Police Chase in Action

Here is my latest picture of myself and my daughter involved in a high speed police chase after we knocked off the local bank and stole loads of gold bullion bars to help with my retirement.

Below I will explain how I took this picture with the equipment used.

To do the light trails I needed it to be dark out, whilst I was waiting I used the last of the daylight to prepare a few things.
First of all I cleaned all the car windows inside and out to reduce glare and reflections and to get rid of dirt and smears, for this I used general window cleaning spray then finished off with scrunched up newspaper which is great for drying the liquid and leaving the glass spotless.
Next I wanted to do a test shot and see how I could put my camera and tripod in the car.
My car has the usual 3 back seats but they all fold down individually which is great as I only needed to fold down the central seat, I could then put my camera and tripod in the boot using the space of the central chair to look through pointing my camera towards the front.
After setting up the camera I took a few test shots trying different focal lengths and compositions ready for later.
Next I removed the headrests of the front seats so they didn't block any of the view or us.

Below is a picture of inside the boot of my car

I took this with a compact camera to show my set up.
Sorry about the mess lol.
As you can see my tripod fits nicely in the boot giving it an even footing which will keep it sturdy as we will be moving whilst taking the shots.
Before we set off I also rested my Lowepro vertex 200 camera back pack against my tripod to add extra stability.
Not sure if you can see this but if you look closely I have 2 x Jessops 360 AFD's wedged into the headrest of the rear seats with the heads pointing forwards towards the front but tilted up slightly, both flashguns had blue gels on which gave me that nice blue all over the interior hopefully giving the effect of the police lights from behind as we where being chased.
My flashguns where fired wirelessly using my Yongnuo RF-602 trigger and receivers.
To fire the shutter I used my Hahnel wired cable release with extension cord.
I ran the cable release round the side of my drivers seat which meant I had the button on my lap and could press the button at anytime activating the shutter.
The beauty of this set up was I could take a picture and concentrate fully on my driving.

Below is a picture of my equipment used for the main shot

  • Nikon D300s
  • Sigma 10-20
  • 2x Jessops 360 AFD's with blue gels
  • Hahnel cable release and extension cord
  • Yongnuo Rf 602 trigger and receivers
  • Manfrotto 055xprob tripod and 496 RC2 ball head
  • Gold Bullion Bar
The best thing about using my ultra wide sigma 10-20 was I could squeeze so much of that interior into my shot.
My start settings where
  • 20 seconds
  • f/9
  • ISO 200
  • 10mm
  • auto white balance
  • both flash guns at full power
I had to keep pulling over after taking shots then opening the boot to check the pictures on the camera LCD.
Final settings
  • 15 seconds
  • f/10
  • ISO 200
  • 10mm
  • auto white balance
  • Both flash guns half power

I needed a longish exposure to capture those light trails as I was driving and mid range aperture to have sufficient dof in the car.
My camera flash setting was set to rear sync mode so the flashes fired at the end of the exposure to try and get us as clear as possible after capturing the trails.

Right taking the picture itself, I pulled the car over then put on my ski mask and made sure the cable release was in my lap then handed the gold bar to my daughter.
I then pulled away driving to the speed limit which was mostly 30mph.
I wasn't sure if this would have been too fast as I read somewhere that you need to drive as slow as possible to keep the camera as steady as possible especially with the long shutter speeds, but after looking at my shot the interior was crisp and clear doing 30mph.
When we approached an area with lots of street lights and cars I told my daughter to hold up the bar and look at the camera whilst I concentrated on the driving.
I pressed the shutter button and drove as steady as possible for the 15 second duration.

Not sure what the police would have thought if we where pulled over, finding us in the car with ski masks and gold bullion lol.

There where a couple of things that didn't go to plan, my daughter being quite young couldn't see over the top of the seat properly and as the gold bullion bar was so heavy she couldn't hold it out more towards the camera which also meant she couldn't keep it still enough for the duration of the shot. 
I wanted the gold bar held right up to the lens which would have looked great but this shot was a learning curve and I now know what I need to do next time to improve on things.

Post Processing
  • Added an 's' curve for contrast
  • Lifted the shadows to enhance the interior
  • Spot removal
  • Added sharpening using the high pass filter
  • Added a police car in the rear view mirror using masks

Click on the link below to view the image on Flickr which also has a fun write up
Picture on Flickr