Vintage Car Racing Photography

The Art of Vintage Car Racing Photography

Image 19. 2 Liter Sports Racers

2 Liter Sports racers
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Racked out to 480mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter Speed: 1/750 seconds
  • Aperture: f9
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

An example of stacking cars to build impact. The 480mm lens compresses the distance between the cars, adding impact. Nikon D850 f3.5/5.6 200/500mm racked out to 480mm at f9.5 1/750 second. A polarizing filter and a monopod were used. The early morning warm light was enhanced by the wildfires surrounding the Monterey area this year. Very yellow light from the heavy ash.


Image 20. BMW Tii

 BMW Tii
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn 2
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500mm with a polarizing filter
  • Racked out to 360mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter Speed: 1/500 second
  • Aperture: f8
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Compress the cars with a long lens, not stoped down too far, focus on the second or third driver letting everything in front or behind go soft. Use a polarizing filter to open up the windshield and clean off the reflections. I used a faster shutter speed to sharpen the driver and an open f stop to soften the surrounding image.


Image 21. Martin Lauber

Martin Lauber
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Hot pits
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens:f1.8 85mm
  • Racked out to:
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/200 second
  • Aperture: f1.8
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Keep looking for those images that others do not see. You are in the Hot Pits, a location not often visited. What do you see that spectators don’t from the other side of The Fence? This is a portrait of Martin Lauber in his F1 as he sits in the Hot Pits. The dark background is his crew chief standing beside him. Using autofocus and auto ISO, then if your shooting Eyes pre-set your f stop to wide open and your shutter to 1/200 or 1/250. Use a 50mm to a 200mm lens to capture the images. The same setup goes for a mechanic’s hands adjusting Webbers or detail images of front suspension pieces. Get down low to place your camera even with the driver’s eye. Just don’t lose track of where you are and let some driver late for his practice run over you.


22. Hands

Hands
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Paddock
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f 1.4 50mm
  • Racked out to:
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/400 second
  • Aperture: f1.4
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Detail of mechanics hands rebuilding the electronics on a Maserati 250F.


Image 23. 356 and 300SL

356 and 300SL
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: The Corkscrew
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f2.8 70/200mm
  • Racked out to:
  • ISO: 1250
  • Shutter Speed: 1/400 second
  • Aperture: f10
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Two-period correct cars in The Corkscrew. This 356 and 300SL could have and may have raced against each other in the day. Always nice to get cars that “may have” in the day. The Corkscrew is so steep here that even though my camera and I are even with the 356, the 300SL is above me giving depth to the image. With the two cars being German Silver and so much of the image gray pavement, the only real color is the yellow 356 headlights and the red/white bumper stripes with green run-off. Be aware of background colors that can enhance an image.


Image 24. Piccolo Maserati 250F Exhaust

Piccolo Maserati 250F Exhaust
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Paddock
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f4 300mm
  • Racked out to:
  • ISO: 800
  • Shutter Speed: 1/400 second
  • Aperture: f5
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Paddock. Maserati F250 exhausts detail. You’re walking around the paddock, keep looking for images that most people don’t see, even if they are standing next to you as you capture an image. Get down on your knees and look low. Shallow depth of field or deep depth of field? Another reason to have a monopod is it’s a hell of a lot less embarrassing to use a monopod to get up off your knees than to ask some spectator, driver, or mechanic to help you up.


Image 25. Porsche RS Spyder

Porsche RS Spyder
Track: ThunderHill
  • Location: Top of the hill across from the paddock.
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f1.4 50mm with a polarizing filter
  • Racked out to:
  • ISO: 80
  • Shutter Speed: 1/100 second
  • Aperture: f9
  • Monopod: Hand held.

Image Notes:

This image was captured at ThunderHill during a private test day; I was on top of the hill kneeling on the track pavement when this Spyder popped over the edge. He was in the mid-eighties as he went past me. He and I were the only two on the track. It is sometimes good to know your driver and have confidence in his ability.

I had six laps total to capture this Spyder’s image and choose to shoot faster for the first three laps to ensure an image, then adjust slower for the last three laps. The reason I was on my knees was to see under the mirrors at the driver.