Tag Archives: Cars

Cars

I’m not a car photographer, but…

With any endeavor, you have to sometimes push yourself and attempt things outside your comfort zone.  And the stated purpose of this blog is to let people know about photo ops in our area.  So, when my friend Vince W. told me he had extra tickets to the 42nd Annual Daytona Turkey Run Hot Rod Show and Swap Meet at the Speedway in Daytona Beach and invited me along, I was more than willing to go see what it was all about.

Intake manifoldIntake manifold

Well, it’s all about cars and car parts.  You can see all kinds of vehicles from fully restored antiques to low riders, dune buggies, and yes – “parts cars”.  And you can buy or trade autos and parts of all descriptions.  So many that I don’t know how they keep track of them all.

As far as photo ops are concerned, there are many of those too.  The place is crowded, with people as well as cars.  Like I said, I’m not usually a car photographer and I found it tough to isolate my subject in the composition.  I’d suggest a wide-angle lens that would let you get in close but still fit the cars in your frame.  Or bring a telephoto or macro lens so you can concentrate on details.

Surfin' CadillacSurfin’ Cadillac

I enjoyed the experience.  If you have any interest in car photography, antique autos, hot rods, or you just need some parts, you should go to the next show.  It’s held on Thanksgiving weekend & the 4th weekend in March each year.  You can click on the link in the first paragraph for more info on their site.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos out of your comfort zone!

©2015, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Daytona International Speedway

Intro / Description

The Photography Interest Group was well represented at the Daytona International Speedway last Saturday.  Kevin M., Kevin K., Lutfi E., and I went for the day and covered most of the events from practice to racing and activities in between.

The Speedway in Daytona is the home of the Daytona 500 and opened in 1959.  In addition to NASCAR events, the track also hosts ARCA and other races. It’s a 2.5 mile high-speed tri-oval, and has sports car, motorcycle, and karting courses.

Saturday was part of Speedweeks which culminate next weekend with the Daytona 500.  There were two practice sessions, the Lucas Oil 200 race, the Sprint Unlimited Exhibition race, and other things to see and do.

Pit Road and the grandstands
Pit Road and the grandstands from the Fanzone

Kevin K’s son, Evan scored a package deal for us that included general admission, infield parking, and Sprint Fanzone entry for a very low price.  Sometimes being part of a prestigious organization like the Photography Interest Group can really pay off.  😉

Info for Photographers

Photo hints:

This was the first time I’ve actually photographed an automobile race and it took a while to settle on a shutter speed.  Luckily, Kevin M. was along – he’s a big race fan and advised us on settings.  He suggested using 1/1250th sec. and at this shutter speed the car body was relatively sharp while the wheels were a bit blurry – which is what I wanted to help imply motion.

These cars run over 190 mph and if you can get to the stands in the infield, they pass by very close.  So it’s a great situation to practice your panning technique.  I got the best results when I picked up the car in the viewfinder well before I pressed the shutter, concentrated on smoothly following as it approached, and continued to follow through after the shot.  I also had better luck when I used a focus point on the side the car was coming from and selected  continuous focus.  Previous experience with bird photography and keeping the focus point on target will pay off here too.

You may want to try turning off your camera / lens image stabilization to see if it works better without it at high-speed.  With fast shutters, you probably don’t need it, and depending on your equipment it might actually degrade the image.

I normally shoot in aperture priority but for this, the most critical part of the exposure triangle is the shutter speed – so I switched to shutter priority.  I set 1/1250th, and then controlled ISO manually to move the aperture to 1/f8.  It was cloudy most of the day, so my ISO ranged between 400 to 1000.

I also found myself using some positive exposure compensation at times to bring out detail inside the cars.

It’s fun to try to catch each driver at practice, but photographing single cars can quickly get monotonous.  We were fortunate to have access to several locations which helped us vary positions / light direction, and avoid back lighting most of the day.  Be on the lookout for unusual / different compositions.  There was a checkered flag in the foreground near turn two and it was fun to try to catch cars as they passed underneath.

Juan Pablo Montoya - car #42
Juan Pablo Montoya – car #42; Passing underneath a Daytona International Speedway checkered flag during practice

You should also watch for interesting people.  Be quick, since they don’t seem to stick around very long.

Richard Petty during the Dollar General Car (Matt Kenseth, #20) inspection
Richard Petty during the Dollar General Car (Matt Kenseth, #20) inspection

Tripod/Monopod:

Allowed, but not recommended.  With all the panning you’ll be doing, a tripod would get in the way.  And when crowds get dense, you’ll have trouble finding space to set yours up.

Lenses:

This depends on where you are at the track.  We were using various camera systems with a number of zoom lenses (70-200, 70-300, 150-500, 200-600 mm – full frame equivalent).  From the infield grandstands, the 600mm was a bit too long.  From the main grandstands, something that long might be useful.

