STE P BY STE P / Cap­ture smokin’ ac­tion

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Po­si­tion the cam­era

We took our Nikon D800 off-track to one side. Aim­ing back to­wards the track, the plan was to cap­ture Tom as he zoomed down, leav­ing enough space be­hind him to frame the smoke to the back of the im­age. We kept our bags well clear of the track, to avoid any ac­ci­dents.

2 Ad­just as needed

We used a 50mm f/1.4 lens to get us a lit­tle closer to the ac­tion than a wide-an­gle lens, but not too close. On an ini­tial test run – with­out smoke – it was clear that we’d have to take an­other few steps back to en­sure we didn’t cut off any part of Tom or his bike.

3 Set burst mode

In or­der to cap­ture as many images as pos­si­ble in one pass, put your Nikon into Con­tin­u­ous High Speed burst mode. This will keep on tak­ing ex­po­sures for as long as the shut­ter but­ton is de­pressed, while you track the move­ment of the bike as it hur­tles through the frame.

4 Pre-fo­cus the lens

We got Tom to stand on the spot along the path where we would be tak­ing the shot so that we could pre­fo­cus on him. With the lens in aut­o­fo­cus (AF) mode we fo­cused on Tom, then switched to man­ual fo­cus (MF), tak­ing care not to nudge the fo­cus ring.

5 Po­si­tion the lights

With Tom still in po­si­tion we set up our Speed­lights ei­ther side of the fo­cus point on the track with wire­less trig­gers at­tached, we then set the power to 1/4 to test how the light fell. We wanted the light to fall ei­ther side of the bike for dra­matic high­lights.

6 Set the ex­po­sure

In Man­ual mode we set an aper­ture of f/3.2 to blur the back­ground; that meant only a small area in front of or be­hind the fo­cus point would be sharp. We then set our shut­ter speed to 1/160 sec to sync with the lights, and ad­justed the ISO (to 800) to get a cor­rect ex­po­sure.

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