It was taken at Japfest 2013 on the fastest entry to a corner I have shoot in drifting. Cars come over Avon Rise at almost 100mph before initiating about 25 feet away from where I was stood.
That explains why there is so much motion blur in this image when the shutter speed isn’t particularly slow. 1/100th of a second wouldn’t normally get such a long, streaking background blur. The closer you are, or the faster the car is moving, or both, means you’re spinning on the spot pretty quickly as you pan. The shutter speed can be faster than usual but your keeper/fail rate will be pretty low until you get into the groove.
I’m shooting in manual mode here as the lighting wasn’t changing and I wanted to keep at 1/100th and have my aperture at f/13 so I had enough depth of field to get the car sharp and when panning you don’t need to worry about knocking the background out of focus as it’s blurred by the camera motion.
I love to shoot into the sun. Or to give it it’s grander name: contre-jour, French for ‘against the day’.
Typically, the rule of thumb is to keep the sun at your back so your subject is lit by it but I hope you have noticed by now, I don’t much care for typical. So why shoot into the sun? Let’s take this shot as an example.
Firstly, not many people do it, so immediately that’s a box ticked. Then you get back lighting on the tyre smoke which amplifies it and with the trees in the background at Lydden Hill, you get shafts of light shining through it to add more interest. You also get the shadow of the car in shot, giving it more weight and I really like to see highlights glinting on a car as I think it gives it more dimension.
So that’s the why, what about the how?
It’s just a case of shooting as you normally would with some exposure compensation dialed in. So in this case I was in Shutter Priority mode as usual when I shoot motor sport. As this was one of the first images I took on the day, it was shot at 1/125th – a faster shutter speed than I generally use for panning but I get slower as a day goes on and I get into my groove. Being at f11 doesn’t matter as the background and foreground are blurred nicely due to the motion so I’m not worried about not having a shallow depth of field and it makes sure the car is fully sharp.
What the EXIF doesn’t show is that I had one and a third stops of positive exposure compensation dialed in. Without this, the camera does it’s 18% grey thing and under exposes the whole scene. I’d be left with grey smoke and a very dark car.