by Mark Thackara with Mike Inkley

It is now halfway through the season and the teams are on a summer break, so this seemed like the ideal time to have a quick recap on what has been going on at our BTCC events, plus provide you with some top Motorsport shooting tips!

Image by Mike Inkley

What happens on a BTCC Saturday?

We ask people to arrive around 08:30 for the breakfast and briefing, held by the Olympus team and our motorsports photographic ambassador, Mike Inkley. Around 09:30 we distribute the cameras in time for the first session. The focus is very much on the OM-D E-M1X, as this event is all about fast moving cars which this model excels with, but we also bring a full selection of bodies and lenses to try out if required.

Mike will give some suggestions for basic camera settings, plus tips on technique (we have included some of his favourites below). Our ultra-knowledgeable team of Olympus experts are also on-hand to help with menus and technical questions.

The attendees are generally a mix of Olympus owners wanting to see what the latest kit can do and people with other camera systems wanting to know what all the fuss is about – which provides a good balance! The day is definitely not about a hard sell, although having to carry a bag around a racing circuit all day is great way to demonstrate the system’s size and weight advantages.

Image by Mike Inkley

Shooting Sessions

We break the day into 3 shooting sessions, which gives plenty of time for get some great shots but also builds in breaks for refreshments, questions and/or shelter, depending on the weather. Wherever possible Mike will give everyone the choice of 3 shoot locations on the track – and with 20+ years experience of shooting BTCC, these are normally pretty good pitches! This also ensures that all attendees will get some 1:1 time with Mike and the other Olympus staff.

We aim to end the sessions by 4pm, finishing with tea, chat and equipment return. Attendees are welcome to stay longer and use their own kit if they wish.

Power Maxed Racing provide excellent hospitality throughout and having somewhere to escape the rain or sun and sit down makes the day a lot more civilised. Tea and coffee are unlimited. The Olympus Pro range cameras may be water resistant but we find people do need somewhere to dry off and warm up occasionally.

Garage Access

Power Maxed Racing are also happy to take small groups to the garage for some close-ups and a chance for behind the scenes shooting.

Crash at Oulton Park. Image by Mike Inkley

What settings does Mike recommend?

Being in exactly the right place for this type of shot does require some luck but Mike likes to point out that the ability to react fast and swing a long lens up sharply using his trusty Olympus is a major benefit compared to his old camera system. The same applies for his famous image of England Test Cricket captain Joe Root …but more on that another time.

Everyone has their own preference in terms of camera settings but these suggestions are a great place to start. We are constantly being told by people attending theses events how amazingly fast the E-M1X focuses – so you are free to really concentrate on framing.

Action/Head on settings

  • Aperture Priority
  • Manual ISO fixed
  • 9 box AF area
  • C AF + Msport tracking
  • Continuous L for hit rate
  • Continuous H for speed
  • Minimum of 1/500th sec shutter, preferably 1/1000th sec

Image by Mike Inkley

Tracking/Motion settings

  • Aperture Priority
  • Manual ISO fixed
  • 9-box AF area
  • C AF + Msport tracking
  • Continuous L for hit rate
  • Continuous H for speed
  • Minimum 1/60th sec shutter speed, maximum 1/250th sec

Image by Mike Inkley

What to focus on

The main objective is to convey speed with the background blurry, the wheels showing movement and the car sharp – not an easy combination. A panning tip that Mike suggests is to concentrate on a door mirror rather than the whole car as it will help keep the whole car in the frame. Trying to look at the whole car tends lead to it leaking out left or right.

Don’t forget the Competition

Whether you’ve been to an Olympus Saturday event or not, you can still enter our competition by posting an image showing the spirit of the Power Maxed Racing team with the hashtag #olympusPMR on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

This is a great shot by Toby Gunnee …sadly Jason Plato seems to have lost one of the sponsor’s logos!

For more great images you can search #olympuspmr


Other links:

That’s all for now. The next round is at Snetterton on 3rd August.

You can still apply for the final rounds by clicking here and remember to keep an eye out for other events and news here www.enjoy.photo

We will be sharing more of Mike’s favourite photos soon.