I’m not talking about a little race car, or the fact that the car is in sharp focus, with proper speed lines due to panning, but a shot straight out of the camera. The only thing done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 was a crop to give just a little more impact. That’s right, zero processing, nadda, nil, not even sharpening and a vignette. The reason for such a naked image is to start a discussion about shooting single shots and shooting in continuous high speed shutter mode. A friend invited me out for a day of shooting for the sake of shooting. He had a friend driving at beautiful Limerock Race Track in the northwest hills of Connecticut and asked me to come along. We started shooting and the first time he heard the rattatat staccato of my camera running at seven frames pre second he said, “oh, you shoot in high speed. I don’t like doing that. I shoot single shots”. Over the course (bad pun) of the day I shot about twelve GB of images, somewhere about six hundred images, in five to seven shot bursts. He was shooting at about the same click rate, so I’m guessing he has somewhere near one hundred images on his memory card. There’s a couple things you should know about this image. To find out what, hit the “read more”.
First, as I said, it’s an unprocessed shot. So, the speed blur is real, the wheel spin is real and the fact that you can read everything written on the side of the car is real. You can see the driver’s face in the wind screen of the helmet. It’s all there. What you don’t see is the other six or eight shots that wound up in the dust bin. Once I got home and uploaded the shots to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 I went through every shot in the library module. I wasn’t looking at a six by eight image you’d see with a single monitor setup. I was looking at fourteen by eighteen images on my second, calibrated monitor. It was actuall a fairly quick process. Right click the curser key and click either the X key or the P key. The “X” key in the library module of Lightroom means “rejected”. The “P” key means “pick”. I can freely admit there were a lot more Xs than Ps. My main criteria was “could I read what was on the side of the car”. If the car was blurry, and the driver blurry and the scenery blurry there was no use to keeping the image. The typical sequence went something like: XXXPXXPXXXXXP. There were many more images with an X than there was with a P. The folder went from more than six hundred images to one hundred images, plus or minus within ten minutes.
It’s tough to shoot something as fast as a speeding car and track it to get it sharp. Shooting a high speed sequence doesn’t, necessarily, give you more good shots, it just gives you more chances to get good shots.