It’d be helpful to have a shorter zoom available too for non-racing situations in the garage and Fanzone areas.  And a wide-angle or even a fisheye lens are useful for car close-ups.

Best time to visit:

Consult the speedway website for race schedules.  I found that last Saturday was a wonderful day there.  We got to see all the big name stars, but the crowds were very reasonable.  The traffic and number of people at the track can get crazy for big events like the Daytona 500.  Of course, if you’re a race fan, you probably don’t mind putting up with crowds to see that one.

Here are a couple more photos from the races:

Julian Jousse in car #94
Julian Jousse in car #94 has trouble in the Lucas Oil 200 race

The Big One
The Big One (photo by tkmckinn) –  A crash after dark in the season opening Sprint Unlimited exhibition race later on  Saturday night

Other:

Check the weather before you go.  It can be a bit warm or even a bit cold in Daytona in February.  Dress appropriately, and bring sun block.

Food and drinks are a little expensive.  Consider  bringing in some of your own in a small cooler.  Check the Speedway website for their rules on what you can bring in.

The Speedway has a phone app that might come in handy.  It’ll show you the day’s schedule, maps, and other info.  It also has a mode that allows you to find friends  (although it didn’t work all that well for us – everyone needs to have it open and on the GPS map screen).

Entry to the Fanzone is worth doing.  There are a lot of photo ops there that you won’t be able to get close to from the grandstands.  The infield parking was also nice, since it allowed us to move around for better vantage points.  Separate fees for admission, parking, Fanzone, etc. add up though.  Do a little research, and you might be able to find a special deal like we did.

Summary

Even though I’m not a huge race fan, I had a good time.  I wish I hadn’t waited this long to visit the speedway.

My Gallery /  Flickr photo set:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/edrosack/sets/72157632780891033/
 more photos Kevin M’s / Flickr photo set
 more photos Kevin K’s /  Flickr photo set
 more photos Lutfi E’s /  Flickr photo set
Website:  http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/?homepage=true
Address / Phone: 1801 W International Speedway Blvd  Daytona Beach, FL 32114
(386) 254-2700
Central Florida Photo Ops Rating:  A Central Florida Photo Ops “should do”

You can click the photos above to see larger versions on Flickr.  And you can see many more photos from yesterday at the links in the table above.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – race out and make some photos!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

In Defense of Post Processing

This is another article on technique. It’s not so much a “how-to”. It is more of a defense or justification.
The Mayberry Cafe - Danville, In.
The Mayberry Cafe – Danville, Indiana (final B&W image)

We have a few people in our Photography Interest Group that are relatively new to high end DSLRs. They’re used to point & shoot cameras and one question I hear quite often is “why post process?”. Their argument seems to be that the photos “straight out of the camera” (SOOC) are much better than they were with their old cameras and they don’t understand why anyone should waste time learning about software and processing photos on their computers. I even have one friend that uses the “I’m feeling lucky” button whenever photos need some adjustment.

Now, I’ve been using Photoshop since sometime in the ’90s, so I really have to stop and think when someone questions why they should use photo software. My answer comes down to: Control, Quality, and Change.

Control: If you understand post processing, know what your software is capable of, and have the skills to use the software, then you can take control from your camera and choose how your photos will be processed and what their final appearance will be. You decide exposure curves, fill light, sharpening and noise reduction levels, etc. Or even color vs. black and white.

Quality: If you want the best results, post processing allows you to optimize things (e.g. selective noise reduction and sharpening, various filters). You also can try different approaches and use the one that works best.

Change: Especially if you use RAW format, you have the ability to modify many of your settings after you make the photo. And if you need to adjust some parameters (e.g. white balance, saturation, exposure) you can do so after the shot. Also, software constantly improves – witness how much better recent noise reduction algorithms are today than even a few years ago. As the software improves you can apply the updated versions to your existing photos to keep making them even better.

Here’s an example that might illustrate the possibilities. I like to make photos that are “timeless” in the sense that they could have been made a while ago, or don’t give away when they were made. I saw this dinner and old sheriff’s car as I drove through a small town in Indiana. I thought the scene might make a good photo and since I had my camera in the car, I went around the block and made this image hand held through the open window as I passed by a second time:

The Mayberry Cafe – Danville, Indiana (SOOC)

This copy above is SOOC – nice, but too much clutter, and kind of drab. I post-processed it to remove the clutter, selectively reduce noise in the clouds, adjust white balance and exposure, add saturation, etc. Here’s the result:

The Mayberry Cafe – Danville, Indiana (post processed)

This is a lot cleaner, the clouds and sky are brought out, and the colors and contrast are better. Could I have done this in the camera? Some of it. Would the results have been as good? I really doubt it. And if I want, I can keep reprocessing a photo whenever I learn a new technique or get some new software. Should you reprocess every photo? Of course not – if you did you wouldn’t have time to make any more photos. But you definitely need to make an effort when a photo shows some promise.

