Since I've been taking photos for the last couple of years, I've noticed a steady increase of people appearing with cameras trackside, whether thats just coincidence or I'm helping to inspire people it's all good.

Here are a few hopefully easy to understand "tips" on how I take my photos, hopefully someone will find this usefull or at least interesting!

I generally use my camera in Aperture Priority mode, in this mode (available on almost all cameras) you set the Aperture (the lens opening) and can set other parameters, the camera then automatically sets the shutter speed according to the lighting conditions.

The Aperture is an "F Number", generally around F2.8 to around F22, the smaller the number the bigger the Aperture (opening of the lens) is.

For High speed action like R/C Racing, you want anywhere from around 1/200th of a second to get a nice panning shot with blur in the background, to 1/2000th of a second to get everything in focus even peices of dirt being thrown up.

"burst modes" are where your camera can take a series of photos very quickly, unless your camera can do 5-8 photos a second its next to useless, mine doesn't so I ignore this feature. The reason is that by the time your camera is ready to a do another photo even if its 1/3 of a second (like mine) its next to useless already as the car has moved so much in that time. I take every photo as a single shot, which is also less wastefull of your storage and forces you to learn your camera rather than machine gun away until you stumble on a good shot.


Mid corner is a good time to get a nice action shot, the suspension is loaded up, the car is kicking up some dirt and best of all its one of the slowest moments on the track. Around the apex is the best place, as its the end of the braking and start of the acceleration.

F6.3 - 135mm - 1/2500 ...... This information means the shot was taken at F6.3 Aperture, lens is at 135mm Zoom, and 1/2500 of a second exposure time (very fast).

F8 - 125mm - 1/1000

A BIG depth of field is usefull here, as it can be very hard to get the car perfectly in the "zone" when its coming straight towards you, you can never predict just where a car might go once its in the air. You can get a BIGGER depth of field by "stopping down" the lens, basically using a smaller aperture (bigger F number).

Mid flight over a jump is always good but next to impossible to focus. I focus on the ground a few feet after the take off, and try to time it so i take the shot right after the car leaves the jump, they go pretty quick so by the time I've taken it the car is a few feet in the air already, and right over where I've hopefully pre-focused.

F11 - 105mm - 1/400

I get the slower shutter speed (in Aperture Priority mode) by reducing the aperture to around F8-F14, this lets less light in and consequently slows the shutter speed.

Panning looks cool and gives a real sense of speed, you need a slower shutter speed (depending on zoom level, around 1/125 to 1/500 sec).

Keep the motions fluid and squeeze the shutter release.

Depth Of Field is the range that is "In-Focus" a shallow depth of field can be from a few mm to a few inches depending on focal length and aperture. Big apertures give smaller DoF and tend to throw the background into a nice blur, thus making the subject stand out even more.

F2.8 - 200mm - 1/4000

This photo is shot at maximum aperture ("Wide Open"), on this lens it is F2.8, the Depth of Field is so shallow that the rear of the car is out of focus but the front is in-focus. The small DoF makes taking this type of shot very difficult indeed.

F9 - 135mm - 1/500 - full shot, no cropping


This photo was taken at the Halifax Nitro Euros, I didn't have access to the track so this is taken outside of the fencing. This car is flying past close by, a good shot ruined by my inability to keep up with the pace of the car, it just moves too quickly that close to the camera.

Lastly, a few more examples of various techniques.

Mid Corner:

f7.1 - 200mm - 1/1250

Mid Jump:

f5.6 - 200mm - 1/1000


f11 - 80mm - 1/250


all images, designs, texts and concepts copyright 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved. Jimmy Storey. rc(at)oople(dot)com.