Category: R/C Racing

Shooting Action ( Composing)


Hello again, Thank you for stopping back to Buzword. In the last three post we have talked about Aperture Priority Mode, ISO, and Panning your action shots.

I hope that these post have helped you with your shooting, and has helped you understand how your camera works. This time we are going to go over composition. A lot of us think we need to put our subject in the middle of the frame, this is true some times. Lets face it everybody does that, but we want our images to to stand out from others that are shooting the same subject.
I will admit that this is not easy, because cameras now days are great, and can help anybody get a great shot.

Ok lets get started when Im shooting Motorcycle racing, I try to get the rider as they just come into the frame. this way if I’m a bit late I will still capture them within the frame.

elmira ice race 1-17-14-7224

In this image above I locked my focus on as Tuff McBride entered the corner and tracked him until he reached me coming out of the corner. I was focused on his eyes, but if you notice I cut off part of his front tire. Try to look around in your view finder before you squeeze the shutter.

If you give yourself some wiggle room you can always crop in post to get a tighter shot. Remember if you crop to much you will loose some image quality. So try to get it close when you shoot it.

There is a well known rule in photography and it is called the rule of thirds. This means when you are composing a shot try to put your subject towards the top, bottom, or each side. This will give your picture some character, instead of the boring center shot.


If you look at the R/C car above I put the car in the top right hand corner to help show the height of the car. Plus I like to give some room in front of the subject to help make it look like it’s moving forward. Check out these two photos. I cropped one with room in front and the other with more room in back. The image with room in front looks better to the eye. The other one makes it look like she is running up against a wall. If you miss it don’t worry you can crop it some in post.



So know that we have seen how placing your subject in the frame can change the look of your photo, now we can get a little crazy with our shooting. Another thing that a lot of people do is shoot standing up. This might be good for some shots around the house, but moving your camera higher or lower will add some drama to you image. If you are shooting a High school sporting event
get low, sit on the ground and shoot up at the action. Your shots will look different from the other people on the side lines that are standing while shooting the game.



Now these two shots above, I shot one standing up at eye level, and the other sitting on the ground shooting up at the player. No I think both look good, but I like the looks of the second one because it gives the players a stronger look from the low angle.

You can also get up higher than the players, or just change your location on the field to get a different look. I shoot a lot of my racing shots from the infield because that is the way I did it when I started shooting film. Now I have noticed that people like the different angles that I get like shooting from the outside of the track, or shooting in the pit area between races.



Both of these shots I was down on my knee, but one I shot from outside of turns one and two. The other one I shot as the rider entered turn one. This is the shot that is used a lot in motor sports. After awhile these shots get boring and look just like every other picture out there. So get low or get up above the action to grab a shot that looks different from the rest.

One last things that we should remember when we are shooting action. Look at the background in your shot. I have made this mistake way to many times in my career. Make sure you position your self ( if you can) where the back ground doesn’t have anything in it that might take away from your subject. If you are shooting a event where there are bleachers that are full of fans, try to use that as a background in you shots. If there is anything that is distracting in the back ground try to move to where they are out of the shot.

Another way to get rid of the busy background is to open up your aperture. Remember this will allow more light into your camera and it will decrease your depth of field (blur the back ground).



It seems like there are a ton of things to remember before you can even press the shutter button, but if you get out there and use these tools after awhile, it will become second nature to you. I still catch my self not using these tools all the time, and I have to slow down and go through my check list as I am setting up a shot.

Don’t get discouraged just go step by step and it will all come together for you. I would love to see some of your images that you have used these tools to get the shot. Send me some shots to, and if you have any questions please leave a comment and I will get back to you soon.

Please subscribe to this blog and go to to see all of my action shots at

Next time on Shooting Action we will talk about some different lenses that might work best for what you are shooting.

Take Care and Just Shoot



Zachary Signs A Deal With Team Durango USA

17 year old Cruz Zachary from Cortland, NY. Just signed a one year contract with Team Durango USA, to pilot their latest two wheel drive and 4×4 short course trucks. Zachary has only been racing R/C a little more than five years.

2012 has been his break out season with multiple wins in the outdoor season at Outback Raceway, as well as some top five finishes at CRC in Rome, NY. Cruz had a real strong run at the Short Course Nationals in Conn. this past summer. He also won the points title in 4×4 SC and second in points in SC buggies in the North South Shootoout Series at CRC, and Outback Raceway this past summer.

The new trucks from Durango have been real fast so far this fall on the indoor clay at High Octane RC in Syracuse, NY. Zachary has had two nights that he has won both classes on the high bite clay in the Salt City.

Cruz is also a team driver for RC SOUP, and Redneck RC in Fulton, NY. Cruz has started filling his calender for the up coming winter racing season. He plans o traveling around the east coast this winter with his new Durango’s. The first national race will be the always popular MOTORAMA in February. Motorama is located in Harrisburg, PA. This event brings a lot of the big names from all over the nation to battle on two separate tracks, in the 1 million square foot expo center.

