Back to Daytona!

We attended the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway last night, August 26, 2023. It was our first “official” night race. We have been to a nighttime NASCAR event, but it was the 2012 Budweiser Shootout, a non-points event, so this was our first points race to see at night. And, it was a GREAT night for racing! There was a nice little breeze, hardly a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was just about right. We were comfortable in the stands all night long.

This photo, available here, was taken shortly after the start of the second stage of the race. At the beginning of this stage, Martin Truex Jr. (#19 at mid-photo) was in the lead having just won the first stage of the race (the first 60 laps). I was excited to try out my Sigma 150-600mm sport zoom lens at the race. The lighting after the sun went down made it difficult to shoot at lower ISOs, so I ended up bumping my ISO up to 3200 for much of the night with an aperture of 6.3. This shot was taken with a 1/100 shutter speed. I felt like these settings were sufficient for the light, minimal noise, and being able to get crisp shots of the cars, traveling at over 200 miles per hour, if I was able to follow them fast enough.

As my first time shooting NASCAR with my Sony Alpha a6400 and the Sigma sport telephoto lens, I am very happy with the results! I feel like this helped me prepare for additional races where daylight will be sufficient to drop the ISO quite a bit lower and use faster shutter speeds to capture more of the excitement. I cropped this shot at 1:3 to make it a panoramic print so the background would not detract from the main subject of the photo: the stars of NASCAR.

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