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CAMERA TESTING WITH THE SONY A77 (3 OF 4)

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Part three of my four part write-up on testing the Sony a77 DSLR in various sports setting that I typically shoot  with my job. Please check out the previous post for details on the first test and a bit of an intro to this multi-part project: here

Taking the Sony a77 to the track

This is where I was most curious about the a77 and lenses… the racetrack.

The first chance I had at the track with the Sony system was with the Formula Drift race series. I was in Seattle for one of my larger clients, Falken Tire, who I handle a portion of their motorsports photography for. The first day I arrived earlier than I normally would for a race, which gave me a couple practice sessions to get out and test shoot a bit with the a77. I would be using the 300/2.8 that I brought out with me.

While I was, again, happy with how the lenses performed I was a little bummed with the speed of the focus tracking. I was getting a bit of motion blur even when using faster shutter speeds. But again, this could also have been human error, I won’t deny that either. The 300 & a77 combo gives and effective 450mm/2.8 reach – this is VERY far for Drift and Seattle was a smaller track (proximity of photogs to cars) compared to Atlanta or Jersey.
But more frustrating for me as a sport shooter were the delays of the camera itself. When bursting at 10fps (or just shooting anything in general) the Sony system puts a brief preview of the image you just shot up on the screen or viewfinder – whichever one you’re using at the time. There is no way to turn this off. In the menu you can turn off previews (or set them for 2, 4, etc, seconds). But even after turning my previews to Off, there is still a brief moment the image is on your display. I think this is the camera’s way of telling you “Hey man, I took a shot!” compared with a Canon or Nikon you’ll have that brief moment of black while the mirror and shutter are up to exposure the sensor. So, I am guessing Sony put this there as a way to reassure you the photo was captured.
Note: This is something that I’ve already talked to Sony about to try and clarify, with them, what I mean by the screen pausing. Now I wouldn’t compare the pause to the brief flash of black from a shutter on a Canon or Nikon – that’s too quick to affect your shot. The image pause on the Sony I found distracting enough to screw up my framing. This is something Sony also said they’ll ask about since it’s not a complaint they’ve heard previously.

But I want it turned off – or the ability to turn it off. That fraction of a second that there is an image in your viewfinder of something that JUST happened is long enough for your subject to move a bit and your framing to get messed up. So while it doesn’t affect the AF or anything like that, you might still not-get the shot due to accidentally cropping part of the subject out.
Now, I know that nothing will be as fast/accurate about what’s going on in front of your camera compared to a mirror, but if you’re looking at a screen you’re definitely going to want that screen as close to real-time as possible.

Another issue that I had with this camera in a race setting is the inability to “chimp” efficiently. As much as that term bugs me sometimes, it’s the perfect word to describe the action of “looking down right after a shot to see what it looks like” like a chimp inspecting something in front of them.
We ALL do this at the track CONSTANTLY. This can mean the difference between sorting through 500 photos when you download your card or 800 photos.

Now, I wasn’t using the most expensive SD card out there, so I’m sure there was some margin of error (read: slow) due to a cheaper card. But I don’t own SD cards since all my cameras use CF cards. So I’ll take some blame for the possible slow speed of writing to a less-expensive card I bought to save money.
However the camera seemed to write very very slow despite using a class 10 card as I was told to do. It was so slow, in fact, that I actually gave up trying to look at the photos I just shot because the camera was buffering them slowly. This won’t work for those of us who are used to quickly sorting through photos right after we shoot them, deleting (quickly) the bad/OOF shots, and being ready for when the next cars come by.
Note: After discussing this with Sony as well they pointed out the the horsepower of the a77 and it’s processor can’t compete at a level that’s near the power of the dual processors of the 1D lineup. It’s simply something that you will have to deal with at the price point of the a77. This was something I hadn’t put a lot of consideration to those days at the track because I don’t shoot with a 60D, ever.

Also another downside to the camera and the digital viewfinder setup was the sensor. On a bright and sunny day we all will put our hands around the LCD when reviewing shots. The light sensor on the back of the a77 always thought I was putting my face back up to the camera and would switch the view mode back to the camera’s viewfinder. This made it impossible at times for me to review photos without turning my entire body away from the sun (and action) to review photos in my own shadow rather than just use my hand.
Note: I discussed this with Sony, also. There are two options to handle this that were pointed out. First is to set the screen option to manual. So, using a button you can switch from viewfinder mode, to LCD, and back again. I personally would not like this option since it involves additional key presses and I’m sure that at some point I would put the viewfinder back to my eye quickly and forget to turn the viewfinder “on” by switching modes. The second option is to un-click the second the hinge of the LCD screen. This would lock the LCD into the “on” mode, however I have a feeling that there would be the same problem with not auto-switching back to the viewfinder when you try to use it again unless you click the LCD all the way back into position. Both of these simply would take practice and getting used to on the part of the photographer – they’re not something I would consider an end-all to using this system by any means.
My experiences with Off Road were similar to that of Formula Drift, so I won’t ramble on too much about it here.
However out at the off road track I tried the focus locking a bit more to see how well it would track a subject.
The way the focus lock works (put most simply) is that it would lock onto whatever was closest to the center and then track it as it moved around. Think of it as facial recognition tracking for large groups – that’s an easy way to describe it.
However when you have a bunch of trucks crossing paths and everything kinda blends together I think the system because overwhelmed. So, instead I stuck with Continuous focus and found that I got a bit better results as long as I kept my subject in the center of my viewfinder.

