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Author Topic: F1 Photography Advice  (Read 48284 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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IMG_0001

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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.

abirkill

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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.

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #41 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!

celltech

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2013, 10:56:18 AM »
Just finished processing my COTA F1 pics from the weekend.  We went all 3 days scoping the place out.  Our plan was to camp out at turn 11 thinking a lot of cars would overcook their brakes/tires and get some good action in the turn.  We saw some doing it in practice, but on game day nobody slid off!

At the start of the race I was at the hill edge sharing space with a lot of big lenses.  Everything I shot was with a 5D3 and a rented 400 f/5.6  Turned out to be a great combo and I can highly recommend it.  So I took a few frames and then went to join the family on the hill.  Bad idea...  The heat and lack of breeze down there, combined with the crowd just made it...boring.  So me and the woman ended up packing our stuff and walking around to turns 9 and 10.  The race is truly different at every turn and if I go back next year I will just walk as many of the corners as I can in the 2 hours.

The worst part of the weekend was the heat and harsh sun.  There were a lot of sick looking euros out there about to pass out.  Good thing I am a native Texan.  I am not a pro but spent some time trying to get rid of the washed out look of the raw photos.

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #42 on: November 19, 2013, 10:56:18 AM »

Lloyd

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #43 on: November 19, 2013, 11:28:54 AM »
One other thing that I noticed when processing my photos was that at certain angles the sun caused a lot of glare and reflections from some of the helmets, face shields and other reflective surfaces of the cars.  I had polarizer on my 800, but forgot it for my 24-105.  I think one of the things people may want to add to their check list is to bring a polarizing filter.  I don't remember if this has been mentioned yet on this thread, but it is something you may want to consider having in your bag for one of these events.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 01:27:56 PM by Lloyd »
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V8Beast

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2013, 11:58:23 AM »
One thing that is both a plus and a minus (you may know this already):  2014 sees all new smaller V6 engines and chassis, with state of the art turbo charging that is all combined with electric motor assist/batteries (I don't like this part)...but it's possible the cars might be a bit quieter than the current V8's.  Obviously they won't be as quiet as normal "turbo" cars can be.

I just got back from the USGP, and I feel very fortunate that I got to hear the 2.4L naturally aspirated V-8s screaming away at 18,000 rpm one last time. While I appreciate the technology involved with next's year's turbo V-6s, the sound is much more subdued. Mercedes recently posted a sound clip of the 2014 V-6 running a simulated lap at Monza on the dyno:

2014: A lap with the new Mercedes-Benz V6!

Still a nice sound, but not nearly as visceral at the naturally aspirated V-8s.

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Re: F1 Photography Advice
« Reply #44 on: November 19, 2013, 11:58:23 AM »