Cruz also just signed a deal to run Panther RC Racing tires on his Team Durango trucks for the 2013 racing season.

Say tuned through out the year to for updates on all of the exciting racing from Team Durango USA driver Cruz Zachary.

Pro series Rd. 2 at CRC

This past weekend CRC raceway in Rome, NY hosted Rd two of the R/C Pro series.
The pits were full of 144 racers from all over the country. Eighth scale nitro Buggy and Truggy were the two big classes of the weekend.
The CRC track was in great shape for the hours of abuse that it was going to take throughout the big event.
Frank Calandra and crew always put on great show, with this one being no different.

Losi driver Billy Fisher from Arizona was one of the many big guns entered in the two nitro classes.

Anthony Mazzara was also present with his always beautiful Losi machines.
Saturday was a full day of qualifying, each class running four rounds, setting up the Sunday mains.
The SC 4×4 class was one of the more competitive races to watch throughout the two days. Brian Wynn snagged TQ from Cruz Zachary during the third heat race. Then in the last rd. Eventual winner Zach Barry grabbed the second spot just behind Wynn for Sunday’s three main events.

The weather Saturday was cloudy with a little bit of rain throughout the day. That rain was a track owners dream, keeping the track moist without having to water between rounds.
At the end of the day Losi driver Billy Fisher was TQ in both the Buggy and Truggy nitro classes.

Sunday’s weather was a complete different story with temps in the mid 80’s and nothing but sunshine for the entire day.
The first main to roll off the grid was the first of three mains for the ever-growing SC 4×4’s. Wynn, Barry, and Zachary took off at the sound of the days first horn. The top five trucks battled back and forth for the entire 8 minutes with John ” Whopper” Firsching taking the top spot with Cruz Zachary ( pictured below) close on his bumper.

The second main for the SC4x4 was just as exciting with the same guys up front with Barry, and Firsching taking the top two spots. Wynn,and Zachary rounded out the top four. With the points tight after two rounds the last final would prove to be a barn burner.
All eyes were on the back stretch for the start of the final main in the SC 4×4 class. Team CRC driver Brian “Dumper” Wynn was in the pole with Barry, Zachary, and Firsching close behind. At the horn the top five jumped out from the pack trying to get a nice lead and duke it out among them selves.

Wynn jumped out front with Barry looking for a chance to get by. Zack finally made a move and never looked back leaving the other three to mix it up for second. Zachary,and Whopper put on a charge for Wynn getting by a couple of times but only to give it back settling for third. Jarrodd Goedel and Zachary swapped positions back and forth with Cruz edging out Goedel for the fourth spot and a career best fourth overall.
1/8th scale nitro Truggy was the first of the two big nitro classes to take to the track. Billy Fisher and Anthony Mazzaro start on the front row for the 45 min. Main.


Fisher wheeled his LOSI Truggy around the CRC layout for 45 miniutes without any pressure from behind. Mazzara Treignier, and Derek Sousa where 2nd, third, and fourth. Mark Calandra brought home a fith place finish for the home town crew.

The last race of the weekend was the Pro Buggy a Main. Once again Fisher and Mazzara started 1-2 on the long back stretch. Just like in the Truggy main Fisher checked out with Mazzara trying to stay on the same lap ,but ended up a few laps behind after the final horn sounded. Mazzara was followed by Jay Cristiano 3rd, (CRC shauffer) Tom Firsching 4th and Carpet ace Paul Ciccarello rounded out the top five. Race Promotor Frank Calandra Jr. finished i the sixth spot.

Open Buggy  Justin Drinks

Intermediate Buggy Douglas Smith

Electric Buggy Rick Redmin

Open Arena Truck Carl Smart

Inter. Arena Truck Bill Tuttle

10th Short Course Brian Wynn

Outback Raceway Ready To Rock

Outback’s Spring & Summer R/C racing begins April 15 through September 16. Gates open at 11:00; sign ups begin @12:00.

The racing action starts at 1:00 sharp. If you are going to be late call ahead to sign up.

Test and Tune and open practice will cost $5 a day or buy a seasons unlimited pass for $45.

Sunday Points Challenge 

  • May 20th – August 5th.
  • 12 weeks – 3 drops.
  • Compete in all 12 races earn 12 bonus points.
  • Prizes and Best attendance awards to be giving out at the end of series “Don’t miss out”.
  • Entry fees $10 first class $5 each additional class.
  • $2 transponder rentals per racer. Transponders available for purchase at Outback Raceway.
  • Classes Sportsman, Pro 2, and Pro 4 Short course trucks.
  • If we have three or more vehicles we will run that class.
So blow the dust off your R/C vehicles and come on out to “The Fast Track” Outback Raceway!

For Track conditions or race info please call 607-423-0253 Check us out on Facebook @Outback Raceway.
Track Address 4363 1/2 North Homer Ave. Cortland,NY 13045
Stay tuned for info on the 2012 Mr. Short Course Series. Maybe you will be called Mr. Short Course!