Manuel Exposure For Motor Sport - Part Two

on January 30, 2017

Pardon the pun - the professional photographer who delivered the Canon Australia Motor sport workshop is named Manuel Goria. He is a world traveller and a world worker in the business of illustration of motor sport - Formula One all over the place as well as other types of racing. That's him in the heading image before the heat started, pointing the way to the track.*

It is hard to report the entire lecture that Manuel gave in one web post - there were so many good practical points that he covered. Rather than cop out, I will take several days. Let's start with the equipment recommendations:

Not surprisingly, he recommended Canon. He uses the brand's large professional 1Dx cameras - several of them - and keeps long lenses on them. The Canon professional optics are second to none for this sort of precision and the agencies and editors who are concerned with his work are not going to be satisfied with sub-standard images. This is also tied in with the rapid autofocus response and shoot time available with the Canon professional bodies - Manuel frankly admits that there are some situations that are made for burst-shooting.

It might be funny to observe rivalries between major manufacturers that start arguments between user groups and enthusiasts - but it is no fun if your income and reputation depend upon the reliability of the goods. Canon gear works for Manuel, and he is prepared to say that it will work for the rest of us. Another philosophy - that of doing what you can with what you have, where you are - is also valid, but it may not get your images over the desk of a top-quality publication. Each of us must decide for ourselves.

But to today's points - Manuel sez:

a. For him, the most important focus point in a photo is the helmet of the driver. People look for people in pictures. ( That's not one of Manuel's shots - it's Jane Fangio in the Shuco Ferrari...)

b. For most occasions, a high shutter speed is best.

c. He must decide where the car is to be placed in the picture - it is generally the star attraction of the image. He uses a single AF focus point and moves it around frequently to allow it to place the exact focus.

d. Preconception of the picture is by far the best way to success - the backdrop will influence what people see in the car, so Manuel chooses the focal length of the lens to assist in the background rendering. It's not hit or miss.

e. Sharpness in a photo is essential to interest an editor and deliver the impact that a publication needs. There are many factors that influence it - positively and negatively.

On the plus side is the performance of a good Canon lens . But he must make sure that the exposure of the image does not blow out areas of highlights. When they are gone, the sharpness of the picture and the interest of the editor is gone as well. So he will deliberately underexpose each image and recollect the overall light levels in post-processing.

f. To get a consistent result through to the Lightroom program, Manuel will shoot most of his images with manual exposure of both aperture and shutter speed...and will also not allow the camera to take over with automatic ISO control. He aims to have the same levels in everything so that an overall master correction in Lightroom can be batched through the lot. It is a matter of time for him as he does not have the week's grace that an amateur may possess before results have to put forward. Professionals are under pressure - remember that when you envy them.

And having said that, please remember the professionalism of the other people that you see here in today's column:

a. Sheryl from Canon Australia who organises all the events for Canon in WA and Saul who organises events for Camera Electronics. By and large, when they are on the job, things work out pretty well as planned. They provided lunch, which is a good way of ensuring my affection.

b. Ernest, Beth, and the rest of the Camera Electronic staff who scurry about and do the work. Ernest is further distinguished by knowing how to fix things. This picture is of him doing his famous line from ' Crocodile Cesar '..." That's not a lens - now THIS is a lens...".

So...tomorrow you learn how to see motor pictures that sell pictures to clients.

* to be fair, when the noise started, we knew where to look...