Car photo tips

User avatar
xwrx
Impreza RS Driver
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:43 am
Contact:

Car photo tips

Postby xwrx » Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:12 am

Just thought I'd start a place for people to share their Q&A on sport or pictorial car photography equipment and techniques...

... will start on doing panning shots with blurred background:

- face your feet in the direction where you want to finish pointing: start uncomfortable, smoothly swivel with the action and finish comfortable.

- leave plenty of room around the subject so you get all the car in, generally leave more space in front of the car - to give it 'somewhere to go' and lead your eye in that direction.

- if possible, set exposure manually (meter off an 'average' brightness area, maybe dark grass), otherwise white cars will give you an under-exposed shot and black ones an over-exposed shot.

- the amount of background blur is relative to the speed of the vehicle and your shutter speed. A car doing 100km/h (28m/s) with a shutter speed of 1/100s will give you 28cms of blur. So vary your shutter to suit the effect you want and use the appropriate aperture to give the correct exposure.

- to keep the subject sharp, a rough guide might be 1/200s shutter speed for a 100mm lens, 1/100s for 50mm etc. If the car isn't moving at right angles to you, you will lose the front or back to movement blur (closer to you appears to be moving faster), so shorten the exposure further.

- if possible manually focus on where you want to shoot the subject. Many cameras will lock focus and exposure if you half-press the shutter button and keep it held down. Do this, keep the button half pressed while you follow the incoming car...

- follow car smoothly, squeezing the trigger just as it approaches the point and continue to swivel your body thru, still following the action. Many consumer digis have a fair shutter lag - the time between when you press and when the pic is captured. If that's the case, then plan on triggering earlier to suit.

Hope this gives someone a starting point to play with... there's no real right or wrong, vary your shutter speed a couple of stops each way and see what happens!
[ WRX•06 ] VIC plates for sale
Contact me for info...

User avatar
WestOz
Learner Driver
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:07 pm
Location: Australia

Postby WestOz » Wed Jun 15, 2005 3:36 am

Some good info there, thanx :D . Obviously u r in the photo game or have done this sorta thing b4 :!:
Q: Y can't non-club members post in the Tech&DIY sections? A: Coz ONLY CLUB MEMBERS know this stuff

User avatar
Fingolfin of Dorthonion
Impreza RS Driver
Posts: 149
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2003 9:43 pm
Location: Wesss Side E

Postby Fingolfin of Dorthonion » Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:18 am

Great info thanks for that! :D

User avatar
xwrx
Impreza RS Driver
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:43 am
Contact:

Postby xwrx » Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:39 am

You're welcome! I've been in photography most all my life in some form or other, but still find it challenging! Have held various freelance positions and was full time in the Air Force for a while (as photog) - now there's some fast panning!!

A few pics here: http://gadgetaus.com/photos

User avatar
xmy01x
Impreza WRX Driver
Posts: 268
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 2:46 pm
Location: Mascot, NSW.
Contact:

Postby xmy01x » Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:58 am

and for digitals, play with you ISO.

for a darker day, try iso 200/400

for a bright day, iso 100/200

and make sure you use the histogram as your reference (if your camera has one).

im not sure about the nikon Dslrs (joel, you sell the things), but the lcd on canon d-slr cameras uses a very brutal algorythim to display a bright/sharp preview. Its not reality, only the histogram will give you a good indication of whats going on.

also, to get a depth of field effect (or a spot focus) try a wider apateur F2.8 f4.5 (the smallest your lens will let you shoot).

1/500th F4.0 iso 400
Image

1/200th f2.8 iso 100
Image
Andrew Scott
mail@asphotos.com.au
0411101021
Photographer (as well)

User avatar
xwrx
Impreza RS Driver
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:43 am
Contact:

Postby xwrx » Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:49 pm

Andrew, that dust shot is awesome!! Haven't seen much better than that anywhere!

I've found the D70/D100 LCD screens to give a pretty good indication of focus/exposure once you get used to em. Generally though, I like the 'highlights' mode which blinks black any over-exposed highlights and I try and err on the under exposed side as detail is kept better in the shadows than blown highlights (unlike neg film). For me I find the histogram gets in the way for most shooting, but if I had time for a repeatable shot, I'd use it...