Finally, I thought this image would be more “timeless” as a black and white photo, so I converted the image above to get the result at the beginning of this post. If you’d only seen the B&W photo, when would you think it was made?

© 2007 & 2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

You can’t always get what you want* – Emeralda Marsh

Four of us from the Photography Interest Group rolled out before dawn this morning to visit “The crown jewel of bird watching in Lake County”, Emeralda Marsh.   It’s a little over an hour drive on mostly rural roads from our normal meeting place in Oviedo through Central Florida to Tavares.  “Donuts” found this place on the web and it sounds really good.  He called ahead to ask about it and learned that the driving route through the marsh is only open from February through May – but we still decided to go ahead and explore it.  While up there, we also drove to and walked around Sawgrass Island Preserve.

It’s difficult to judge any place based on just one visit.  Even at the best known and consistent locations we occasionally have a hard time getting photos of wildlife.  Sometimes you just have to be patient and really work for your photos.  Today was one of those times – especially since we were in an area we weren’t familiar with. [4/16/11 update:  Here is a new post on Emeralda Marsh based on our return visit]

It’s disappointing that the Emeralda Marsh Interpretive Drive isn’t open all year.  I’m certain that would’ve made our trip much more successful.  As it was, we had to park and hike looking for scenic places and wildlife and we weren’t able to cover as much ground.  The end result was that for wildlife, today was somewhat of a bust.  We talked about returning next February when the driving route is open.

Over several hikes, we saw quite a lot of Florida scrub land and very few birds or other wildlife.  But photographers are resourceful and we did see many things worth taking photos of.  My photos seemed to develop a theme of “Things in people’s yards”, also known as TIPY.  I’ve created of a set of thirteen of these photos on Flickr (set, slideshow), and I’ve posted a few below.  If you go to the set on Flickr, you can see things like llamas, dogs, additional old farm equipment and a flower.  See the captions for details.

Old plow and horse
Old plow and horse.  It doesn’t look too much like a plow horse to me.

Old Blue Truck
Old Blue Truck – We came across several old trucks this morning and this was the last one we found. Since it was blue, it completed my full spectrum RGB set. You can see the Red and Green trucks on my Flickr Feed.

Cattle Egret and Horse
Cattle Egret and Horse

Dragonfly in flight
Dragonfly in flight – I was waiting in the car for the rest of the group and noticed some dragonflies that were moving past the window. I decided to try to capture one in flight.

At the end of the trip, we found a close by Cracker Barrel restaurant and stopped to eat.  Today, we had fun.  We had breakfast.  We made some photos worth posting.  And we confirmed that even though you don’t always get what you want, if you try sometimes you find – you get what you need*.

*With apologies to the Rolling Stones

©2010, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

The Covered Bridge Capital of the World

Lynn and I were in Indianapolis last weekend for the Midwest Sad Iron Collectors Club convention. Lynn did a presentation on trivets and got to meet a lot of her collector friends. I helped with the presentation, and did some tourist type things around Indianapolis while she was busy.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we both visited Mary Kate in Cincinnati. Tuesday night we went to the Prima Vista Italian restaurant where we had a wonderful meal overlooking the city’s skyline. Make sure to bring your camera. On Wednesday, we visited the Newport Aquarium , Hofsbrauhaus , and Skyline Chili . The Newport Aquarium is a nice place to make photographs. They have a large tank that you walk through, with fish of many descriptions swimming beside and over you and you can linger as long as you want. A fast lens with a polarizing filter to reduce reflections would help get better photos through the glass. The beer at this Hofsbrauhaus is just like I remember from the one in Munich.

Thursday, while Lynn went to the auction, I drove quite a distance (~3 hrs each way) from Indianapolis to Bowling Green Kentucky to visit the Corvette museum and factory. Along the way I went through Louisville, Ky – where they were holding a National Street Rod auto show – so there where some very interesting vehicles on the road with me. Factory tours are only $5, and the assembly line is fascinating, especially if you like cars. You can’t take pictures inside the factory, but the ones I took at the museum are here .

On Friday morning, we both went with other members of the MSICC on a tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and museum. My Brickyard pictures are here .

Friday afternoon Lynn was busy, so I drove over to Rockville, Indiana. Rockville is located in Parke county, about 50 miles west of Indianapolis. Parke County, has more covered bridges (30) than any other county making them “The Covered Bridge Capital of the World”.

Marshall Bridge, J. A. Britton, Builder, 1917

There is quite a bit of information about Parke County here . I wasn’t there at a good time of day (I had to be back at the convention for dinner – so I couldn’t wait around for sunset) but I made a few photographs anyway. If you go, you should plan to spend a day or two so you can scout out all the bridges and pick some to photograph at dawn and dusk. The tourist map they hand out isn’t the most useful. It was hard to locate some of the bridges. And some of them are way out in the country on narrow dirt roads. My bridge photos are here.

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.