Overall thoughts on racing photography with the a77: Overall… it’s a very usable system. I think my initial experience shooting Drift with the a77 was hindered by the too-long lens combo on a track that was smaller than I expected. Below you will no photos from Drift, actually, because I’m just simply not happy with any of them.
I had much better luck at the Off Road track during the Lucas Oil Off Road race. The first day I was there was mostly practice which allowed me more time to shoot around and text. The system here, and longer glass worked very well, and with a larger track (both in size and distance) there was more time and flexibility when reviewing photos after shooting them.

Click the break for photos!

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Monster Energy Supercross w/ Falken Tire

Ok, so this is clearly just me and the Falken girls… but still.

This year I’ve been contracting with Falken Tire for the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series! It’s actually pretty great to once again be out on the track working with a major brand such as Falken. Several months ago I worked with them putting together the 2012 Falken Girls poster and promotional images of the girls. Three of them, Brittney Leigh, Julie Galindo, and Mayra Tinajero in the photo above with me. Now I’m handling a small part of their racing photography as well.
And most of you know that off road race photography is nothing new to me – I used to do a ton of it when I worked for K&N Filters. Working with Falken is very different though. I’m actually just as much a photojournalist for the day as I am a race photographer.

During the race day I spend a lot of my time with the Falken team photographing their fans and guests that come by the trailer to meet the models, enter the prize drawings and get more information about Falken products. I’ll typically make my way out to the track several times during practice to photograph Ryan Villopoto – not only the top racer in the series right now, but also Falken’s sponsored racer.

I’ll save all the rambling I could post and just put up some images… they’re more interesting anyway. haha!

Let’s start with the San Diego, Qualcomm Stadium race for Round 6..

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Lucas Oil Off Road Racer Portrait Series


Chad Leising – Rockstar Energy, Hart & Huntington

Shortly after this shot Chad did three interviews about the race series from the Rockstar Energy pool they set up. It was hilarious.

I’ve spent many weekends this summer shooting the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series each time they’ve come through the various tracks here on the west coast. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the drivers, teams, and team managers/owners. I’ve also met some really incredible photographers, too.
Well I decided that at the last LOORRS event I was at that I would start an ongoing photo essay. I would do very simple track-side portraits of the various drivers I knew and was meeting. I wanted to use harsh light, higher contrast, and just try and give a feel for what the series was like in the high temperature desert.
Between running from pit to pit, finding the drivers between their races, and shooting the races myself… I wasn’t able to complete nearly as many portraits as I hoped. But, there is always the opportunity at future races.

Enjoy the series. And please leave me some feedback or shoot me and email with your thoughts.


Josh Merrell – Liquid Graphics, Hart & Huntington

Josh was a really nice guy – and his wife was watching and laughing as I posed him for this shot. Although his bodyguard didn’t seem to like that I was touching him as I adjusted his shoulders… whoops… my bad.


Andrew Comrie-Picard – NOS Energy, K&N Engineering

Andrew came out to race off road trucks – he’s a rally racer… and you can sure as hell bet that not only did he take podium (3rd) but he also kicked some ass doing it by coming all the way up from the back of the pack.


Ricky James – S2, K&N Engineering

Ricky was incredible to watch race. After an injury from racing motocross left him disabled he now races off road truck. His precision driving is extremely apparent from my spot right there on the track. And taking 1st place finishes in this first races out that weekend he proved that he’s someone who will be around a while.


Rodrigo Ampudia – Papas & Beer

Rodrigo was one of the funniest guys on the track to talk with – probably because he’s a young guy out there on the track too. His team is great, and I have some awesome shots of Rodrigo pushing his truck to the limits on the track.


Corry Weller – Weller Racing

I met Corry shooting ATV/Quadcross… and then found out she races UTV and Superlite trucks at LOORRS. I’m fairly sure that I couldn’t do half the stuff she does on her ATV though out of fear I’d break my neck.


