How did I take the image of a fast driving McLaren Mercedes SLR?
In short, I didn’t! Here is why. Basically there are 3 options to take an image of a driving car, which work best.
I. Panning shots
Somebody has to drive the car fast enough and preferably in a 90 degree angle to your camera, while you follow the movement with your camera.
I know it sounds complicated and it takes lots and lots of practice to achieve this shot without motion blur.
The best lenses to take these images are telephoto lenses with two stabilizer modes.
One mode allows a panning movement while stabilizing vertical shakes.
I never tried this option, because I don’t have such a lens.
II. Car2Car shots
You are driving in one car while taking pictures of a car that follows you with a decent speed.
I know it sounds fun and I bet it is.
Unfortunately, I never had the chance to try this option yet, because you need at least three people to make this happen and I’m often alone shooting cars.
III. So let’s talk rig shots, which is my option here.
Yes you need some special equipment.
Don’t worry it’s not as expensive, as you might expect.
Compared to the telephoto lens of option one, it’s actually a bargain.
You need two sucker cups (I used Manfrotto pump cups with 16mm swivel sockets) which are around €70 each.
I bought three aluminium pipes at a local metalworker. These were about €10-€15 each.
I link them together with nuts and bolts to extend the rig from 3.5m to about 5m in full length.
You would need a magic arm or something similar and an ultra wide lens for your camera.
Put the two cups on the car, attach the pipes and mount the camera upside down with the magic arm (It makes the retouching easier in post).
Leave the car in neutral with the engine turned off (it avoids camera movement).
Now, roll the car slowly while taking long exposure shots with a remote control.
You have to play with the shutter speed to get best results but 1/5 is a good starting point.
Clone out the rig in Photoshop and there you have it.
And that’s how I took the image of a a fast driving McLaren Mercedes SLR.
– Dominik Berg –