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TOPIC: Critique Please (Dirt Track Racing)

Critique Please (Dirt Track Racing) 2 years 7 months ago #5749

  • DavidN
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I’m taking you up on your offer via Twitter earlier today and uploading some of my most recent attempts at photographing my nephew while racing his 410 Sprint Car in the Midwest. I live in Texas so only get one or two opportunities to do this every year.

These photo’s were taking with my Nikon D7100 and an Nikkor AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm F/3.5-5.6G ED VRII lens. I believe I shot these using Shutter Priority – some were shot using my Nikon SB-910 Speedlight in the TTL mode (the ones after dark).

When I return this year I’ll have my new Nikon 70/200 f2.8 lens along with a Sekonic L-478DR light meter and an Expodisc. Hoping to have some better results next time around. Plus will plan to implement any / all feedback you can give me.

There’s several challenges – at least for me at these races:

1) It’s dirty, dusty, can be muddy, and LOUD (I don’t mind the loud)
2) These cars are moving FAST (~ 100 mph) – especially when you are close in the infield.
3) There’s plenty of other photographers around – some probably professionals (or making $ at it) – other’s are family members. I’m sure there’s some protocol I’m not aware of in these situations – such as who owns what space and who can take what pictures when. So far no fists have been shaken at me (at least while I was looking).
4) The lighting changes – when these races start in the late afternoon there’s usually plenty of sun – but by the time the final feature runs it can be near midnight.
5) At night – different positions on the track seem to have different lighting (in terms of brightness).
6) The Grandstands put more distance between you and the car – which can make them seem a little slower but seems like the better pictures are taken from the infield.

It’s been several months – but I do believe I was attempting to “pan” on some of these shots – in hopes of getting the car in sharp focus, the wheels blurred and the background slightly blurred. Had I known I’d have this opportunity I would have made some notes!

I notice some photographers have no flash, other’s have some gargantuan looking flashes (for sure not a Nikon Speedlight on a hot shoe – and I have no idea what kinds they are using).

I assume you can see all of the EXIF info in the files so I’m not detailing any of that here.

Thank you so much in advance for any advice / pointers / things to do or not to do!

I’ve learned SO much from your videos – my wife thinks I may need a 12 step program LOL!


DSC_0096 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_0062 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_0063 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_1037 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_1099 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_1100 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_1107 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_1119 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr

DSC_1133 by david.nienhiser, on Flickr
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Critique Please (Dirt Track Racing) 2 years 7 months ago #5750

  • jerry
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You have sharp images, so thats a good thing, 200mm limits how close you can get, unless you can use your feet. 0063 would be a nice one cropped more, but not bad coming into turn 4 I’m guessing. You talk about blurred backgrounds, that is what I call pan blur. That starts at 1/60th of a second. It is fairly hard to do unless you do it enough.. some shots are underexposed. I do like 1133, it is close and fairly well exposed, could be a tad brighter, the car that is.

1107 appears to have pan blur started as you can tell by the blurred text on the wheels and wall. Could be a bit brighter and maybe closer and crop more off the right side to get it more outta center (following the ROT’s on this one).

You do have a good set of images.
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Critique Please (Dirt Track Racing) 2 years 7 months ago #5754

DON'T WASTE YOUR $$$ >>> Sekonic L-478DR light meter and an Expodisc

3. Make nice with the other photographers there you might learn something
4. Use your camera's light meter on matrix mode
5. I'm not surprised. I prefer aperture priority for that kind of situation but you need to practice with it.
6. Try different locations for a better overall experience and feel to your set of images.

Flash is up to you, I prefer to stay away from it in a situation like this but sometimes you don't have a choice.
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Critique Please (Dirt Track Racing) 2 years 7 months ago #5755

  • Brent Ross
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Hmmm i think flash would be useless at your distance unless you are using something with like 1000ws not that ws is the only factor in brightness of a flash.

It would be fun to set up a couple parabolic umbrallas and monster studio flash heads and blind everyone as you transport the sun to the track :pinch:
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