I had the opportunity to shoot photos at the Daytona 500 this year and it was an amazing experience. This was my first NASCAR race and first pro sports event I had the chance to photograph where I had actual credentials to do so. The group I was with was a non-profit that was doing some work with Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum. Hours before he arrived at the track, I was told that his staff photographer was unable to make it and that I was going to become his photographer for the day. Part of my job was to continue covering the event for the non-profit I was working for while now at the same time capturing photos of Rick Santorum interacting with people. The access we had was unbelievable. Before the race, we were walking down pit road at Daytona Motor Speedway. Rick was out front along with members of the non-profit and a couple of high ranking Air Force officers. I ran ahead and grabbed a photo of Rick who seemed to be amazed himself at what he was experiencing. After posting this photo to Twitter, Rick Santorum’s staff asked for permission to use this photo on their website and to be able to post it to Rick’s social media accounts. This gained me a lot of retweets and some followers. Rick Santorum himself even followed me on Twitter.
When you are photographing events like this, where lighting changes quickly depending on the direction you are pointing your camera, it is important to have a good understanding of your camera. Here were my camera settings when I captured this photo:
Camera Mode: Manual
Shutter Speed: 1/160
Flash: 1/32 Power – Manual Mode
While taking photos on pit road, depending on my angle I was using my aperture to increase or decrease light. I typically always leave the shutter speed at 1/160 if I am photographing people. If there is a lot of movement, such as people dancing or running, I will increase the shutter speed to something like 1/250 to help freeze the action. Too low of a shutter speed will result in blurry subjects. Photographing the actual NASCAR’s themselves was a different story. Though I don’t consider this to be an all-in-all amazing photo, it captured the essence of what was happening and the subject of interest in the photo looks great. During live events, things are just happening and you do not have control over them. You have to be flexible. Learn how to better control your camera in manual mode by taking my free course: Ditch Auto – Start Shooting in Manual.
In post production, I made slight changes to color correct the photo. I also sharpened it up a bit to make it look a bit more edgy. All adjustments were made in Adobe Lightroom 5.
Gear Used In This Photo:
- Canon 5D Mark III Body
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
- Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
- Canon BG-E11 Battery Grip for 5D Mark III Camera
- Sto-Fen – OM-ET Omni-Bounce for Canon 600EX-RT
- Custom SLR – Glide One Strap with Silver C-Loop
- Custom SLR – M-Plate Pro Universal Tripod Plate System (Black)
- Delkin Devices 64GB CF 1050X UDMA 7 Cinema Memory Card
- Panasonic eneloop pro AA Rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries (2550 mAh)