Lighting lessons you can learn at monster truck rallies

First rule of photography, always shoot in RAW, don’t be lazy


So I broke the first rule (that I totally just made up), and shot in JPEG for the Octane Fest Monster Truck Spring Nationals in Fallon, Nev. June 13. What happened because of that? I lost my ability to color correct these images to a perfect white balance, because JPEG just doesn’t allow for that. So what did I learn? Science.

Time Flys Monster Truck

Notice the color shift? Photo by Mike Higdon

This GIF is the most obvious if you look carefully. The color cast rotates between violet and green. This comes from inexpensive fluorescent bleacher lighting and American AC electricity. Power to the light comes in alternative waves (a sine wave) and on one side of the wave you get green and the other side you get violet. With a high-speed shutter such that can capture this monster truck’s high-speed spin, you will also catch that sine wave because it takes 1/60th of a second to shift from one to the other. If I had shot at 1/60th shutter speed it would’ve been white but then the truck would be a blurry mess. And in JPEG, you can’t really fix the color as well (it was way worse than what you see here). Source.


But enough about science, here’s some cool monster truck show pics