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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Results of my first B&W film

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Results of my first B&W film

Having bought myself a Canon AE-1 earlier in the year I have now (finally) got through the first B&W film and received the processed film today…

The package I went for was to process the film and scan the negatives to high quality TIFF files so I could edit them as required…

Ended up doing a little editing to tweak them up a bit but was mostly limited to a bit of cropping and tweaking exposure. For the most part they were pretty good exposure and composition wise so was happy that I had got a handle on the technical aspects of taking pictures with film…

Here is a 50/50 of the editing I did on one picture… TIFF’s were imported into Lightroom and used controls in the Basic tab to enhance the exposure.

Results of my first B&W film

While I realise I do shoot manually in digital I do have auto focus and decent metering functionality plus the ability to review shots as I take them in case I have exposed the shot incorrectly… I found taking pictures with the AE-1 quite challenging at first but I am happy with the results…

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

Results of my first B&W film

One of the images had an artefact on it that was initially a bit of a concern… wasn’t sure if it was from the scanning process or a problem with the camera… as you can see in the image below there is an obvious light line going from top to bottom on the image…
Results of my first B&W film

On looking at the negatives it would seem that it was the last shot on the reel and there was a pronounced crease in the negative that would have caused this when scanned… guess that means I need to either void the last shot of each film to be sure I don’t lose a potentially useful exposure…

Results of my first B&W film

Happy with the results and really did enjoy using the camera… next will be the film in the Nikon I borrowed from my Dad but I am going away in July so will get another film for the AE-1 and take it with me 🙂

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Where has all the time gone!!

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So it would appear that I haven’t posted for some time… to be honest there has not been a load to post about as I have not taken many pictures and been busy fixing cars and work related fun and games…

As mentioned in “Last post of 2016” the S3 was broken… turns out it wasn’t the rear diff/haldex after all but the centre CV of the prop… the cage had shattered and it was pretty much carnage in there..

Where has all the time gone!

Joys of owing a car with power… didn’t help as the trusty daily A2 developed a fuel leak from the tandem pump and made all the coolant hoses swell and leak… so ended up with two broken cars at the same time!!

Both are now fixed and working as they should… for now at least lol..

Inspired by borrowing my dads old Nikon film camera I grabbed a cheap Canon AE-1 from eBay… came with a couple of lenses and needed a proper clean so the detailer in me got to work… pleased with the results of what is essentially a 37 year old camera

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Have loaded some Ilford HP5 B&W film in and will post the results when I have finished the roll… the main downside of actual film photography is the whole end to end process of taking pictures to getting the final images can be so protracted for casual use…

I recently managed to acquire a cheap tracking mount… I have been looking at these for some time now but they are generally too expensive to justify the amount of use I time to give it at the moment.

The Sky Watcher Star Adventurer comes as a kit of everything you are likely to need to get started… I won’t go into detail in this post but you can have a read of Phil Harts review here…. I will do a write up at a later date when I have had a chance to produce some results… It will warrant a post of its own as tracked astro photography can get quite involved.

I did a quick test at the weekend to get my head around polar alignment and the basics of setting it all up… The moon is up at the moment so wide field stuff was off the table for now plus the Milkyway’s core is visible at around 3am this time of year… not much chance of that happening on a school night.

The velux in my loft office is north facing so meant I could do a test setup in relative comfort.. using a combination of Stellarium and a Polar Finder app on the phone I got the mount polar aligned (hopefully)

I tried a variety of settings and exposure times… not quite hit the sweet spot yet I feel but its close and will of course be largely dependant on conditions on the night of shooting…

I used my 6D body and the 70-200f2.8 for the test… typical exposure time for this using the 500 rule would be around 2.5 seconds before star trailing would potentially start to creep in… the shot below was taken over 2 minutes on the tracker!!

Where has all the time gone!

Some more editing would have gotten rid of the glow but tbh it was more to push exposure times and validate polar alignment… 2 minute exposures would be the extreme to be honest as DSLR sensors heat up on long exposures causing noise…

The mount also had a lunar setting so had to try that too… with lunar tracking engaged it appeared to keep the moon in frame pretty much all the time… this is ideal as it gives you more chance of getting focus spot on…

Took 5 shots using the intervolmeter as the trigger… all were in the same spot in frame and all sharp.

Where has all the time gone!

I have some time off work soon so plan to explore getting a Moon rise, Milkyway and a DSO (deep sky object) shot of the Andromeda galaxy…

Thats about it for now… I should be updating a little more regularly now the weather is getting better… I will feel more like getting out shooting… plus I need to use up the B&W films and get them developed…

Here are a few pics I have taken over the past couple of months though… nothing spectacular but I like them 🙂

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

Where has all the time gone!

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