Standing out from the average is what all professional photographers strive for to improve there craft. My opinion is anyone with a modern digital camera can take a sport action photo. The hard part is taking an image of an event that stands out from the rest of the pack.
The following techniques are just a sample of the methods I use to get a different perspectives in my media production.
Shooting from a low perspective can be difficult but creative use of remote technology and placement can take an ordinary image look spectacular.
This image was taken by my Canon EOS 7D with a 10-22mm lens on a monopod. The camera was upside down balanced on the ground by the Pocketwizard Plus III that I was using to trigger the camera.
I use the bottom of the monopod to spin the camera while still shooting my primary camera with a large lens like the 300 or 400mm IS II Canon Super-telephoto that I rent from Lensrental.com.
The image to the right demonstrates another option for the same low perspective. I often use this technique when shooting a field goal or extra point.
Use the same remote camera on a monopod technique to take your camera to a new height.
I use a old Smugmug camera strap to swing the camera when panning from up high.
The height of the monopod can give an extreme view without hauling around extra gear or obstructing the view of the fans for more than a moment.
Slow it down!
Slowing the shutter speed down on your camera can give your subject's image additional motion blur. This is a creative technique that takes practice.
It may help to use burst mode and pick the specific image that has the correct area of sharp focus versus the motion blur.
Racing Sports Photographers try to have images show motion so that the cars don't look like they are parked on the track.
Speed it up!
The easiest way to take a sharp photo is to crank the speed up lower the aperture down on a bright sunny day. The hard part is knowing when to do it.
This image was taken at a preplanned angle and with perfect timing so that Ross Kenseth's Blain's Farm & Fleet Super Late Model shows a nice perspective. You can not see the tires lettering are frozen. Ross's hands are cranked in a position so it looks like he is driving hard into the turn.
Know how to add lighting to freeze motion.
You can take control of your environment by add artificial light into your image.
The image of my nephew was shot with a extremely high shutter speed of 1/8000 sec via a pocket wizard remote trigger using some custom programming called HyperSync.
A Paul C Buff Einstein strobe was used In order to allow such a high speed shutter setting. This strobe runs off a remote trigger and using a small lithium ion battery pack.
This kit allows me to take the strobe to remote destinations and add light to high speed action photography.
Putting your expensive gear in harms way is dangerous and this is why professional photographers carry insurance. Is it worth putting thousands of dollars worth of gear on the edge of a race track with dozens of cars racing at high speed passing one another inches apart?
My opinion is yes. Remote cameras and even lighting can be placed in a location where it is not a danger to the racer or the photographer.
The biggest problem is you must estimate all conditions and select the perspective, lighting condition and behavior of the subject hours before it happens.
My standard remote kit is one Canon EOS 7d with a Flex TT5 to trigger the remote flash. I use a Pocket wizard Plus III to trigger the camera from my location.
I will add the other Pocket Wizard Plus III to my camera flash mount or trigger the camera with the remotes great trigger button.
Always have your remote as high as possible to add additional range. Additional Pocket Wizard Plus III remotes can be added to double the distance between your shooting distance and the remote camera.
This remote camera was triggered from my location in the media tower while I shot my camera with a Canon 400mm IS II lens ($12,000) during the ARCA/CRA Race at Madison International Speedway. Yes the lens was rented from LensRentals.com for $300 for the weekend. Always opt for the insurance when renting.