On Friday 21st April the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association (HGPCA) holds a practice day at Silverstone Motor Racing Circuit, Northamptonshire, UK. I had an invitation from the HGPCA to come along and photograph the cars and general activities. The practice day is the warm up before the season starts and allows the drivers and mechanics to get the cars ready for the 2017 season. Saturday and Sunday was Round 1 of the Formula Vintage event organised by The Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC). I love photographing historic cars for the variations in shapes and colours and just looking at such beautiful machinery. As well as a passionate photographer I am a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and the mix of classic engineering and my love of photography make a good mix.
I also took the opportunity the use my new Nikon D500 camera body in addition to the Nikon D4 I normally use, so lets see if the reviews of the D500 are as good as they say. As an accredited photographer I had access parts the circuit not accessible to the general public e.g in front of the high mesh screens and behind the Armco barriers. Apart from the pit and paddock areas which are very interesting places to be, I found one spot near Maggots where I could use my 500mm f4 lens of the cars coming down the long straight after Copse corner and Maggots where the cars came round the corner. I used my 70-200mm lens for close side shots of the cars.
The weather conditions for the day were grey and dull. One of these days I'll get some sunshine!
Roger Tushingam in the beautiful MG N Type Special - Nikon D500 1/1600th at f8 200mm ISO 1600
Hanno Lichtschlag in his Elva Mk 7s - Nikon D500 1/2000th at f7.1 175mm ISO 800
Christopher Phillips in the Cooper Bristol - Nikon D500 1/80th at f8 86mm ISO 200
One of the busy garages at Silverstone - Nikon D500 1/125th at f8 70mm ISO 800
Beverley Phillips in the background behind her MGB - Nikon D500 1/1000th at f8 70mm ISO 1600
Chloe Mason driving her Aston Martin Ulster LM18 - Nikon D500 1/2500th at f7.1 500mm ISO 800
Steve Hart with Fierro Guillermo in his Maserati 300S - Nikon D500 1/640th at f7.1 130mm ISO 800
Richard Kent's helmet on his Ulster Jaguar Richard Kent's helmet on his Ulster Jaguar - Nikon D500 1/1600th at f8 70mm ISO 800
Stephen Bond in his Lister Flat Iron - Nikon D500 1/125th at f8 125mm ISO 200
John Ure and passenger in the Cooper Bristol T24/25 - Nikon D500 1/2500th at f5 200mm ISO 800
Robert Barrie driving the Lotus 7 - Nikon D500 1/125th at f11 105mm ISO 125
Steve Hart in the GT 40 - Nikon D4 1/160th at f5.6 135mm ISO 125
Graham Alderman's beautiful Maserati 250F - Nikon D4 1/125th at f6.3 38mm ISO 2000
David Wenman in the Cooper Bristol Mk 2 - Nikon D4 1/160th at f7.1 180mm ISO 125
Out of the fourteen images shown here only three were taken with my Nikon D4 body all the rest were with my Nikon D500. I bet you can't tell the difference. My impression of Nikon D500 lives up to the published reviews and a welcome addition to my sports photography bag. The Nikon D500 is light in the hand and when fitted to the 70-200mm lens makes a well balanced package that I can use all day. The 10 fps shutter speed is remarkable and care must be taken when using continuous high that a short burst of say 3 frames turns out to be 5 - 6 frames, the button is so light to the touch. Tracking fast moving subjects is not a problem and if an image is out of focus it is operator error, not the camera! I use the back button for focussing and manual exposure in general. The Nikon D500 does not appear as robust as my Nikon D4, but time will tell.
One of the comments from the reviews was high battery use. I noticed the battery indicator was about 70% of charge after little use. However, the battery finally gave up after 3650 images - not too bad as I was doing a lot of 'chimping'. I am still getting use to the metering as I think it is a bit too sensitive with the highlights. I often shot at -0.3 compensation and with the D4 I was shooting with +0.3 to +0.7.
The Nikon D500 is a pleasure to use, producing high quality images in a small efficient package at a good price.
Equipment used: Nikon D500 and D4 bodies, Nikkor 500mm f/4D AF-S IF-ED VR, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR IF-ED Mk II, Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED, Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G VR ED, Gitzo GM5561T mono pod, general accessories and bags.
My thanks to Stella Jackson and Chris Wilson of the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association for the invitation to photograph the cars.
For more images of the day please see my website here.