User avatar
wokka wokka
200SX Driver
200SX Driver
Posts: 3537
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: Reading this over your shoulder

Postby wokka wokka » Thu Jun 16, 2005 7:58 am

Being farly new to this digital photography lark (smallish camera, point and shoot with manual options, saves lugging the 35mm SLR around), what should I be looking for on the hiostogram, I know how to display it, but not much of a clue about what to do with the information?

I used to think my EOS500 had features I'd never use, this digital camera seems to be stuffed with pointless bits.
Will.

...but.......but......what if Google is wrong?

User avatar
xmy01x
Impreza WRX Driver
Posts: 268
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 2:46 pm
Location: Mascot, NSW.
Contact:

Understanding Histograms

Postby xmy01x » Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:16 am

Stolen from

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutor ... rams.shtml

(full of LOTS of useful Information) @

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

but basically, the output of most dslr (displayed image) cameras seems to be a very optomistic guide to the quality of the image,

with a dslr, and with the ability to control whats ebing shot,. using this histogram to make sure you ahve got the right settings is a great tool.

as read below..


Understanding Histograms

Possibly the most useful tool available in digital photography is the histogram. It could also well be the least understood. In this article we will look at what a camera histogram tells the photographer and how best to utilize that information.

Virtually every digital camera, from the simplest point-and-shoot to the most sophisticated digital SLR has the ability to display a histogram directly, or more usually superimposed upon the image just taken. (The Hasselblad H1, the latest generation of film & digital capable cameras, can display a histogram on the camera grip’s LCD while the image is separately displayed on the digital back’s LCD.) On most cameras though the histogram display takes place on the rear LCD screen, and most cameras can be programmed to do this both on the image that is displayed immediately after a shot is taken, or later when frames are being reviewed.

The 21st Century Light Meter

When I teach my landscape and wildlife field workshops and am using a DSLR (which I usually am these days) I am frequently asked why I frequently look at the LCD after taking a shot. The answer is that I’m barely even aware of the image on the LCD, it’s the histogram that commands my attention.

In Bloom. Costa Rica — February, 2003
Canon EOS 1Ds with 16-35mm f/2.8L lens @ 24mm. ISO 200

This histogram shows an almost perfect distribution of tones covering about a 4 stop dynamic range — from deep shadows on the left to just short of bright highlights on the right. This fits comfortably within the approximately 5 stop dynamic range capability of most digital imaging chips.

A light meter reading tells you what exposure will render a standard 18% gray reference card as a mid tone. This reading may have been made because the camera read a variety of areas of the scene and averaged them out, or because you read the highlights, the shadows and some other areas and decided that a particular setting would yield the best compromise exposure for that scene.

This setting, like every other that you or your automated camera makes, is a compromise. In most real world situations there is no such thing as an ideal or “perfect” exposure. There is simply one that places the tonal values found in the scene most appropriately within the capability range of the camera’s imaging chip. And "most appropriately" means that the mid-tones found in the image fall roughly half way between the darkest and the brightest values. Hold that thought while we digress for a moment and look at the concept of dynamic range.

Dynamic Range

The digital imaging chip in your camera is very similar to colour transparency film when it comes to its sensitivity to light.

Like slide film, if a part of the image receives too much light it becomes burned out, and if too little light it is rendered as black. A recognizable image is only recorded if the light hitting the chip falls within a range of about 5 F stops. (Remember — each F stop is a doubling or halving of the amount of light hitting the film). With digital things are much the same and even the dynamic range is about the same as for slide film; about 5 stops. Also keep in mind that the total range of brightness values encountered in the real world is only about 10 stops — from the dimmest light that you can read in to the brightest beach or snow scene in which you might find yourself).

Surf & Turf. Big Sur California — February, 2003
Canon EOS 1Ds with 135mm f/2.0L lens @ ISO 100

In an image recorded in 8 bit mode (we’ll ignore 12 , 14 and 16 bit modes for this tutorial) there are 256 discrete brightness levels between absolute black (0) and absolute white (255). 18% gray (the point that all exposure metering measures) has a numeric value of about 128, half way between black and white. If you think about it this is fairly logical. This means that if you are exposing for an average subject, say something like a scene with people, trees, grass etc, these subjects will be exposed at about the mid point of the camera’s dynamic range. Why is this important?

