As I left the house on Sunday morning my good lady inquired were I was off to, we’d already had the conversation but in the noise and hubbub caused by two small children the detail is often lost! I told her I was off Panning at Three Sisters, she shot me the confused look that, I guess, as with most married couples words are not always required, this look said “Panning? And who the hell are the Three Sisters?”, the words that followed had me chuckling all the way to the car – “Well good luck I hope you find some and have fun!”. One can only presume she thought I was off to the foothills of Wigan in search of golden nuggets that would secure our future, pay of the mortgage and fund that Canon 400mm lens I have my eye on……………………………
In reality I was at a loose end, had new Camera in hand and was desperate to shoot something, so having been let down badly by the rugby the previous day with three matches (yes three!) all called off, possibly falling fowl of the weather – can it be coincidental it was cracking the flags and perfect beer garden weather? Anyhow, I was off in search of a photography fix and whilst on my wild goose chase in search of rugby I’d seen a race event advertised for the Sunday at The Three Sisters race track in Wigan. Perfect, no excuses, it was time to practice that panning technique, something I’m keen to master but thus far have only dabbled with.
I think I’ve been put off to date, because, whilst it sounds simple to execute I’ve only been partly pleased with my results thus far. I’ve partly blamed badly executed technique on my part and put some of the problem down to only having tried it on cyclists and the problem with those fellas is they have to many moving parts, such as legs peddling away, so to much of the subject ends up blurred, well it does how I’ve been doing it anyhow! So it was time to chance my arm at some motor sport.
The best laid plans and all that were left in tatters as my two little cherubs had eaten into my research time by keeping us up late on the Saturday evening and waking up early Sunday morning, so it was a quick recap via google on settings and technique and I was off.
My first hurdle upon arriving was were to stand, now you can look at google maps and pick out corners, straights, chicanes and the like that you think will offer a decent vantage point until your hearts content, however, on the ground the reality is some what different and it’s a tad harder to get to your chosen spot than perhaps I’d anticipated. Now the problem with race tracks is that by there nature there big and take some walking around, so first tip of the day, if your not familiar with the venue get there early, get there VERY early and be wearing comfy shoes as you’ll be walking a lot! Second tip, be watered and fed, you can bet your bottom dollar that “the perfect spot” you find will be miles away from facilities – I failed on both counts so had sore feet, missed the first race and was hungry/thirsty for most of my stay!
I should probably have opted to shoot in manual, but, the light was variable so I chickened out and shot in TV, most of the articles I’d read suggested a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second, now I was hand holding and shooting with my Canon 70-200mm lens so ranged from 1/80 to 1/100 of a second mainly shooting at the 200mm end, but taking advantage of the IS on the lens set to mode 2, normally I’m shooting at shutter speeds fast enough to easily make the IS a redundant feature so it was nice to get it turned on for once.
I was relatively pleased with the results, considering the lack of practice, there will always be room for improvement and obviously there are plenty of blurry messes that won’t see the light of day unless I can find something particularly “arty” to do with them in post processing and claim it was meant to look like that…………………..
Keywords: Marc Taylor, Marc Taylor Sports Photographer, Motorsport, Panning, Photography, Racing, Sport, Sports Photography, Technique, Three Sisters, Wigan
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