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Event photography (Monster Jam)


Hello Canon community! I'm fairly new to cameras in general, I got my first REAL camera, a Canon EOS Rebel T5 about two years ago and have taken a few decent shots with it, but I'm still no expert. I'm sure I still don't have the most desirable lenses either.


So to get to the point, in a few months I'll be going to a motor sports event called "Monster Jam." If you don't know what it is, for short it's a bunch of monster trucks smashing some cars. Anyway, the arena im going to is only about the size of a hockey rink, so I'm assuming I won't need a lot of zoom to get good video/photos. Now, since I still don't know as much as I'd like about cameras in general, I'd like to know several things.


1. What's easier to accomplish at such a sporting event with moving subjects? Photo or Video?


2. What are some tips for photos? I've never had great experience with getting photos of moving objects so I need some help on that


3. I still only have my Canon EOS rebel T5 and 3 lenses, but the only lens I have with decent zoom on it is a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III, so is it even possible to get decent photos with such a set up. (There will be no room for a tripod in the grand stands)


Thanks for your tips, it's greatly appreciated!


  1. Hard to say for photo or video as this will be dependant on your comfort level, background and needs.
  2. Would recommend the following settings for moving subjects: shooting mode (M, Av or Tv), AI Servo AF, Continuous Drive, Single Point AF (keep it in the center) and make sure you have a fast shutter speed (at least 1/500s). Full press and hold to take pictures or keep pressure on the shutter button so autofocus is actively working for you at all times. Make sure you start focusing with your subject of interest under your AF point.
  3. Your 75-300mm lens would be okay for what you need. Image quality won't be the best, but that's okay. You can always rent a lens if you are in need of better quality.

Some of the information in my article here should help with the exception of the shutter speed recommendation. If you have enough light start at 1/1000 but try to stay over 1/500 to properly freeze the action. If you're doing well you may want to try a few slow shutter speeds for fun to achieve motion blur to the wheels / tires & background but this kind of venue can be frozen & still portray the action.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."


"3. I still only have my Canon EOS rebel T5 and 3 lenses, ..."


You didn't mention what lenses?  So, I will assume you have the standatrd kit lenses usually associated with the Rebel T5.

If this assumption is correct, you lenses are going to be pretty slow and going to present a real challenge for great photos indoors.   And additional issue is you said, "There will be no room for a tripod in the grand stands."

That is a real problem, too.  Shooting from the bleachers is never ideal.


You can still get photos.  You might have to compromise a bit.  You might consider buying the ef EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens.

The very first thing to do is forget the T5 has 'Auto' mode.  Forget it, never use it again. I would use the widest apeture you have availible, within reason for the confitions, and set the camera to Av.  You need to use a high ISO.  The highest that you can be happy with.  Using Av mode, the T5 will selcet the highest SS it can for proper exposure.


Without seeing the actual place no one here can tell you exact settings or if it is even possible. The T5 is a capable camera and even in Auto mode it will provide some decent results.  Probably the best advice is to use as high ISO that you can be happy with. The T5 has Auto ISO which you might make use of, too.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

I agree with Ernie. Having a wide aperture lens like the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM to use is a good idea. Note "STM on the end of model number. This is the one with the metal camera mount.  The previous model had a plastic mount.

I do not think you will need all that much focal length in an arena of the size you are suggesting.  Those trucks are fairly large, and you will want to get some of the "context" into the frame of the image.

As for video, you camera does not auto focus in video mode. You would need to amnually refcocus it. But, you could dial in the 18-55mm kit lens to its' hyperfocal distance, when it is set to an 18mm focal length, and just about everything beyond 10-20 feet should be in good focus.

The narrower the aperture, the shorter the hyperfocal length distance. I use this table often to select lenses.

"The right mouse button is your friend."