This is because if a subject is exposed too close to either extreme you will run into the limitations of the chip’s ability to record the image. Too close to 0 (absolute black) and there won’t be an image at all, or it will be very dark and noisy, and too close to 255 (absolute white) and there will be nothing there except oversaturated pixels with no image information.

The Histogram

This is where the histogram comes in. It is a simple graph that displays where all of the brightness levels contained in the scene are found, from the darkest to the brightest. These values are arrayed across the bottom of the graph from left (darkest) to right (brightest). The vertical axis (the height of points on the graph) shows how much of the image is found at any particular brightness level.

Note that I somewhat arbitrarily labeled each of the five zones (or F stops) containing the dynamic range recordable by the cameras as Very Dark / Dark / Medium / Light / Very Light. But each of these 1 stop ranges contains within it just over 50 discrete brightness levels. (5X50=250 not 256, but who’s counting?) Seriously though, it’s a good idea to consider about 4- 5 points at the very bottom (black) and another 4-5 points at the very top of the scale (white) to be so close to the extremes as to not really be part of the image-forming segment of the graph. (NB: This is an oversimplified explanation. For how the data is really distributed please read my tutorial Expose to the Right.)

This view of the rear LCD on a Canon 1Ds shows a histogram for a particular shot and also the dotted vertical lines that Canon has engraved on the display separating the 5 stops of dynamic range that are available. As you can see this image has most of its content either in the shadows, or the highlights, with little in the mid-range.

Scanning The Scene. Costa Rica — February, 2003

So now things start to become clearer. The histogram shows us quite a bit, and just as a glance at the hands of an analogue watch instantly tell you the time without your even being conscious of the exact numeric values, similarly once you become proficient at “reading” a histogram you’ll be able to almost instantly evaluate the quality of the exposure that the camera is making. This is especially true when the histogram is superimposed on or just next to the image itself, making the graph that much more meaningful. Lets look at some examples.

Examples

As mentioned earlier, with the exception of a histogram that is very heavily bunched up to the right (overexposed) there really isn’t such a thing as a “bad” histogram, or for that matter a “good” one. The histogram simply shows you the way things are, and its then up to you to decide if what it is telling you needs to be acted upon. Here are some examples.



Here we see the same photograph taken with exposures about three and a half stops apart. Both were at an aperture of f/9. The one on the left was shot at 1/2000 sec and the one on the right at 1/200 sec. The histogram of the one at the left is bunched up at the dark end (underexposed) and the one on the right is bunched up at the light end (overexposed).

There wasn't an exposure with today's digital (or transparency film) cameras that could encompass the full dynamic range of this photograph — which is about 8 stops. You therefore have to make some decisions on how to handle such a scene. To stuff 8 stops worth of dynamic range into a recorded image that can only handle 5 stops your choices are....

— use balanced fill flash on the foreground

— use a graduated neutral density filter

— take multiple exposures and merge them digitally

— go home

Fill flash wouldn't work in this case because the foreground subject was too large and too distant. I didn't have any graduated neutral density filters with me (I no longer use them), and going home wasn't what I had in mind. Instead I shot the two frames seen above at about 3 1/2 stops apart and merged them digitally using one of the processes described in my tutorial Digital Blending. The image below is the result. Not great art, but it illustrates the point.

Histograms Just "Are"

As mentioned earlier, with the possible exception of showing badly blown out highlights there really is no such thing as a bad histogram. They just are.

This low key shot's histogram shows that almost all of the data in the image is down in the lowest areas (darkest) with just a small amount of data showing the bright moon. But since the dark areas aren't right up against the left hand side and the light areas aren't up against the right hand side of the histogram, the subject falls within the dynamic range that can be captured. The detail in the moon is what "makes" this shot.

