Last time was in 2008 at Silverstone, where I got these (amongst others):





Back then I was shooting with a Canon 350D/Rebel XT and 70-300mm IS.

dilbert

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #41 on: November 19, 2013, 06:04:22 AM »
I'll be going to the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix next year and i'm looking for some advice on what kit would be best to take.  I have grandstand tickets on the pit straight for all three days and also might get pit lane access probably on the practice day through a friend who works for one of the teams.

I currently have an Eos 50D, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 28-135, and Canon 55-250.  I have been considering selling the 55-250 and getting a 70-200 F4.  Would this be a good idea or would the extra reach of the 55-250 be more useful.

Here's some advice for you that you won't appreciate until after the event: leave your kit at home and enjoy the race. Leave the photography to the pro's.

dilbert

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2013, 06:11:53 AM »
I went to the Austin F1 race last year and was sitting in a grandstand at the end of a long straight.  I took a lot of pictures which can be found at http://www.pbase.com/lebthree/f1_austin .  Most of these are heavily cropped and I pretty much loaded all but the God awful up on pbase so it should give you a good idea of what worked and what didn’t.  As I recall, I was using my 70-200 2.8 for most of these.   It also appears that I took most of them at f/4.  I also used my 1.4 extender on a few.  Therefore, your lens selection may work out great.


All of the ones I looked at showed 800mm...

Quote
The most important thing to bring is ear protection.  The sound is painfully loud and you will suffer hearing damage if you expose yourself to this for any extended period of time.  In Austin, the sound is magnified in the main straight as it is a canyon between large grandstands on each side.   

Walk around a bit before the race with a good walk around lens.  Some of the people attending the race are a spectacle in themselves.


Especially those of the fairer sex :*)

Quote
The crowds, fences and limitations on movement on race day make photographing the race action very problematic.  If you have a press-pass with access to the areas with holes in the fences or scaffolding to shoot from, that is a different matter.  For everyone else, my thoughts on race day are to bring what you have, take a few shots and enjoy the experience.


+1

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2013, 06:11:53 AM »

dilbert

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #43 on: November 19, 2013, 06:13:07 AM »
My F1 photography advice is that take pics of grid girls. We've all seen the cars from all kinds of angles already. From my own F1 pictures I like the grid girl pics the most.

And the girls are models so they love to have their picture taken and will pose for almost anyone!

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2013, 10:06:53 AM »
Here's some advice for you that you won't appreciate until after the event: leave your kit at home and enjoy the race. Leave the photography to the pro's.

That is probably one of the best advice the internet has ever hosted! After all, why would anybody want to do something that he likes just for the fun of it while pros can do it much better and are paid for it. And that is also a reminder that pros are born pros and never gained from experience.

Also forget about family pictures, portraits of your kids, travel photography and all. I mean, enjoy the moment instead...

And it is so all encompassing if you think about it. Do not cook since professional cooks are better and you certainly won't enjoy a home cooked meal, be driven to work, leave your child to the daycare and most of all, GET BACK TO WORK cause that is what you do professionally don't you.

I just hope there ain't such a thing as a professional moment-life enjoyer otherwise we are screwed. ;)
What a mess, my camera's sensor is full of massless particules that keep on trying to behave like waves!

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2013, 10:06:53 AM »