Thursday, September 11, 2008

Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300

What a mouthful! Yes, that was the full name of the race I shot over the weekend... which was the very first motor sports event I have ever covered. But no way was I going to be allowed to use that as an excuse for crappy pictures, because the race, which was held at the Chicagoland Speedway, was going to be the one that decided the 2008 IndyCar Series championship! It was strange do have my first race be a championship deciding race, but I wasn't the only one. Both AP and Reuters sent folks who had never shot racing before either. Why so many first timers for such a big race? Probably because everybody else was covering the first week of NFL football.

Anyways, shooting racing is actually a multi-day event. There are several sessions over the course of the weekend: practices, qualifying, and the actual race. And then there's usually more than one race (for example, this weekend there was an IndyCar Series race, an ARCA race, and an Indy Lights race... don't ask me what any of those mean). Shooting practices and qualifying was kind of ridiculous, as it's just shooting drivers as they get in and out of cars, getting ready to run time trials on the track. Pretty much, all it is good for is shooting features and headshots for the actual race, which is usually held the next day (or so I'm told).

So now we get to the actual race. So racing is a lot like every other sport. It is an easy sport to shoot, but a difficult one to shoot well. Anybody can shoot cars going round and round in circles and of course, the finish line shot, but of course, all that gets boring after a while.

There are a couple ways to spice things up. First, you have to hope for crashes and exploding engines. I got this one car as it went down the track on fire, but missed the moment of impact because I didn't realize the car was in danger of losing control. I had always thought shooting crashes would be easy because you can see the cars wobble, but that's not really the case. Racing veterans often wear headsets that broadcast the communications between the drivers and the crews so they know what's going on in a race. I know for next time to wear a radio so that I can hear the communications chatter so I know who is in trouble and wear so I can better react to who is about to hit a wall or burst into flames.

The second way to spice things up (and this is starting to sound real old coming off of all my Olympics posts), is of course to go out there and look for something different. Work different angles, use signage, or look for some pretty light or patterns. All in all, I think I did a decent job of covering the race... considering that it was my first time out to the track.

At the end of the day, Helio Castroneves edged out Scott Dixon to win the race, but Dixon got the last laugh, as he was able to clinch the 2008 IndyCar Series championship and celebrated in style.... I mean look... there were 100 dollar bills mixed into the confetti! Fake or not, I've never seen that before!


Anonymous sun said...

cool photos!
those awesome photos are all shot by yourself?
p.s. hahppy full moon festival:)

7:23 AM  

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