2011 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix: A Lesson on VR

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Formula 1, Sporting Events
Tags: , , , , ,

The Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix was at its 4th year of its 5-year contract when I was finally able to snag a ticket. As cheapskate as I can be, I spent a few bucks for a 1 day walk-about, which, in return gave me an opportunity to witness the event at the worst view anyone could  ever imagine. I was carrying an ID that hinders me from enjoying at an elevated platform without the fences glued in front like Britney Spears’ bodyguards.

I was situated in between two trees right in front of me while the fence kept peeking through my lens as I was taking test shots. I plugged my Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR & was shooting at shutter priority at 1/125 seconds, with ISO set to auto, metering at spot, focusing to continuous mode, & shutter to burst mode at 7 frames per second. Yep! Same settings I did the last time I shot David Coulthard. After wasting a hundred shots, I could not get any damned car in focus. It was very frustrating. I kept spraying shots as the cars darted right in front of me… nothing.

 Then I thought, if I could not get it right with these settings, then I would not get it right at all. I might as well do the opposite & eff things up some more. So I altered my settings almost up to the opposite of what I had, changed it to Manual, shutter at 1/80 (yeah right), aperture wide open, & shot in single mode. I decided to shoot at single mode since the two damned trees were in my frame in burst mode anyway. I set my focus point on the road where the cars normally pass, turned off the AF, and waited for the second round to begin.

As the first five cars passed, I checked my shots & got much better results than the first try. Well, not bad for Mr. Opposite. I took several more, I was there, but still could not get a clear shot of the car. Then I remembered when I was starting photography, when taking shots using a tripod on a steady ground, turn off your VR (Vibration Reduction) since you don’t need it at all. The system will keep on sensing movement even on a still base that it is contributing blur even more. It makes sense on my current situation. The cars were so fast, that using VR only adds blur when I pan the shots so I turned it off. Voila! My first catch of the night! I maintained my settings & captured some more.  It’s a bit redundant but you can view the rest of the shots on my flickr page


  1. yna says:

    great pics Ian….

  2. Bruno says:

    smart move on the fixed focus single-shots. 1/80 lang iyan? linaw pards for cars going real fast ha!

    • Ian Soliva says:

      Yup 1/80! At 1/125 the fence in front is very visible so I had to slow down a bit. These were shot right after the turn so the cars were still prepping for full throttle, but still they were very fast! 🙂

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