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Shooting Speedway at night

JeffJeff Member
edited December 2010 in flash & lighting
I have a D700 and sb800. I shoot speedway at night. The track has lights installed,and I get reasonable shots with a high ISO but a little under exposed. When I use the flash it freezes the action, and the wheels are sharp not blurred conveying action,and the subject is over exposed .
I use a shutter speed of 200 and an aperture of 2.8. I have trackside access and am within 20m of the action.
Can you give me some tips please?



  • Jeff, I would suggest that you should use a shutter speed of a minimum of 250 while raising you ISO some more. You are already shooting wide open, therefore keep it on manual raise the ISO and use faster shutter speeds, 500, 1000, 2000 or so.

  • Thanks Jerry ,are you thinking not to use the flash .
  • Yes Jeff, I would start my ISO about 800 with a starting shutter of 500, then chimp from there.
  • I'm confused. If you raise the shutter past 1/250, the racecar wheels are likely to remain frozen. I thought Jeff wanted to convey a sense of motion, so don't you need a lower shutter speed?
  • I also agree to keep the shutter speed a little on the slower side ... if the shutter is too fast the results look as though you shot the images in a parking lot ... there is a fine line though where you can capture the car sharply and still allow rotation of the wheels during the exposure ... your angle to the cars compared to their direction of travel as well as lens of choice will be an important factor as well ... panning using a slower shutter can result in some very interesting and dramatic images ... though it does take practice ... I've shot both with and without flash ... the difficult part with flash, is mixed WB ... if you can gel the flash to be close to the track lights, is much more desirable ...
  • Thanks guys for your input.
    It seems also that when I use the flash it seems to stop the motion blur ,would this be correct? I always try to pan at 1/ 200 and without the flash all is fine with the motion blur.
    This flash stuff is tricky ,to me anyway.

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Jeff, if your flash is over-exposing (and assuming you're using TTL), then simply dial down your FEC (flash exposure compensation) to taste.

    The slow shutter speed will work if you pan with the subject.
    But that's always hit and miss, so shoot a lot!
  • Jeff
    I shoot a lot of this type of track racing, situate yourself under a light pan with the car before it gets to you, take your shot as it enters the light. Think of it as a off camera flash. I don't use flash at all!
    The track looks light, but you will find light and dark spots all over that your camera see.
    once you start looking at the track you will see what i am talking about.
    I hope this will help.

  • Thanks again.
    I have been trying what you suggested John and have some success.
    Neil I will dial down the flash and see how I go .
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