NASCAR at Chicagoland

Well it was hot, sweltering hot. The kind of heat where if you’re standing in the shade but your shoe isn't, in about a minute, you think your foot is on fire. We, the crew for NKP, suffered through rain delays, heat indices of 114 degrees Farenheight, and what looked like a storm that could turn into a tornado at any second.

Fortunately everyone survived and I was able to get a few shots that I really enjoyed from over the long weekend. When I say long I mean a full four days. NASCAR is typically a three day weekend but since the ARCA series was joining the Trucks, Xfinity and Monster Cup series there were races Thursday through Sunday.

Chicagoland is a great racetrack. It's the poster child for mile and a half NASCAR tracks. Almost exactly like Kansas (In fact I sometimes refer to either of them as ChKansas) except there's no psychedelic colored lights in the tunnel and there is no writing on the seats in the grandstands.

As far as racing, some of the highlights were Brett Moffitt winning the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race in an unmarked truck. Drawing attention to the fact that an unsponsored truck bested the field. The other big news was that Alex Bowman, driving the team Hendrick Chevy sponsored by Axalta, finally scored his first win in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Please enjoy this brief gallery from my time there.

F3 and F4 take Pittsburgh International race complex by storm!

It was a great week to spend in Western Pennsylvania at the Pittsburgh International race complex. The F3 America's series dove into round #3 and the F4 America's notched up round 2. With both series coming into the main part of their seasons competition was high and excitement was even hight. 

 To see the photo highlights from F3 click here: F3 Pittsburgh

For the F4 highlights click here: 

F4 Pittsburgh 

 

Enjoy! 

Let Them Eat Cake!

Being a professional photographer (and owning all the gear that goes along with that title) I do get asked (wink wink) to document a lot of family/friend gatherings. The one's I enjoy most are the ones with young children. That glorious age before self aware embarrassment and the fear of looking less then proper sets in. Remember those days of salivating over a cake that was made especially for you? With your favorite flavors? With your favorite colours? With your favorite television character? With YOUR NAME ON IT?!?!?!?!??!?!?

The only though in my head as a child was plowing my face into that chocolate indulgence and letting sweet icing slide over every taste bud. Ah to be young again.

Emmaleigh blows out the candles on her birthday cake.

Emmaleigh blows out the candles on her birthday cake.

Here’s Emmaleigh and her cousin Logan enjoying birthday cake in ways only children can.

Let's break it down

With not much availability for movement, improvization is key.

Nikon D5 nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 FL VR ISO 125 f/8 1/13 sec

Nikon D5 nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 FL VR ISO 125 f/8 1/13 sec

At Kansas Speedway when your shooting from the outside access is limited to one of the photo holes in the fence for safety reasons. This means that for the entire expanse around the track the availability shooting locations are 4 cutouts each approximately 8 feet wide and 2 feet tall. Trying to capture something different can be a bit of a challenge. What I like about this picture is the curve of the bottom lights in the foreground and how it leads the eye deeper into the picture. The truck is well set off by its sharpness and colour popping against the gray track. The blur of the billboards conveys the speed to the viewer. The skill of seeing at slower shutter speeds if truly an art.

What was I thinking?: IMSA at Mid-Ohio 2019

In a messy wet weekend at Mid-Ohio racecourse I found myself muddy, shaking off some kind of sinus infection and soaked through. While not one of my favorite track Mid-Ohio offers some excellent photo opportunities. I wanted to share a few of my favorites, along with my thoughts about my photos. I'm calling this new blog idea, "What was I thinking?"

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I thought it was a pretty straightforward idea. Try to capture as many cars as I could during the start of the Weathertech Race. Nice sky is a plus, being a bit backlit is not. I had to pull the shadows up more then I would have liked to but the light was pretty harsh. It was pretty much the first time I had seen the Sun the whole weekend, but at least the colours popped. I hate the fact that there are at least six safety vehicles in the center of the photo, but it’s not like I could adjust and try to shoot around them. Aside from that I like the picture. Except for one thing that is compromising. I want to show a lot of cars to convey that it’s the start of the race. To do that I can’t sho a ton of motion. I hate looking at parked cars on a racetrack, but sometimes it’s a matter of priorities. Nikon D850 Nikkor 24-70 FL VR ISO 64 SS 1/1000 f5.6

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The BLUE! That’s what I was thinking about. That bright beautiful Blue Lamborghini. With all that yellow and green, colour theory years for some blue, and there it was, right in the middle. The other thing that drew my eye was the curve. That big giant ess drawing the eye from corner to corner. Poetry in motion. Nikon D850 Nikkor 400mm F2.8 @ f7.1 1/400 ISO 50

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Colour and sharpness. Shots like this are a challenge for a few reasons. Mostly composition and speed. To be this wide I needed to be far enough away from the racetrack to include the foliage. I also needed a spot for the racecar to stand out. (composition) To show motion I needed a very low shutter speed because of the small amount of distance the car would cover because of my distance from the track. Panning gets exponentially harder the longer the shutter is open, and I needed that car to be in that exact spot. Needless to say, there’s A LOT of deleted pictures around this shot. I was shooting for Ignite Media while I was there and their client is MAZDA. After 20 minutes, and countless laps. I had 2 pictures that I could work with. Nikon D5 Nikkor 70-200 FL VR ISO 50 1/15 F13

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Location, Location, Location. Certain access points are restricted during race weekends. Some even to credentialed photographers. The starter’s stand at Mid-Ohio is often one of these locations. But knowing the right people and planning ahead comes in handy. With rolling starts and a front stretch that isn’t too long, the green flag waves at Mid-Ohio along the ribbon of asphalt after TURN #3. Allowing a head on shot of the field is an expected photo for delivery at almost every track, and Mid-Ohio provides a unique perspective. Nikon D850 Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ISO 200 f/5.6 1/800 sec.

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I’m standing in about 4 inches of mud. And by that I mean 4 inches deep of mud. I almost lost each shoe more then twice. It was raining. Not hard, but I already had a loaner camera from Nikon while my D5 was in for repair from a rain incident two weeks before. What caught my eye was the spray as the LMP’s crested the hill. I was shooting through the fence so i chose a very low f stop. Way to go Nikon! Nikon D850 400mm f/2.8 ISO 200 F/3.2 !/320

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At the moment I was thinking, “Stay out of the way, just keep your eyes open and watch for cars approaching, cuz you could die!” The Mazda tore in and the crew came storming out for service. Pit stop practice is thrilling and dangerous, but it’s where races are won and lost. Pit stops can make or break your race, and the Team Joest crew is one of the best! Nikon D5 Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 FL VR ISO 800 1/800 f/3.2

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Wet and Dry: It had rained off and on all morning but as soon as the LMP cars came onto the track shortly after lunch the clouds parted and sunshine scorched the asphalt. Sections were still puddled so every now and then water would douse the car trailing behind. I got lucky as the first car was on dry track so it was the second car that obscured the patriotic car close behind. Nikon D850 Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ISO 32 f/5.6 1/320sec

I hope you enjoyed this post. I hope to write more like it to share stories behind the photos. Let me know via any social media.