IRL Comes to Alabama

by Steve on April 10, 2010

Barber Motorsports Park just outside Birmingham, AL is hosting a weekend of racing including Grand-Am, Firestone Indy Lights, and Izod IndyCar races.  Looks like we’ll have the perfect weekend: no rain in sight and highs in the 70’s.  I went yesterday afternoon to watch some practice sessions and spend some time with my camera getting used to the speed etc.  I was lazy and attempted to get close without moving my chair.  My normally sharp 100-400 L series zoom wasn’t getting me in close enough so I added a 2x extender.  Big mistake.  The extender doubles the reach of the lens effectively making it an 800 but you lose image stabilization and auto focus.  Losing that technology against fast-moving targets combined with the quality loss that you sacrifice for the gain in zoom yielded some disappointing results.

Indy Practice Barbers-12web

The drivers weren’t the only ones practicing!  In the old film days I would have burned up 2-3 rolls and not known what I needed to adjust until I had a chance to get them developed.  Back to the track today for Grand-Am racing and more camera testing – I’m still learning the Canon 50D.  I’ll leave the extender at the house (and stay out of the cooler ’til late).  My goal is to capture speed – sharp cars with blurred backgrounds.  I know better than to rely on the presets like I did yesterday.  The action preset is designed to freeze motion which is exactly what it did by jacking the camera speeds way up (another reason for the poor image quality).  On some of the side shots you can read the lettering on the tires – I could have taken the same shots in the pits!

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