Shoot All You Want!

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park offers spectators great vantage points in which to captre all the exciting on-track racing action. 

Corners tend to be the most popular viewing spots since they usually the best passing zones giving photographers great images to capture. If you prefer to shoot the race cars or bikes in high speed, then the start/finish straight and the tail-end of the Mario Andretti Straightaway, between Corners 7 and 8, should satisfy your craving.

Digital photography is all about shooting. Make sure you don't get caught short because you don't have enough storage. For higher megapixel cameras, you will need even more storage.

Take Plenty of Power Along

Shooting all day requires battery power, so remember to keep an extra set of fully-charged batteries along with you to keep your camera operating at its peak.

Consider Adding Teleconverters

To extend the optical zoom of your lens, add a teleconverter. These lenses can be used singly or in combination to give immediacy and drama to your action photos. A telephoto lens also compresses perspective and simplifies the background, which really puts the focus on your subject.

Use a Polarizing Filter

For shooting on a bright sunny day, a polarizing filter will reduce the amount of light hitting your camera. They also make a bright sky darker and make puffy clouds really pop out of the sky. The polarizing filter will take away 1.5 f stops so it makes for great blurs in the background, especially great with high-speed racing shots. You may also consider adding this effect later using an image editing program.

Steady Your Camera

In most cases, you don't want to be carrying around a tripod all day. Instead, hold your camera as steady as possible by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your elbows gently pressed against your rib cage. When you are ready to take the picture, gently squeeze the shutter. Even the motion of the shutter can cause the camera to move and thus blur the subject of your picture.

Get a Good Gadget Bag

When you hit the race circuit, keep your bag packed with everything you need to take great shots. Invest in a high quality camera gadget bag that will carry everything you need, safely and securely.

Scout the Track

Get to the track early and position yourself at an interesting spot. A carefully selected camera position can make the difference between a static, uninteresting picture and a remarkable image that puts the viewer in the thick of the action. Some of the best pictures are often taken when the cars are jockeying for the lead. The very beginning or very end of the race can also be a very exciting place to be.

Have the Subject Move Directly at You

Fast subjects, like many race cars and motorcycles that run at Mosport that cross directly in front of you zip by so fast you can hardly keep track of them, and you certainly won't have time to react to all the action. Position yourself so that the subject is moving directly across the viewfinder. A subject moving directly toward or away from you shows the least apparent motion, so it's easier to try and follow the action.

Let the Sun Shine

Position yourself so that the sun is either over your left or right shoulder. This will give you the best and most balanced lighting. You may need to move throughout the day to avoid shooting directly into the sun. Bright backgrounds make for dark subjects especially if you are using auto exposure.

Use Your LCD for Previewing

With larger, better LCD optics and longer lasting batteries, its easier to rely on your LCD for previewing your pictures. Take a few test shots during the practice laps to make any adjustments to white balance or other camera settings.

Compose Your Picture

Look for natural horizontal lines and use them as guides for composing your picture. For certain shots, you are going to want to place the natural horizon line in either the top or bottom third of the picture.

Try Using Low-Angle Shots

Low-angle shots exaggerate the size and power of the objects and make your photos more dynamic. Slightly tilting your camera is another technique that can enhance the motion of your subject. Diagonal compositions suggest imbalance and motion. Your best chance for taking these types of shots are when the cars are in the paddock or the pits during spectator availability periods.

Prefocus Your Picture

Fast action can appear and vanish before you know it, leaving you wondering how you missed it. Your reaction time is critical and so is the camera's. With digital cameras, there's a tiny split second lag from when you press the shutter button and when the camera actually takes the picture. With fast moving subjects, you have to anticipate and press the shutter button in slightly to prefocus.

Stop the Action

Most action photographers want to freeze a split second in time that best demonstrates the skill, power or determination of the subject. Choose an interesting point in your subject's path and prefocus on that point. By the time your subject gets there, you'll already have framed your shot and set the focus. Pan your camera as the car makes its way from one corner of your viewfinder to the other and continue panning even after you press the shutter button.

Always Take Your Photos In Hi-Res

Since you never know when you are going to snap a great shot, shooting at high resolution will ensure that you can enlarge your prize photos.  

Use the Action Sequence or Burst Mode

Many digital cameras allow you to take several shots quickly in a burst mode. Set the camera to this mode when you want to have a choice of pictures or to capture a sequence of action shots. Make sure you have plenty of available picture storage if you are planning on using burst mode.

Increase Your Camera's ISO

By increasing the ISO on your digital camera, you are doing the equivalent of going to a higher speed film. The higher the ISO, the less light that is needed for the picture and the faster your shutter. Increasing your ISO lets you capture good action shots and shoot in low light conditions.

Experiment with White Balance

White Balance is the ability of the camera to respond to the different colors of different lighting types. If you change your white balance from Auto mode, you can experiment with different effects.  You can also use different white balance settings to warm up your picture or increase the intensity of colors such as reds and yellows.

Don't Be Afraid to Improve Your Pictures Using Software

The great thing about digital photography is that you have the option to make a good picture even better after the shoot. Software programs range from very simple programs with automatic controls to the more sophisticated with totally manual controls. Choose one that meets your level of digital imaging experience and you will find that they are wonderful for enhancing and improving your pictures.

Hopefully this information will help to further enhance your experience at the track this summer. Enjoy the races and take as many photos as you can!

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