Desert Storm (No, not the war…)

Photographically speaking, the rally was an interesting exercise. The whole day-and-a-half that I was out shooting the cars, I never once resorted to taking a meter reading. The whole thing was shot according to the good ol’ “Sunny 16 Rule.” This is the rule of thumb that photographers used back before all your fancy, newfangled light-measurin’ do-dads. It basically says that, in direct sunlight, shooting at an aperture of f/16 at ISO/100, your shutter speed should be 1/100 of a second. Using that as my guide, I set my camera to 1/800 of a second at f/5.6 when I wanted to stop the action, and approximately 1/160 of second at f/13, when I wanted to pan with the camera and motion-blur the background.

Despite this “hands-off approach,” virtually every shot was perfectly exposed. That’s not to say they were all masterpieces, but at least exposure was never a problem, at least during the day. Saturday night included a special stage of four laps at a local quarter-mile oval, I-10 Speedway. Here I was forced to test the limits of high ISO, low light shooting with my Canon 7D. Conclusion: ISO 3200 is quite usable. ISO 6400? Not so much.

Will Hudson/Brian Szykowny  March 5, 2011 - I-10 Speedway, Blythe, CA