Donington Park 6th September 2020
My first motorbike photography of the year was at the BMCRC-MRO Championship 2020. It was the perfect opportunity to test the new Olympus 100-400mm lens in "angry" and using it for the purpose it was brought for some Motorsport photography.
Full image set here
It was a very quite morning when I first arrived (only one other car in the car park) but as ever Donington Park was looking at its best. I hiked my way to the infield (see my previous post here) and got set up in position. As is quite often the case first thing for bike racers Craner Curves acquired some new members of the club!
Three riders down in the first few races (they all got up and walked away thankfully. Although some of the bikes where heading for scrap heap!
Its always interesting when the camera is set for panning shots and a rider goes down, I automatically fire away and you end up with interesting shots like the above. A panning rider!
The rider was fine, his bike not so much!
Who knew IronMan was into his bike racing! Winner for the best helmet design of the day goes this rider.
Bike riders are brave, side car riders are on another level. The 118 livery was brilliant!
The new Olympus lens did not let me down all day. It's very quick to focus (as good as the 40-150 pro lens) images are sharp (when I get them in focus) and tracking works with the lens as well. Over all I am very very impressed with this lens and will be posting a full review soon!
Right some more images below along with a 20 minutes video of the day including the three crashes!
Whenever I am at the track I also want more reach from my lens, to get that little closer to the action. So I was very happy when Olympus announced the new 100-400MM F5.0-6.3 lens for the Mirco Four Thirds system.
I was even happier when the lens arrived last week. I will be giving it its first real test this coming Sunday when I head to Donington Park for the BMCRC-MRO bike event (on a side note it looks like the track has opened up more of the infield so hoping to get some people shots as well).
I have managed to get out and about with the lens over the last few days and my first impressions are very good. The lens is not classed as a Pro lens but the build quality and feel of the lens lend themselves to the Pro label. I know Olympus is releasing a new 150-400MM F4.5 pro lens this year but I think that will be out the range of most photographers and I am betting on a £3000 to £4000 price tag on that lens when it's released.
The lens is weather-sealed and works (bonus) with the 1.4 and 2x teleconverters giving you an 800MM lens (1600MM full frame) which can be shot handheld, all be it with an f13 Minimum aperture.
The lens has a close focus of 1.3 meters which means it is ideal for use photographing insects, flowers etc. So not a real Macro lens but useful when out and about and that close focus does not change when the teleconverters are add!
The sharpness of the images is brilliant even at 400MM, yes you do loose quality when adding the teleconverters but that is to be expected.
I can't wait to use this at the track on Sunday but here are some images (non motorsport as well!) from the lens shot on the EM1 Mk2 and a first impressions video.
First impression video and a sample video of the moon below.
See the full res images and all the exif data on my flickr album - https://flic.kr/s/aHsmQnyMri
Sunday 16th August 2020
Full image set here
Visit number 3 of the year to Donington Park circuit this time for the British GT Championship. Like every other championship this year the British GT has been on hold for several months due to Covid19. This was round three and four of the year.
The weather for Sunday was, to say the least damp! When I arrived and completed the 2.7KM ( I messaged it this time) walk to the infield (I will glad when we can walk through the paddock to the infield that’s for sure) it was raining, misty and not that warm.
This caused me issues during the day with very low light, fast shutter speeds leading to high ISO on the camera. Shooting Olympus micro four thirds this is always an issue. The small sensor means the camera struggles with high noise on high ISO images. But we have the conditions we have, so I set about shooting the action.
First up were the Porsche Sprint Challenge GB - this new championship launched as a feeder series was on its first round ever, exciting! Accept its Porsche racing and I have never been a fan of Porsche racing, its just never that interesting to me! But I was here so I'm not going to ignore the cars on the track.
A wet race was called and as you can see it was wet and dark.
One of the best livery's of the day on the Ambrogio Perfetti driven No51 IN2 Racing Chupa Chups car. Its like Candy Crush on a car.
Next up we had the British Formula 3, again another quick again the track was wet and the rain was falling.
Car 71 lost it coming out of the Old Hairpin, skidded across the track and ended up in the barrier, right in front of me. The driver Manaf Hijjawi was find if very frustrated and breaking his car!
The GT cars were out twice at this event a 2 hour race in the morning and a 1 hour race in the afternoon. The images below are from both racing. You can guess the first race was wet but by the second race the track was almost dry which lead to a headache for the teams on if to go for dry or wet tyres.
It was another entertaining all be bit wet day at the track. Watch the video below and click here for all the images from the day.
After a long forced closure due to Covid19 the action was back at Donington Park with the Masters Historic Formula One Weekend. Full image set can be seen here.
A very warm and sunny day welcomed spectators to the track and a good crowd were in attendance (all socially distant of course) and lots of photographers were out and about. My camera was sure what was going on being used for the first time in many months with any anger.
Due to Covid secure rules in place to get to the infield you have to walk around the circuit to Coppice Tunnel at the far end of the circuit, its a long walk!
I will be honest it took a while to get back into knowing what to do! The first cars to come round my shutter speed was wrong, the tracking was out and the exposures were horrible. Amazing what you forget in a few months!
However, after a few curse words to myself I dialled in my settings and got down to a full day of shooting. On track the action from the Masters Pre 66 Minis, Aston Martin Masters, Pre-66 Touring Cars, Historic Sports Cars and of course the FIA Masters Historic Formula One was fast paced and close racing.
This beautiful Chevrolet Corvette C6 driven by David Methley caught my eye from the off!
The good old American muscle car itself the Ford Mustang from 1965 sounds just as you would image. Jon Miles and David Coyne were driving this white star and back firing down into Old Hairpin.
I love watching the original Mini's darting around the course, they don't turn into corners they seem to drift, catch the grip and carry on in a straight line. They are fun to watch and I image even more fun to drive.
I tried to experiment this visit with some panning shots at slow shutter speed and for the first time ever managed to get some at 1/25 second. The slowest I have gone on the Olympus EM1 Mk2 (most defiantly more misses than hits!).
I have never been able to see a Formula 1 car in person so I was very excited to see the Historic Formula One cars out on track and oh boy the sound! What a noise. The racing was certainly better than the Hungarian GP running at the same time. A close battle for the lead from start to finish. Shame the race was only 25 minutes could of watch a whole lot more.
The above images is a Lotus 81 from 1980 driven by Steve Brooks.
Below is the mistakable livery of the John Player Special Lotus 77 from 1976 driven by Marco Werner and the 1982 McLaren MP4/1 driven by Steve Hartley in the original Marlboro colours.
It was brilliant to be back at the track and Donington Park did a lot to keep the circuit safe in these times. I will be back in 2 weeks for the first round of the BTCC, can not wait!
Full set of images here