In this "high key" image we see just the opposite. Almost every value seen is toward the right side of the histogram, in the highlight area. That's where I wanted it to be to properly reproduce the brightness found in this snow scene. Yet, since it doesn't bump up against the right hand side of the histogram I know that none of the highlights are blown out.

Not too long ago a histogram was something mysterious. Today it has become a valuable tool for the photographer who wants to gain mastery of their digital camera’s image quality. I hope that this tutorial has helped remove some of the mystery for you.

Start using the histogram review feature of your digital camera. Set your camera to display a combined thumbnail and histogram for 5-10 seconds after every frame. Get in the habit of glancing at it. It's the greatest invention since the built-in light meter.
Andrew Scott

mail@asphotos.com.au

0411101021

Photographer (as well)

User avatar
xwrx
Impreza RS Driver
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:43 am
Contact:

Postby xwrx » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:26 pm

Basically the histogram shows the amount of each brightness in the image - shadows on the left, highlights on the right.
Image
From this pic (maybe tiny bit dark-no pure white but has a useful range captured):
Image

For most scenes, you'd want the histogram to show a good range from darkest all the way up to brightest. If you've under exposed, the graph may drop off in the middle and the right hand side will show very little. Over expose and there'll be little in the left half and a taller mass of lines on the right...

The only time you might not want 'a full range' is for 'art' or for a high key or low key subject. Imagine a black car at night - you'll see plenty of action at the dark end, plus some action at the bright end (reflections, headlights etc) but not much in-between. Also, your white Rexes at Rally Sweden wouldn't show too much action at the shadow-mid section of the graph...

Dark subject (or darker mood wanted):
Image
Image

Bright subject:
Image
Image
[ WRX•06 ] VIC plates for sale

Contact me for info...

User avatar
joelstrick
Impreza 22B Driver
Posts: 2400
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:53 pm
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Contact:

Postby joelstrick » Thu Jun 16, 2005 5:34 pm

you guys have too much time on your hands :wink:
Joel Strickland
Photographer
www.joelstrickland.com.au

User avatar
wokka wokka
200SX Driver
200SX Driver
Posts: 3537
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: Reading this over your shoulder

Postby wokka wokka » Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:59 pm

OK, I think I get it a bit more now.

You know what the scene looks like (ie if it is a dark scene), and the histogram shows you that, yes, there is a lot of dark bits. But if you get it too much near the right hand side you know it will be over exposed. Or if the major bit of th graph butts right up against the edge of the hidtogram that your not going to get some of the details 'co they're outside of the range for that setup?

This might take some looking at and parctice. I'll look at the histogram while I stick with bracketing for the moment.
Will.

...but.......but......what if Google is wrong?

User avatar
xwrx
Impreza RS Driver
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:43 am
Contact:

Postby xwrx » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:21 pm

Yep, spot on! I should also have included these -

Simulated overerexposure of 'normal' scene:
Image
Image

Simulated underexposure of 'normal' scene:
Image
Image

User avatar
xwrx
Impreza RS Driver
Posts: 182
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 6:43 am
Contact:

Postby xwrx » Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:29 pm

Here's a page I made a few years ago - targeted more at low weight travel photography, but possibly still relevant/of interest:
http://jaswebpics.com/PhotographyFAQ.htm

And also some eBooks for light reading...
Please only download what you think you'll read!
(I'm not paying for traffic, but if there's too much I'll have to take them down). If any bandwidth challenged folk would prefer a CD, drop me a line and we'll sort somethin out!

Be sure to 'save target as' on the links or use a download manager like Flashget http://www.amazesoft.com/download.htm. CHM files use the standard Microsoft Help system (MAC users can download this too).

