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Fast Cars

July 21

5 min. to read

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Ken Sklute is sharing the photographic techniques of capturing and editing fast moving objects.

Fast cars led me down the fast lane in my photographic career. I was introduced to drag racing as a teenager and it soon gave birth to my life of photographing fast moving subjects. Cars blasting off from a standing start, climbing to over 260 mph in about 6 seconds got my attention in a big way.

I'd like to share some of my photographic techniques as well as how you can process your images quickly in Luminar to get you back out there capturing imagery.

Capturing imagery of fast moving subjects requires a bit of planning, a pre-visualization of your idea in being able to show motion. Showing motion is very different that freezing your subject. Most photographers think that in order to capture fast moving subjects requires a very high shutter speed such as 1/8000 sec.

Fast Cars

The results of photographing at such a high speed will freeze a car going 300 mph and make it look like it is just sitting there, frozen. In order to show speed, you will need to be able to incorporate blur into your images.

A common technique for emphasizing speed is to pan with your subject, showing a moving or blurry background while keeping the car sharp. You will need to find the shutter speed that is slow enough to show the motion but not blur the car.

The resulting shutter speed will be dependent upon the speed of the car. One tip is to always show wheel spin in your imagery which reinforces the concept of showing the car at speed.

Fast Cars(2)

Head on shots do not usually show tire rotation or a blurred background yet shows isolation by a shallow depth of field in conjunction with the compression of a long lens. In most forms of motor sports you will find heat waves helping provide depth and dimension to your composition.

Once you have a few images that you've edited from your days of shooting, let's go in and see just how easy that Luminar can help you make some quick, simple or complex finishing of your files.

I've chosen to share some recent images from the NHRA, INDY car and NASCAR to give you some ideas on how you can very easily make your images shine.

Fast Cars(3)

No matter what kind of motion that you are photographing, you should always keep in mind providing image diversity. What I mean by that is that you will be moving around the cars providing a wide variety of angles and techniques in which you will capture.

You will need to establish where you want to capture head on, profiles of the car, 3/4 front view as well as 3/4 rear view and hopefully the back end of the car.

I would suggest using different lenses to create those different views and feelings by adding some distortion of a wide angle lens or the compression caused by long lenses. I always tend to work with the directional ambient light to help capture depth and dimension.

Fast Cars(4)

Please remember that those fast cars need to rest and be taken care of by the crew so that they are at their very best. You can accomplish some great detail images of the car or the team working on the car.

Lastly, please remember that the crew and driver are all important in the idea of keeping those fast cars fast. Within the quiet times at a racetrack, you may want to see if you can create some portraits of the team personalities.

Fast Cars(5)

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Written by

Ken Sklute

Pro Photographer

Ken Sklute has been honored as one of Canon’s Explorers of Light, a designation shared by only 51 top photographers worldwide. Ken has enjoyed a diverse career photographing people, professional sports, architecture, weddings and landscapes. Ken spends much of his time photographing, teaching and lecturing both Nationally and Internationally. During Ken’s 42 year professional photography career he has accomplished the title of “Photographer of the Year” in 32 out of 42 years in the states of New York, Arizona and California.

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