Delighted to be back, working to improve on my motorsport photography. During lockdown I decided to upgrade my camera. My Nikon D7200 had served me well but I wanted full frame and faster shooting bursts. A million reviews later, I opted to go mirrorless and traded for a Nikon Z6 with the adapter to keep my 70-200. It’s a fantastic combination and I’ve loved using it but the question was, would it keep up with the high demands of motorsport photography? I was certainly hopeful and now it was time to try it out. I had two objectives for the day.
1. To capture as much variety as possible, keep moving so I don’t have hundreds of the same image
2. Improve on my ‘go to Panning speeds which is currently at 1/40th.
Bank holiday Monday at the end of May was my first day back shooting motorsport photography. Coronavirus had kept spectators away for several months so by now I was more than eager to get going! Oulton Park welcomed the Neil Howard Stages, the combined Rallies of the British Rally Championship and MSN Circuit Rally Championship. The weather forecast was hot, glorious sunshine but upon arrival it was very much overcast and cold. Not quite what I was expecting when I turned up in shorts and T-shirt. (It was Sunny and clear when I set off). Nevertheless I was itching to get out there and started at Lodge corner waiting for the start of the rally.
The noise and speed once again blew me away, It was awesome! So keeping to my brief I warmed up with a few close up shots here before taking a walk round the perimeters of the fenced off paddock. The working areas are still restricted for now whilst we wait for the government to give the Covid all clear. I was able to get some shots off through the fencing whilst the drivers were preparing to get the next stage underway. This was really enjoyable so I’m looking forward to gaining proper access to the garages. I strolled over to the in-field track where I started practising shooting at 1/30th. After sampling a few different auto focus tracking options I seemed to be getting the hang of it.
The track was lined with spectators which was fantastic to see. In fact one of my favourite shots was here, using some of the fans as foreground in the shot. I panned the car but made sure I kept the people in view which gave it a really cool composition. The image is just below. As lunch time approached I felt like I was getting back into the groove. The afternoon stages were coming round fast. Rounds five and six featured the Darcy Dip Water Splash and another opportunity to capture a new and exciting image.
This was a popular spot for both motorsport photography and spectators a like. The drivers weren’t holding back as they blasted through the water feature. I upped my shutter speeds towards 1/1000th to freeze the water sprays to good effect. Without wanting to take too many of the same image though I carried on round different parts of the track looking for new angles. All my panning images were shot at 1/30, I really want to get good hit rates at this speed and lower (like I do at 1/40). By the end of the day I was feeling pretty comfortable, quite a few keepers. In my opinion the Nikon Z6 definitely helped me achieve this over my D7200. Maybe I was just so excited to be back I could have nailed it down at 1/15. Maybe next time. Some of my favourite images from the day are below.
Full Gallery of all my motorsport photography can be seen here