GO GO GO!
I’ve been asked a couple of times how I got the shots that I took of speedway last weekend. I’ll try to explain the technique I used which is a technique called panning. Firstly here’s the disclaimers!
You need to approach this technique experimentally – it can provide some awesome results but it can be frustrating to master (and I definitely haven't!). Which brings me to my second disclaimer which is more of an admission! I took well over 100 shots on that Saturday night in order to get a handful that I was happy with, where the fence post wasn’t obscuring half the car and the car was actually in focus!
However, it is fun and it’s a great way to show speed in your images – try it on anything that moves from kids, to dogs, to runners and cyclists. I even use it for sunsets occasionally to create a more painterly effect. You probably have seen shots of horse races as well as car races where the technique of blurring the background while keeping the subject in focus has been used to depict speed effectively.
In short you set your camera to an automatic tracking focus setting and use a slower shutter speed whilst tracking your subject as it moves past you.
Which means what???
At speedway it’s also dark which doesn’t help so bump your ISO up to something like ISO 500 (you’ll have to experiment for your own camera here) and try to position yourself so that you are pressing the shutter all the way as the car comes past you in one of the more well lit sections of the track. I also found it useful to zoom out more than you might like for this technique and then crop your image later.
Don’t forget to share your images to the Facebook Group!
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