To capture motor racing action on track can be sometimes a bit difficult. The perfect picture should have a clear sharpness and brilliant colors. But could this be everything? Is there nothing else? In times of 4K television with the almost hardest sharpness throughout the whole picture some images are looking pretty much computer generated.
I don’t think that hunting after the technical perfection is always the right way to shoot classic race cars at historic motor racing events. So, I sometimes use a very long shutter to visualize the speed and the movement of the race cars. With this long shutter I took a range of eight to ten pictures from every car by moving the camera in the direction the race car goes on track. The target is to catch up the fastness of the cars with a blurred background.
There can be a clear focus and a sharpness lying on the car, but the image can be nearly completely blurred. Then the photograph gives an impression of an oil painting, which I like very much, only showing structures, colors and lines. If a picture is well defined ,even with a blurred look, it lies most of the time in the eyes of the person looking at it.
Sometimes it is not easy to find the right „slow shutter“ time in particular at races like the Spa Six Hours Race with many different cars in many different classes with a huge range of speed performance. What the right time is for a Ford GT40 is maybe too short for an Austin Mini and vice versa. But the results are so amazing and satisfying, it is worth every effort.
You can make your own decision how far the blurred character should go. In my opinion the blurred images, which I call „Moments of Speed“, are telling a story and giving an impression of the performance of the classic race cars on track. It is a perfect complement to the „clean“ pictures, which should be taken for a complete documentation of a historic motor race, with all the sharpness und brilliancy of modern camera techniques.
The mixture of both, technically proper pictures and the more artistic „Moments of Speed“, is for me an important part of my photographic story telling, compared with the close up look on the beautiful details of classic race cars – this is my kind of capturing a historic motor racing event on my favorite tracks like Spa Francorchamps, the Nürburgring or the Hockenheimring. Find out more about our photographer Ralph Lüker.