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Old Apr 18, 2004, 9:22 AM   #1
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Default Drag strip

Last weekend, I went to a drag strip, seen 1 car and took 1 picture before the rain. The event was then shut down. Anyway, here is that one picture:

I wish I had time to practice. I would have liked to use a faster shutter speed, but I still like the shot.
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Old Apr 18, 2004, 11:18 PM   #2
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Looks like you were on for composition and the color saturation looks good, I just canít tell where the actual focus point ended up.

Too bad you didnít get some more chances.
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Old Apr 19, 2004, 9:53 AM   #3
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Here are a coupld of things I have learned from photographing drag racing. All of this is self taught, so I'm probably doing it wrong.

First of all never use autofocus. Every time I have tried this I end up with the focus locked on the burnout smoke or a puff of exhaust. The second thing I learned is very close to the first; manually set your aperature and shutter. At the very least set the shutter. I try to set the shutter to 1/500th or faster depending on the amount of light.

Next set you camera for manual everything. These cars are moving too fast for the camera to try and adjust itself.

The biggest thing that helped me was learning how to pan. Once the cars hit the 60 foot mark they are moving too fast to keep in the frame.

Finally takes lots of pictures. The more you take the more good ones you will have. Here is one of my better shots from last years Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.

Like I said before I don't know if I am doing things the "right way" of not. I started taking a camera to the drags in middle school. I would burn 3-4 rolls of film and come back with about 5 good pictures. As I have learned more about cameras I am able to come back with about 20 good pictures now. Switching over to digital is proving to be a challenge so far. I need to go up for the friday night test and tune sessions to get more practice.
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Old Apr 19, 2004, 10:49 AM   #4
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well...i don't think there is a "right" way to do it....
just whatever you find works
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Old Apr 21, 2004, 5:11 PM   #5
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I agree with estill. With any kind of racing (I mainly do oval tracks) it's hard for a camera's AF system to keep up--at least in the catagory of camera I'm in (film camera is Nikon N60, digital is Minolta Z1) so I try to set the AF on a test sample, make sure focus is good, then switch to MF. Also go with high shutter speed (and ISO), of course at night things get trickier. And yes, panning is helpful but it takes practice especially if you have an EVF. I've done panning the last four years with racing pics, but in the month or so using my Z1 I'm having to relearn since the EVF blacks out between shots. Different types of cars go at different speeds, so I'm having to relearn the speeds to pan at and guess at where the car will be. Continuous shooting helps me quite a bit, it allowed me to get some good ones during practice at the local dirt track last weekend:

Another factor with drag racing is your location. I went to the race estill went to, and it was my first drag race. My location was probably beyond the halfway point of the track, so I was standing by the fence so I could get as close as possible--even with 300 zoom the cars weren't too big. The problem with this setup was as the cars went by I panned but in most of my shots you couldn't see the car because my vantage point was too low--I got a lot of wall in my pics, LOL. Live and learn.
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