Road Racing Thread

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by RaceTripper, May 13, 2008.

  1. macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #1
    Someone asked me to do a thread of race photos, so here's a big set of ones I did at Petit Le Mans (ALMS @ Road Atlanta, October 2007).

    I also have more complete photo galleries for:
    12 Hours of Sebring 2007
    Road America 2007
    Petit Le Mans 2007
    12 Hours of Sebring 2008

    If you like roundy-round taxicab racing, start your own thread. ;-)

    These were all shot with a D200 and 70-200/2.8 VR. Minimal post-processing other than cropping, some white balance, and a bit of tone and sharpening here and there. Enjoy...

    No. 1
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    No. 3
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    No. 4
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    No. 6
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    No. 12
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    No. 13
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    No. 16
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    No. 17
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    No. 18
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    No. 20
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    No. 23
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    No. 26
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    No. 28
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    No. 29
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    No. 31
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    No. 33
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    No. 34
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    No. 36
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    No. 37
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    No. 38
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  2. macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #2
    Fabulous images - thanks for sharing!
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    zagato27

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    The Hill
    #3
    Geeez, I didn't know that I was "someone":confused:. Anyway, nice photos. Perhaps others would/will contribute. I'm always interested in things that go "fast". Cheers
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #4
    Another set. Same event. After these, someone else can add to the thread...

    No. 2
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    No. 5
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    No. 7
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    No. 8
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    No. 9
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    No. 10
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    No. 11
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    No. 14
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    No. 15
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    No. 19
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    No. 21
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    No. 22
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    No. 24
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    No. 25
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    No. 27
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    No. 30
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    No. 32
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    No. 35
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  5. macrumors 68030

    srf4real

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Location:
    paradise beach FL
    #5
    :eek:Totally astonished. Do you pre-focus for these or is your auto focus lightning fast!? Also, I am very interested in the exif data. I might find it on my own if it's still with the image files... thank you for sharing. I hope we have more participants in the thread.:D
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #6
    Thanks. Glad you like them.

    I don't prefocus. It helps to have good equipment. The Nikkor 70-200/2.8 AF-S VR is an awesome sports lens. That's all I use now (and a 17-55/2.8 for paddock, people, off-track, etc).

    I would love the have the Nikkor 200-400/4 VR, but that baby is $5K.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    #7
    Agreed. These are great pictures, would you mind sharing the Metadata and maybe a little guide on how you take these?
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    #8
    Wow, great photos! Thanks for sharing.

    Also, it only makes me want a 70-200 that much more. Some day.
     
  9. macrumors member

    Driver

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    Rollingwood, Tx
    #9
    Great picts. The Maserati has to be one of the sexiest modern racecars there is. The MC12 road car makes it's baby brother (Enzo) look like a snot nosed kid. Keep 'em coming.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #10
    Here are some more complete photo galleries for:
    Petit Le Mans 2007
    12 Hours of Sebring 2008

    The EXIF is embedded in the jpegs. You can look them up. Honestly, I'd rather work on getting more pictures ready than publishing EXIF data.

    Shooting the pictures involves panning the cars with the camera. It takes practice, and I have probably taken around 20,000 race photos since I started. To get the background and wheel blur for a sense of speed/motion I set my camera to shutter priority and a shutter speed of around 1/200. With good light I get the good depth of field i need to have the entire car in focus. As the sun goes down I have to start cranking up ISO (I'd really love to get a D300 for it's better high ISO). The f/2.8 lens gives me that nice open max aperture for best auto-focus performance. Sometimes I use a 1.4x TC and have dabbled with a 1.7x TC. I once had a 300mm prime, but sold it to fund the 70-200 VR.

    It really comes down to good panning technique. I set my stance to the position where I want my good shots, I pivot towards the oncoming car, pick a spot near the driver to focus on, and just try to keep it there while panning. I shoot in continuous mode and capture 5 shots/sec with my camera. I might get 8-10 shots on a car as it goes by, and hope for one of them to be decent. I still have a lot to learn.

    I've only been doing photography at all for about 18 months. I bought my rig just to do races and that's really about all the photography I do. Since I started I've done 5 races:
    12 Hours of Sebring 2007
    U.S. Grand Prix (Indianapolis), 2007
    ALMS/ChampCar at Road America, 2007
    Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, 2007
    12 Hours of Sebring 2008

    For the rest of the year I'll be back to Road America and Road Atlanta. My wife and I were planning a trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the Monza & Spa F1 Grands Prix, but have put that on hold while the US dollar is weak against the Euro.

    For each of these events I take about 4000 shots (that's about 40 GB of camera raw files) in about 3 1/2 days of shooting. I end up keeping around 5% and really like about 1%. The rest get thrown away (although I archive all my RAW files before I do anything).

    I need to figure out a way I can script removing my discarded raw (.NEF) files from Time Machine. They take up an awful lot of space. One way I've been doing it is to rename my picture folder when I'm done culling shots, let TM take a new backup, and then go in to TM and delete the old folder from all backups. I just freed up about 60 GB in my TM backup doing that.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #11
    great motor racing pics!

    Thanks very much :)
     
  12. macrumors member

    Driver

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    Rollingwood, Tx
    #12
    Again, Good picts. Love the McQueen quote in your sig as well. there's another in my sig, goes hand in hand with yours. :)
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #13
    Another one I like is, "You're more likely to lose in the corners than to win on the straights." Don't know where it came from.
     
