Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

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Motorsport photography is something I tend to do quite a bit of… I’d like to think I am fairly proficient at it even though composition opportunities can be a bit limiting as I have to take pics like every other spectator does from the wrong side of the fencing…

At Castle Combe the ‘better’ places to take pictures are at Quarry corner (which tends to get rammed in the afternoon), old Paddock Bend and Bobbies… I used to spend a lot of time at Tower but in recent years they have put up quite a lot of catch fences making it fairly useless now…

Anyhoo I took my now fixed AE-1 along to Race 5 to try and see if I could get any trackside pics…

As the AE-1 is manual focus I had to pick a spot in the middle of the track focus on that and hope to press the shutter at the right time… of course I couldn’t check if I was getting any decent results seeing as it was film :/

My muscle memory for the DSLR let me down on a fair few occasions… I was primarily forgetting to wind the film on and the loose push/pull zoom of the Canon 70-210mm f4 FD lens I was using didn’t help so took me a little while to dial all that in… I ended up using the AE-1’s Tv mode (as this is what helped win it awards for being a sports camera by all accounts) and hoped it would make taking images a little easier..

Anyway I now have the images back from processing… I ran the scanned TIF’s through Lightroom to mostly tweak exposure (using Tv mode seemed to over expose the images a bit), clean up ‘dust’ (which I am sure is from the scanning process!) and crop…

So here are the less out of focus shots 🙂

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

I know where I went wrong with this exercise… I need to pre-focus on one spot and fix the framing area and always take the shots in that area… I am too used to AI-Servo AF and 6fps burst so found myself ‘over panning’ and never taking the shot in the pre-focused zone…

I took the Nikon F-501 to the recent bank holiday race day so be interesting to see what the results of 1980’s servo AF is like…

To finish up with I also took a few paddock shots… handling the AE-1 for mostly static subjects seems a lot easier but my old man eyes still struggle a little getting the focus half about before the subjects get bored and move out of shot 🙂
Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Using the Canon AE-1 for motorsport

Always something to learn with photography even if it is from using 1980’s technology 🙂

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