Recently I had an awesome weekend of shooting the NASCAR event in Las Vegas with Mark Rebilas and US Presswire. I have admired Mark’s work for a couple years now and he and I have shared emails back and forth and we talked about the chance to become a student/intern; because of his schedule and mine it proved to be tough to link up but while home on R&R I got the call and off to Vegas we went.
I have to admit, I was a tab bit nervous about the weekend, I hadn’t touched my camera in 4 months and since I work overseas I hadn’t shot a motorsports event since 2006 so shaking off the rust was a concern of mine and boy was I rusty. Also, being a HUGE NASCAR fan it can be tough to separate yourself from a fan having a blast and there to work the event.
We arrived at the track mid morning the first day, picked up our Media Credentials and Hot Pass then headed straight to the Media Center to get settled in, then straight to the garage and turn four to catch the cars practicing.
First things first, find Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick….. Dale Jr and the rest of the cup field was getting a practice in before qualifying so I hit up a Dale Jr shot first. Word quickly spread through the media center that Danica was scheduled to be next door giving an interview; I never had the chance to shoot in the media center like that before and I was surprised how big the room was compared to Phoenix International Raceway. I was getting some really nice light in there as well as some good facial expressions she had and got to see first hand how redundant the questions from reporters can be, it’s almost like they think fans will forget what was asked last week.
Back out to the race track! The thing I like about shooting motorsports is that my models are going 190+ mph so it’s a challenge to get your timing down to “pan” with the cars and get a good shot that is in focus. Below is an example of freezing the action too well and the car just looks parked; says a lot about the quality of the camera but fails in portraying the speed and fast action.
The heavy overcast and weather coming in posed a challenge for getting a good shot, all the natural light was hidden behind clouds for most of the day and it being practice and qualifying there wasn’t a lot of action on the track so I spent most of my time in the garage area getting shots of drivers out of their cars.
I struggled with myself and the settings most of the day, I ended up with a lot of blown shots and pics generally out of focus. I couldn’t find my happy place at all so I was glad to see the end of the day come so I could go back to the hotel and figure out just what the heck I was doing wrong… after looking things over I decided that trying to shoot in Aperture Priority is not something I felt comfortable with just yet and an event like this is certainly not the place to try something new and expect to get shots you know you are capable of. Aperture and Shutter priority is something I want to become proficient at instead of being in full manual mode all the time but I have a ways to go yet.
© 2015 Butterfield Photography All Rights Reserved