Panning with the Sigma

Went to Yarmouth stadium on Sunday 6th May to watch a family friend compete in the Rookie Rods formula, and took along the Sigma 150-600mm to see what I could do with it at an Oval track. Yarmouth is a bit different from other Ovals in that it also doubles as a greyhound track and has no high armco barriers, instead it has a wire crash barrier and fairly low catch fences, which together with a high grass bank at one end allows you to “look over” the fence rather than through it, as is the case at most Oval tracks.

I figured therefore that with the big Sigma I could zoom in on the cars more on track than I’d normally be able to, and I guess I could, but to honest the photos I took were not particularly inspiring because the cars on display were not particularly inspiring either. Rookie Rods are Vauxhall Nova’s, Ford Fiestas etc. with the insides stripped out and a bit of paint, they’re not the most awesome looking race cars and although I got plenty of photos of our family friend this isn’t what this post is about.

I particularly wanted to try some proper low shutter speed panning shots at this track. I didn’t want to take loads of un-useable shots of our family friend so decided to experiment on one of the other formulas. I also particularly wanted to see if I could do this with the Sigma rather than my 18-200mm “kit” lens as it’ll be the Sigma I’ll be using at the next event I attend at Snetterton (hopefully).

Here are a few shots taken at 150mm (225mm equivalent on my camera) at 1/30th of a second shutter speed.

At this speed, at this focal length, for such a big heavy lens, I’m pleased with the results, although Yarmouth turned out not to be such a great track to try this after all. It may have a low fence, but it also has lots of uprights for the inner crash wiring and floodlight poles, they’re partially visible in some of these shots and very visible in shots taken at higher shutter speeds, and with my camera and it’s lowly 5fps and 5 frames max. it’s almost impossible to work around this problem.

Nevertheless I’m happy with these few shots, it proves that with a bit (a lot) of practise I can get decent “creative” panning shots with the big lens and my cheap as chips Nikon D3300.

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