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.