  14. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #14
    No, no, no- that lens is abou 250 $20 8x10 prints amortized over about 10 years, or 25 $20 8x10 prints a year or just over 2 $20 prints a month. :D
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    ipodtoucher

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    #15
    I have always enjoyed your work....I just wish we had any kind of races like that near here.... I would love to give a try to this they look soooo amazing
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #16
    My wife and I do road trips for the races. It's 1100 miles away for Sebring, 600 for Petit Le Mans, 450 for Road America. But it's worth it.

    Glad you enjoy the pictures. I've got a bunch more I'm working on, and will plan to post more this weekend.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    ipodtoucher

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    #17
    Haha well at 19 and still in college, it's a bit hard for me to travel 1000 miles away hahaha I just looked through the 12 Hours of Sebring Gallery and really enjoyed it!!

    So do you like sell these? I would definitely send these to the car owners and show that talent!! haha you could maybe make a little dough on the side hahaha
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #18
    Great pics. I tried shooting a Ferrari event in CT once and didn't have near the success.

    I've always liked the night time shot of a car with brakes glowing...any of those lying around?
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    #19
    Wow. What I'd give for some of these in high res!:eek:
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #20
    I've never sold a photo. I'm totally amateur, and do it for the fun of it. My wife loves going to the races too, so that makes it more fun. I'm not good enough -- IMHO -- to do pro. I have started doing some prints and having the drivers sign them. Last year I got a great picture of the R10 at Road America. Had it printed 16 x 24 and took it to Road Atlanta. The whole team signed it and Alan McNish personalized it (he was the driver in the photo). Now it's framed and hanging in my home. This is the shot.

    [​IMG]

    Those are hard to get. You need the right combination of light, position on the track, and getting the shot. Here's one from the 12 Hours of Sebring I took earlier this year.

    [​IMG]
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #21
    Forgot about some of the best tracks sights. The Kumho Girls, from Sebring 2007...

    [​IMG]
     
  22. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #22
    Just in this thread you've got a fair number of salable images, you might want to look at the cost of travel vs. the cost of incorporation and see if you can write off the travel as a business expense and sell enough shots for the 200-400 or a 300/2.8. Seems like you're not shy about approaching the teams, that could get you "shots with the driver" type stuff, or maybe just business selling them photos for signed prints- you've got the panning down, and for motorsports, that's the biggest hurdle.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 68030

    RaceTripper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #23
    Thank you for the vote of confidence.

    I think the other issue is I may not have release to sell the photos. I'd have to check, but I'm pretty sure the tracks and or ALMS/IMSA have ticket disclaimers that photos are for personal use only. Getting photo race credentials is not simple. I've been told that IMSA (the sanctioning body for the ALMS series) has been cracking down, and that you have to show you are shooting for some journal, etc. I think that's to keep the number down since there is a safety issue with too many photographers.
     
  24. macrumors 68000

    ipodtoucher

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Location:
    Cedar Park, TX
    #24
    Yeah they can be pretty brutal....but if you show the photos to say the Audi team and mention that you are not a professional, and they hire you our something like that they would give you a pass...you shouldn't get in trouble for just showing your work haha But I totally agree with compuwar, you have some super salable pictures!
     
  25. macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #25
    Trust me, it's deserved praise. I know what it takes to get these shots.

    The only time I've shot motorsports inside the fence without credentials was turn one at Indy during quals back in the '80s. IMO, you should have a small portfolio printed out to take with you- here are the things that should work:

    Get a team onboard. Every time I've shot trackside other than the once at Indy it as a photographer for a racer or race team. They handled getting my name on the list, I handled picking up the creds, signing the form, etc. You'll want to have insurance (hence the incorporation) and that's about it- they also can deal with the sanctioning body. Remember, even if you're shooting for one team, the creds and forms should cover any shot you get- so just give the team some good shots and the rest are yours. Start with "Hey, who's your team photographer?"

    Get the track onboard. If you have time, get hold of the track's PR person, and see if you can get in that way- the portfolio will help, and if they can't or won't issue creds, they may give you ideas for who will.

    Get the governing body onboard. Best because then you'll be credentialled for any of their events. If you can do a fair volume of sales to fans and teams, giving them shots is actually not a bad strategy- but hold that in your back pocket- and only dangle it if it's necessary.

    Go to a publication and get them to take you on as a stringer, and in exchange for an assignment letter and them arranging creds, offer them shots at their normal rates. Have the portfolio on line, but send them a CD and a letter- go for a pub that has small coverage and doesn't normally have pictures and your chances of success are greater.

    If you have a hometown paper with a sports section, it might be worth a try, but a car magazine would be better- and if the sanctioning body has one, then go there first- with your best shots- if you can write, then do an article or two as well, but either way you've got a better shot than most.

    If you can get the hometown paper for a team or driver who's in the hunt, that might be an easy sell- but I'd do that last, and make sure your agreement with whomever has you licensing them the images and retaining the rights.

    You've got the skills, you've got the portfolio- there's no reason you shouldn't be getting paid to show up at the races instead of paying to show up and get in. Insurance is about $500/yr, incorporating is about $300 in most states- just writing off the millage on a 1000 mile trip twice a year would ROI the whole shebang.

    Print out a few pictures, find an official at the next race you attend- offer them a couple of prints and ask them if they can point you at the right folks- be open, and you might hit gold right off the bat.

    Get off the pot, the market will let you know if your images are good enough- and they are. I've seen folks sell much worse- especially at an event where you get the emotional sale- but do that after you've got some income and can afford to be a vendor.

    I'll take a D3 for Christmas once you're all successful, thanks! ;)

    [addendum]

    I count 20 salable shots in this thread, at least half of them are top-of-the-line. You could do well with advertising stock and any of the manufacturers/teams. I'd be surprised if you couldn't get at least two teams represented here to try to credential you. That Lowes shot with the missing back tire has really interesting sponsor connotations too...
     

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