If you have followed my blog at all, you know I like to show motion whenever I feel it adds to the story of what I am photographing. At the ESTA Safety Park Dragstrip speed is the name of the game and panning is my way of capturing it. Besides the mechanics of panning, the most important choice I make is to set the shutter speed. I use Shutter Priority mode and let the camera calculate the aperture and ISO from there.
For the Junior Dragster division, I choose 1/60th of a second and got some great panning results but none better then the one I share above of the Eat My Fairy Dust dragster. Using the Nikon 70-200VR lens, my camera selected an aperture of f/20 and ISO of 200. I timed it perfectly to get the dragster sharp with the bleachers, track, safety barriers and the wheels a nice blur to show the speed of the vehicle. Click on photo to see a larger version and you might see Tinker Bell riding along.
Later in the day, I was taking closeup photos of the drivers in the staging area where I got the burnout photos I posted earlier this month. The Sun was getting lower and started glinting off windshields and visors. I noticed a particularly bright reflection coming off a visor of the Junior Dragster you see below. I switched to Aperture Priority mode and stepped down the lens to its smallest setting of f/22 to accentuate the reflection into a starburst. My camera set the shutter speed to 1/30th of a second and an ISO of 200 for a proper exposure.
It reminds me of Japanese animation which shows large and bright starbursts off anything reflective.