Saturday, May 12, 2007

SCCA Race at FedEx Field

During the week I mentioned to a coworker that I'm looking for events to shoot. I'm trying to get exposure to as many different environments as possible, and with the Maryland season winding down I'm looking around the Washington DC region for different events I can attend and shoot. By doing this I'm hoping to experience a lot of different shooting environments and learn how to adapt to them.

While mentioning this to a coworker he invited me to attend the SCCA race at FedEx field. He told me that anybody could go out onto the track and shoot so long as the photographer took a spotter with them. In exchange for apartment hunting with my brother he agreed to be my spotter for the morning. I'm glad he came - the racers were going 50-60mph and were no more than 75 feet away. There were a lot of them and you really need to keep your head on a swivel so that you're aware of going on around you.

It was a difficult shoot because it was my first time shooting a race. When I arrived the sun was shining brightly. I decided to use my 200mm f2.8 lens and my 2x TC. I wanted to be able to shoot at 400mm, but I also wanted to slow down the glass. I did some metering tests at f5.6 and the camera indicated a 1/8000 sec exposure or faster was appropriate. I'm pretty sure that my camera maxes out at 1/8000 sec because many times while I was testing in Aperture priority mode the shutter speed display indicated HI. I'll have to read up about that...

I decided to set my EV at -1.7. The other day I did some test shots at EV -0.7 and they exposed pretty well. Since I was out in a large parking lot (with lots of reflected light), and my meter was indicating 1/8000sec or better, and I had no way to slow down my glass I thought that EV -1.7 was the way to go. The first shots I took exposed very well. They're a bit noisy, but the exposure isn't bad. I need to pay closer attention to my ISO when I start up my shoots...

Later on in the day my shots became underexposed. Some high clouds blocked out the bright sun and I neglected to adjust my EV. I'm frustrated by this because I checked my LCD several times to judge my exposure settings and everything looked alright. But, with the LCD protector on and being out in the sun in a big parking lot it was difficult to get a good sense for how the photo looked. It would be great if there was some kind of a plastic or rubber device I could hold up to the back of my camera and look through that would block all of the surrounding light. If you could take one of those paper cone-cups you get at water coolers and make it completely impervious to light it would be perfect - you could cut a hole in the back and look at the LCD during daylight and see how your shots looked.

Anyhow, several of my shots in the afternoon were underexposed as a result of the EV setting. There's not much time to feel badly about the shots tho because tomorrow is going to be a very busy day. There's a double header women's LAX game at Maryland, as well as a men's LAX game in the evening. I plan to attend all of them. Unfortunately I probably won't make it onto the field for the women's game because it's an NCAA post-conference game and there are strict rules about who can shoot those. But I'll have my 2X TC and hopefully I'll get some good shots.

Then men's LAX game should be good as well. Unfortunately it's at night so I'll have to up my ISO and shoot some noisy pictures. But I'm looking forward to it. Basketball is great, but men's LAX has a LOT of really great opportunities for photos!


Post a Comment