Camera manuals:
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/Canon300Dmanual.pdf 3MB
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/D70_UserManual.pdf 20MB

D2x specs:
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/d2x_english.pdf 600KB

Pro digi tips & tricks:
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/NikonD1_FAQ.pdf 370KB

Advanced flash techniques (mostly relevant to any flash):
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/NikonSB800_techniques.pdf 2.6MB

Specs comparison of medium/high end digis:
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/Digital-camera-guide.pdf 49KB

http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/DigitalCameraWorldMar05.pdf 23MB
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/ShootLikeAPro-DigitalPhotoTechniques.pdf 9MB

http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/How.to.Wow.Photoshop.for.the.Web.Dec04.chm 22MB
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/Computer.Arts.Feb05.pdf 16MB
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/Photoshop.Fix.Magazine.Apr.2005.pdf 1.5MB

Good Photoshop intro (previous version):
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/PhotoshopCS-10steps.pdf 14MB

http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/PhotoshopCS2forDummies.pdf 36MB
http://jaswebpics.com/eBooks/PhotoshopCS2forDigitalPhotographers.chm 60MB

Enjoy!
[ WRX•06 ] VIC plates for sale

Contact me for info...

MrEs
Ex-Webmaster of 4 years
Ex-Webmaster of 4 years
Posts: 8682
Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:02 am
Location: 03 rexy

Postby MrEs » Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:52 pm

holy moy thats some good reading thats fellas!
Denis AKA 'S', powered by:
  • Adam @ Tuspeed - http://www.tuspeed.com
  • Vin & Steve @ Subaru STi Docklands
  • Ricky @ Tyrepower Essendon

User avatar
GhostDriver
Impreza 22B Driver
Posts: 1986
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:58 am
Location: That magic spot between 2200 and 2500rpm where the boost really starts to fire!!!
Contact:

Postby GhostDriver » Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:03 pm

I have been trying to get a close up of some of my paint-work for weeks now... Any advice on avoiding reflections?
Cheers,
Dan.

MY00 Special Edition .
MODS: Full Hi-Tech Turbo-Back Exhaust System, K&N Cold Air Induction.
UP NEXT: STEREO COMPONENTS, AVCR/, KNOCKLINK and RIMS.

User avatar
wokka wokka
200SX Driver
200SX Driver
Posts: 3537
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2003 12:24 pm
Location: Reading this over your shoulder

Postby wokka wokka » Mon Aug 06, 2007 5:54 pm

Shoot at an angle, not straight onto the panel.

If you're seeing reflections, maybe get someone to hold up a large white piece of paper/card/bed sheet or whatever between the car and whatever is being reflected.

Also make sure the camera is focusing on the car, not the reflection (may need to manually focus to do this)

Don't try and get too close to the car, the lens has a minimum focusing distance, too close and it can't focus. (best to be further away and use the zoom if you have it).

If you're filling the frame with nothing but solid car colour, the camera may not meter correctly, and the auto white balance may get confused, this would make the car look lighter/darker or a different colour. If you have a something you could hold against the car (like a normal picture, photo or magazine), then have half picture half panel in the frame, you could crop the picture out later to just leave the car, this may help. At least youd be able to play with the picture until the picture part of the photo matched the real one, then you'd be fairly confident that the car was OK as well.
Will.

...but.......but......what if Google is wrong?

User avatar
GhostDriver
Impreza 22B Driver
Posts: 1986
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:58 am
Location: That magic spot between 2200 and 2500rpm where the boost really starts to fire!!!
Contact:

Postby GhostDriver » Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:13 pm

All very good information, I will try it tommorow... thank you.
Cheers,
Dan.

MY00 Special Edition .
MODS: Full Hi-Tech Turbo-Back Exhaust System, K&N Cold Air Induction.
UP NEXT: STEREO COMPONENTS, AVCR/, KNOCKLINK and RIMS.

User avatar
Sas
Impreza WRX Driver
Posts: 494
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:19 pm
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Postby Sas » Tue Aug 07, 2007 12:26 pm

loving the Rally pic and Snowy's r34

Khaled
White MY06 STi Driver.
White MY06 STi Driver.
Posts: 971
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:45 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Car photo tips

Postby Khaled » Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:55 pm

xwrx wrote:Just thought I'd start a place for people to share their Q&A on sport or pictorial car photography equipment and techniques...


Old thread, but nicely put. Thanks for sharing your technique good post

User avatar
MPREZN
Impreza WRX Driver
Posts: 415
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 11:45 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: Car photo tips

Postby MPREZN » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:53 pm

Now all I need is a SLR!
:)

Return to “Photo Gallery and Build Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests