Archive for the ‘motorsports’ Category

Panning

Posted: September 14, 2008 in Bicycle Racing, motorsports, photography

I’m not talking about panning for gold either.

Often I see people on photography forums ask about how to shoot fast moving cars or bicycles. Their initial notion is to use a very fast shutter speed to capture the action. Unfortunately, there are few times when this is the best way to capture a racing car or bicycle. A fast shutter speed freezes everything in the photo and it looks like the subject is standing still — not a great way to convey a sense of speed.

The technique called panning is a method for keeping the subject (car or cyclist) sharp while blurring the background and the wheels. In my opinion, it’s the blurring of the wheels that creates as much of a sense of motion as having the background blurred.


Copyright 2008 © Cleaveran O. Law

Since I am such a great believer in re-use (not re-inventing the wheel), I’ll refer you to a couple of web sites that have a good explanation of panning:

Panning In Motorsport Photography

Mastering Panning – Photographing Moving Subjects

The technique in the first link is closest to my own. A couple of points to emphasize from that article are Rotation and Release Point and Shutter Speed. It is very important to position your body so that you are facing where you want the subject when you release the shutter and you want to make sure that you follow through after you release the shutter. If your body is “twisted” at the shutter release point you run the risk of having vertical movement and camera blur on your photo. Also, when you start learning the technique, use a slightly higher shutter speed and work your way down. It can be very frustrating to get a lot of blurred shots your first time out when shooting too low a shutter speed.

One last point on shutter speed. I have seen numerous articles on panning that suggest shutter speeds as low as 1/15 sec with many suggesting 1/30 sec. Most of the photos that I see with those shutter speeds have great blurring of the background but I also see too much blurring of the subject. The might be a great way to create a speed effect but it’s not a great way to capture the cyclist or car.

I’ll leave you with one last panning shot with a slightly different perspective.


Copyright 2008 © Cleaveran O. Law

One of my vices is my passion for motorsports. It’s a passion that I largely satisfy in front of the tube, satiated only by the exhaust cacophony emanating from my surround-sound system. However, my inability to frequent the race track only heightens my experience during my rare visits. My body vibrates and the part of my brain connected to my olfactory nerves relishes in the fumes of dead dinosaurs.

I found a solitary spot on the circuit (that was flooded with humanity) where one could see the cars above the protective fencing. Clear shots of the cars as they enter the turn, braking hard, then, under full throttle, accelerating down the long back straight. Fun at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Here we go again…

Posted: November 18, 2005 in motorsports

OK, I’m going to try this blogging thing again. I’ll be posting things from my personal and business life (within the bounds of corporate policy and government regulations). 😛

Why am I blogging? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a way for me to express my thoughts in less private way without necessarily exposing my whole persona. (Maybe it will be very public if people actually start reading this thing!)

I hope to share my views on bicycle racing, motor sports, computers, digital photography, lean (aka the Toyota Production System), politics, and more.

So, if your interests are similar to mine or if you are a blog voyeur, enjoy.

BTW, the posts from 2001 are from my prior attempt to blog using an old web site. I’ve copied those entries verbatim for, if nothing else, my own posterity.

Last big time auto race of 2005

The final weekend of NASCAR racing is coming up and it’s also the last weekend of major motorsports for the year. My wife is always happy when the motorsports season ends.

Once again, Mark Martin will not win “the Cup” and I hope that Jimmie Johnson doesn’t either. Wouldn’t it be remarkable if Carl Edwards won? If not Carl then Tony Stewart (who’s currently leading the standings) is OK by me.

Diversion

Posted: September 27, 2001 in motorsports

As time goes on more news arrives about people who were caught in the maelstrom that were within my life’s sphere. So many people and so many families were devastated by acts whose ultimate purpose I can not fathom.

Another fallout of our current mania was a bomb threat at work. For the first time in my 22 years at Boeing (McDonnell Douglas), we were sent home so that Boeing Security and Long Beach Police could properly search the buildings. Real life is becoming harder to believe than fiction.

A bright spot (or a diversion) was A Tribute to Can-Am at the Petersen Automotive Museum. I went with my friend, Steve, and my former boss, Fred. We had a good time talking about cars and motorsports. Got to see some great American drivers from the 60s and 70s: Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Parnelli Jones, Tony Adamowicz, Oscar Kovaleski, and many others. The Can-Am car displays were well done and brought back very pleasant memories from my youth. (Do I sound old or what? Nostalgia does strange things.)