First Race of 2019

So the first race of the Oval Track Legends 2019 season kicked off at Hednesford Raceway on Sunday 24th March, and I was there with camera to take some photos and support my step-son Damian, and with a renewed enthusiasm for photography that in part comes from not doing any for several months and being keen to get back into it.

I promised myself I would (try to) do a few things differently this year. Firstly I wanted to take more pictures around the pit area of the drivers in particular. None of the “official” photographers do this, or at least not of the Legends formula. So here are a couple I took on Sunday:

Paul Fiore, head admin of the Oval Track Legends formula, congratulating Lee Fear on his first race win, the Golden Helmet 2018 award, being held at the first race of 2019 because the last race of 2018 was cancelled!
Luke Loveland, a former Rebels driver, competing in Legends for the first time.

This image is interesting because it’s taken with the 40-150mm lens with 1.4x TC fitted, at full extension and widest aperture, so 210mm (420mm FF equivalent) and f/4. According to Tony Northrup this is an f/8 image, which in terms of FF equivalent depth of field I’m sure it is, if I cared what the depth of field at a certain aperture on a camera I don’t own might be, which I don’t. And according to Jared Polin this is a bad image because there’s not enough separation of subject from background! Needless to say I disagree!!

I did take some of my usual pictures of the cars of course, such as this one:-

Danko Kirk, car #888, one of the best looking cars in the formula.

I also wanted to ensure I got some images of drivers in their cars, like this:

This is Luke Loveland, car #20, and he so liked this image he’s made it his cover photo on his Facebook page.

I wanted to try some new things with the standard panning shots I’ve been trying to perfect. Here’s one of Damian where I’ve tried to use colour and blur in the background to provide some interest:

This shot I processed in Photoshop rather than Lightroom, using Photoshop’s Camera Raw Filter for noise reduction and other adjustments I’d have normally made in Lightroom, and then adding a high pass filter to sharpen.

Finally, I wanted to try going lower on the shutter speed, and get a bit more creative, such as this image:

Using foreground interest (recovery vehicles in this case) plus significant blur to create something a little different from the average panning shot.

I really like this shot, although viewed full size on the PC screen there’s still too much motion blur in the cars, which is all down to my technique. 1/30th of a second at distance with a long zoom lens is not easy. I might try this kind of shot with the monopod next time for added stability (this shot is hand-held).

All in all it was a successful day, my pictures seemed well received on the Legends Facebook page, and I videoed the Final and for once didn’t mess it up, managing to get the winning car crossing the line (something I’ve been totally failing at recently due to not paying enough attention).

Next up is Birmingham Wheels on Saturday 6th April. Not sure what to expect at this one, it’s an evening race (so lack of light will be an issue) and I’m not sure there are any vantage points to enable shooting over the fence (haven’t been there for a couple of years), so it might all be through the fence, which isn’t ideal, and, to be frank, Birmingham Wheels is a shit-hole, not somewhere I particular enjoy going, but we’ll see!

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