Photographing the World of Speed Museum

Today’s Post by Mark Toal

The World of Speed automobile museum uses historic racecars and motorcycles to tell the story of America’s love affair with the automobile and leadership role in world motorsports. It encompasses many aspects of motorsports including drag racing, road racing, land speed racing, motorcycle racing, as well as open wheel and NASCAR.

It tells the story of local tracks including Jantzen Beach and Portland International Raceway and local racers such as the legendary Indianapolis race car builder Rolla Vollstedt. Through interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, World of Speed offers visitors a behind-the-scenes view of the world of racing. Ford Motor Company recently donated a Mustang to World of Speed that will be reconfigured into a hands-on display to showcase how a car is constructed, what materials are used and how materials are recycled. A real Indy car will function as a simulator for fans of all ages, while a car formerly raced by Danica Patrick should appeal to female visitors.

I photographed some of the cars using a Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens on my Panasonic mirrorless cameras and the first thing I noticed is that at the widest apertures the lens was too soft for focus peaking to work on the camera. I quickly figured out that if I stopped down to f/8 or so focus peaking would kick in. Then I opened to the aperture that I thought provided the soft focus that I was looking for. I ended up shooting most of the images at f/2.8 on the 56mm f/1.6 Velvet 56. Since the focal length is effectively doubled on the Micro Four-thirds format 18 x13.5mm) sensor the lens acts like it’s 112mm. In Lightroom I added sharpness and clarity to make the in focus point pop.

  • World of Speed
  • 27490 SW 95th Avenue
  • Wilsonville, Oregon
  • Hours: open 9 AM – 5 PM on Saturday and 10 AM – 5 PM all other days. They are closed Mondays. General Admission: $10.00, Seniors 63+, Students & Active Military (with valid ID): $8.50
  • Youth: 6-12 Years $5.00, 5 & Under: Free