Motorsport Photography

Over the summer I have been photographing at various motorsport events – British Scrambles, British Superbikes, and some Motorbike Trials. My favourite is the Bonanza SuperTrial which took place last Sunday. I enclose here a small video of some of the shots I took. I recommend viewing it high definition if you can (just click the HD link in the video and go to the Vimeo web site).

Enjoy! :)

 

My first film shots

I got the film back from Peak Imaging (superb turnaround time) that I shot at Sterling Tower in Newbury last Sunday. For my first attempt using both medium format and shooting in film I’m actually quite pleased with the results. No images were over or under exposed which means my estimating of exposure conditions including those where I was shooting from a position of sunlight into dark shade, appear to be more or less correct.

I noticed when shooting in medium format are that the d.o.f is a lot shallower than for the equivalent focal length + aperture on the dSLR. This means that I really do need to pay attention to the distance marks on the lenses until I get used to it as a couple of the shots did not have the correct d.o.f I was trying to achieve (i.e. they were too shallow). I’ll also say that trying to frame a portrait orientation shot using a waist level finder (WLF) is like trying to navigate through the Hall of Mirrors. Very confusing :)

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Bronica ETRSi, Zenzanon 75mm f2.8, ISO 125, Ilford FP4+

Shooting Film

Some weeks ago I borrowed my boss’s Bronica ETRSi medium format film camera. Today I actually loaded it with Ilford FP4+ film and went out to a run down industrial estate with a friend who was shooting with a Contax 35mm camera and took some photographs. I’m just now sending them off to be developed. First time I’ve shot medium format, first time I’ve shot film – I’ll post the results when they come back. I didn’t have a light meter and so I asked my friend to meter with his Contax a few times and then used my best guesswork based on Fred Parker’s brilliant information at his Ultimate Exposure web site, coupled with the fact the FP4+ is a quite forgiving film. We’ll see!

I’ve also gone ahead and ordered some Ilford HP5 and Kodak Ekta 120 roll film and a roll of 35mm Kentmere 400 for the 1965 EXA 1a camera my father gave me a long time ago. Looking forward to trying them all out.

Exciting stuff this photograph journey :)

Exercise: Balance (pg 38)

Brief: Take half a dozen of your already taken photographs and decide how the balance works in each one. Look for what seems to you to be the dominant part (or parts) of the image. Identify them in a small rectangular sketch and alongside each show the ‘weighting scale’ interpretation. Compare the different images. Did you find it easier to identify the balance in some of them more than others? 

There are various ways of balancing an image from balancing the colours through to creating an equilibrium between the physical objects within it. In this exercise it’s primarily the latter which I have focussed.

When balancing a composition it’s important to remember that all the objects placed within the frame will in some way divide the image and that one should consider how this will impact the overall balance. Unlike in the real world where an object’s size does not necessarily correspond to its weight, in the world of photography an object’s weight is purely based on its size. The bigger the object, the ‘heavier’ it is within the context of the frame. Continue reading

Exercise: Focal Lengths and Different Viewpoints (pg 32)

Brief: Fill the frame using a long focal length and then fill the frame in the same way with a wide angle. Describe the difference in character.

Finding a subject which you can fill the frame at a long focal length and again at a wide angle focal length was a challenge in itself. It’s surprising how you are often constrained to one or the other purely by the natural surroundings. Anyhow, here’s my attempt at this exercise. I’ve photographed this lighthouse in a previous exercise but not from this viewpoint. The first shoot was taken at 125mm and the second was taken as 24mm. In both cases I attempted to get the lighthouse to occupy around the same space within the frame.

The key difference which is readily apparent is the one of perspective. In the second image the lighthouse looks somewhat squashed. One also gets the impression that the lighthouse tower is falling away from the viewer. This is a common trait of shooting architecture with a wide-angle at close range. The lighthouse isn’t as aesthetically pleasing when viewed this way. However the wide-angle does give more sense of depth to the image largely due to the converging lines of the pathway to the lighthouse. In the 125mm image the lighthouse looks as one would envisage it did on the day, the building verticals are straight and not converging but the pay off is that the image doesn’t really have the same sense of depth. Of course there is foreground in the image but given the relationship with perspective and distance there’s nothing here to really aid the viewer in getting a sense of how far away from the viewpoint the lighthouse is. Nonetheless it’s the image that works best in this case and the depth is not really something I would be concerned about in this instance. Continue reading

Exercise: Object in Different Positions in the Frame (pg 27)

Brief: Find a subject that has a large even background. Take 4 or 5 shots with the subject in different positions (centre, a little way from centre, close to edge or corner). When your results have been processed  put them in order of preference. Which version appears to work the most comfortably? Which the least? Concentrate on the relationship between the subject and the background.

The background in my images is perhaps not quite as ‘even’ as the brief suggests but I think my images do demonstrate the point of the exercise well. I will do as the brief has described and list my images in my order of preference and discuss the rationale behind my choices. Continue reading

Exercise: Positioning the Horizon (pg 39)

Brief: Find a viewpoint outdoors that gives you a reasonably interesting landscape in which there is an unbroken and clear horizon. Consider the different positions in which you could arrange the horizon line in the frame. Take a photo of each, starting right at the top and going right to the bottom. Note which you think work and which do not.

I took the photos below at the local nature reserve in my town. It’s always amazing to see how much this wonderful location changes throughout the year. Taking the photos on a dull dreary day in winter probably doesn’t show the lake at its best but it served as a useful subject for this exercise.

I started by placing the horizon line, which I considered to be the tree line in the distance, at the top of the frame. Imagining the frame to be split into 5 segments I worked my way down through the frame taking a photo at each imaginary line. Continue reading