It was a blast! Dover International Speedway was the host for this past weekend’s NASCAR events. Both the Nationwide series and the Sprint cup series visited the “Monster Mile”. This was my second credentialed NASCAR event (the first at Pocono raceway earlier this year) and it was challenging. I feel it’s my job to cover an event so someone who wasn’t there could get a feeling of what happened, and for someone that was there, to give them the unique view of things not everyone gets to see.
I divide this up into a few categories:
People: Being close to the action gives me the opportunity to capture famous people doing what they do best, but it can also open a window into the things that make celebrities human, like a smile or a laugh. Emotions are something we all connect with.
Places: There’s only one “Monster Mile” and it has a huge stone creature breaking through the ground and picking up a life sized race car and threatening to throw it. I had to have a picture of it. I’ve seen hundreds of pictures of it so I thought I would get up before dawn and head over to capture his photo with a dark blue sky. When I got there I noticed that his red eyes were illuminated from within. It made the picture even more intense. Another thing I try to incorporate into some of the pictures is something to show where the picture is being taken. The picture of the winner doing a burnout in front of the stands has more significance when the name of the racetrack is also in the picture. There are some places that some spectators don’t get to see close up, like cars going through tech inspections, drivers' meetings, pit row, and inside the garages. I try to give people a meaningful glimpse.
Action: This is difficult for any event, but especially when the event is so huge. With a team of photographers stationed at different points in a venue some things still get missed. Being alone I have to pick and choose based upon past experience of what’s likely to happen. I know there are driver introductions, the National Anthem will be sung, cars will enter the pits at certain times, the checkered flag will wave, celebrations will occur, and so on. I try to be in the right place at the right time. Some of it is having an excellent strategy; a lot of it is luck.
Things: To photograph the intricate details of a race car, and not miss the way a sunbeam falls across the track, photographers (I think) must have an artistic side. I try to find ways of expressing what I see in ways others don’t normally think about. I use skills I have learned to help share my artistic view of the event. A close-up of a signature scripted across a shiny blank paint job, or the reflection of the sky in a Sprint Cup trailer, or the view of a pit stop from as low as possible all give my mind a challenge. It’s what keeps things interesting.