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Old Jan 24, 2005, 12:48 PM   #1
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We are having snowmobile races this weekend and I would like to try to catch the snowmobiles frozen in motion. I'm wondering about settings for a sunny day...

If I'm going for photos that are mostly filled with a dark snowmobile, surrounded by bright snow, where would I begin with settings on my DRebel? What about the auto white balance thing?

In my amateur mind, I'm thinking I'll need an ISO of 200 or 400 so I don't get graininess, but I also thought I'd need a higher ISO for quicker pix.

Would this be a good place to start or am I way off?

ISO 400


Shutter speed 1/800

AWB - set to sunny day

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!


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Old Jan 24, 2005, 1:04 PM   #2
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The shutter speed you select will depend on the direction that the smowmobiles are moving relative to you. If they are coming towards you (make sure you get out of the way!!) then you can get by with a slower shutter speed than if they are moving across your field of view.

If they are moving across your field of view you will need a faster shutter speed to freeze the action.


This is a nice article on the issues involved.

You can get by with a slower shutter speed if you are skilled at panning...that is following the snowmobile as it moves in front of you. In those shots, the vehicle will be clear and the background show motion blur...which gives an excellent impression of motion.

Many people who photograph races, try to position themselves at locations where action is likely to happen...curves and corners, for example. Also, the vehicles will usually have to slow a bit on the corners so you can catch a better shot.

Good luck and have fun!:-)
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 8:58 AM   #3
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Hi Wgirl. A fairly quick shutter speed will be important. You don't indicate your camera or lense speed, but from you other posts, I gather you have a digi. SLR.

I suggest a higher ISO like 400, shutter speed like 4-600. The real catcher for you will be the apetue to use. You will be shootin in snow [bright] against dark colored snowmobiles. If possable go for a AE mode or manual on your cam; you may want to stop down 1 or even 2 stops because of the bright snow. If we knew your lense and lense speed, a suggestion as to F stop could be made for best bokeh by someone with more experience than me.

If I was shooting, I would shoot a series of shots as soon as I got on site, looking at each one to review exposure. If you have a histogram on your cam, use that, trying to keep the main part of the v mass near the center of your phot. If this is an important event, I might even consider shooting in RAW + JPEG if available so you could make beter adjustment of the photos at home.

Hope this is helpful, someone with more experience can certainly add to this, good luck, stay warm, I heard it gets cold in Wisconson. LOL
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 12:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. I have a DRebel with a Canon Zoom Lens EF 75-300 mmm

(1:4-5.6). Yes, that histogram will be nice so I can see the washed out areas. My hope is that I remember to try a lot of different things. So often I come home and all the shots look the same and have the same problems. This is part of the learning curve...take risks, look at different angles, change the settings, etc. I've learned a lot from shooting motocross about finding good spots to shoot, but it is just the settings that I always struggle with. I may do a few with the action setting just to have some different shots in case I screw the other settings up too bad. I'm hoping for just a few really good shots...it seems like each time I shoot, I take a ton of shots and end up with one or two I really like, so I'm hoping for the same, but worried about that glare of snow messing me up.

BTW, thanks for the article, Meryl!! It all helps!!

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