Bradley Morris – BME Motorsports, K&N Engineering

Bradley and his entire family and team are truly amazing people. I almost always hang out with these guys at the races and they always make sure I’m surviving in the heat/weather. Bradley races trophy kart right now – which has got to be the coolest thing to brag about at school, I swear.


Robby Melton – BME Motorsports

Robby is on the same team at Bradley, and a pretty good racer himself. I watched Robby snap a wheel completely off his kart and keep racing until the kart couldn’t handle the turns on three wheels and he had no choice but to stop. In my next life, sign me up to be a little badass like Robby, too.


Jimmy Stephensen

Jimmy and his team were great people, too. I didn’t get to spend much time chatting with them unfortunately.


Leroy Loerwald

I had actually met Leroy at the race prior to this particular weekend. Leroy had actually flipped his truck, multiple times, toward the beginning of the weekend. He broke his arm in the process. But, he was back and healed by this time out.


Malcolm Pointon

Malcolm actually races buggy, not the trucks that most of the other drivers I met race. I also had taken some really great shots of him a month before meeting him at a different race. If you skim through my portfolio you’ll find one of Malcolm hitting a jump in his buggy.


Todd Cuffaro – Rockstar Energy, Metal Mulisha

I had the hardest time tracking down Todd and Brian Deegan. However, right at sunset I was able to get a few minutes of Todd’s time for a quick shot. Brian, however, didn’t have time before his race unfortunately.


Carey Hart – Rockstar Energy, Hart & Huntington

The question I always get asked is if Carey is a nice guy – yes, he’s an incredibly cool guy. Carey was able to make time for me, as he said he would, in between a million other pre-race things he was running around trying to do. This shot makes him look pretty gruff, too; he’s really not this rugged looking in person… but I guess it adds to the effect.

So, that’s pretty much it. I’m hoping to continue to add to the series as time goes on. We’ll see how it all goes. I may do some more tweaking to the colors a bit before uploading to my portfolio. But for now, this is how the whole set will look.

And again, feedback is always welcome.

Drag racing, XDL Freestyle Sportbike, and photoshoots…

Yep, that’s my boss.
No, really… it is.

Last Friday I went to Fontana to photograph some drag race practice for the day. The frustrating thing about shooting drag racing, other then them just going in a straight line, is that it’s not really a good sport to shoot during the day. Night time, dusk, lower light conditions are what help make for some really nice drag images..
But, I did the best that I could and came home with some halfway decent stuff. This particular shot is actually cropped in quite a bit from 200mm and has lost a lot of detail in the process. The day was also a practice day for select individuals to come out and test new setups – so, needless to say, it was slow moving.

This rider had a few shaky starts to his runs. I was actually fairly certain he was going to lose it at a couple points. But, he held it together and didn’t bail (thankfully).

Saturday I spent the majority of the day at the XDL Sportbike Freestyle championship in Irwindale. (I make my rounds to all the tracks in Socal, haha)
Honestly, for me, watching these guys break out some of these tricks makes me want to pick up a bike and start learning. I would never be an idiot out on the freeway doing this crap… but it’d be fun to just know how to control a bike like that.
I came home that night with a few hundred images from the competition. I still haven’t had time to sort them since I’m so busy with my other projects. However you can bet that I’ll be adding these to my portfolio soon. I’d also really love to do a dusk shoot with some color and lights with some of these guys… that’d rock.

I’ve also been catching up on TONS of other work from July – and even a bit from June. I’m incredibly swamped with work right now and have had trouble keeping up on my editing for my site. My work, and work for clients I’m on top of, however the stuff I do for myself I’m wayyyy behind on.

That being said, check out this wonderfully attractive image of yours truly:

This was during the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series, in Lake Elsinore, Calif. in the middle of June. It was over 105 degrees out on the track all three days. Yes, I’m wearing long sleeves and a scarf – my hat was on the table. I stay completely covered for outdoor race events. You stay cooler sweatin in a long-sleeve than you do in a t-shirt with the sun beating down on you.
Try it. Seriously.

Speaking of editing and catching up on some other work. This is an engagement shot I did in Michigan. I’ll be photographing Mike and Christina’s wedding next summer – can’t wait, we’re gonna rock it out with photos.
Sure, this shot is  a bit cheesy, but you know what… you need at least one cheesy, cutesy, pleasemomanddad photo during your engagement shoot.

And lastly tonight, a bit of insight on how I shoot.. I roll deep at weddings, night time location shoot, two assistants… ballllllin’
HAHAHA.

This is an image of the location shoot I did for Todd and Jessica during their wedding in Northern Michigan in July. This was during setup for our night shoot during the reception. We disappeared for nearly an hour, people started to wonder what happened, haha.
This is my Speedlite and Pocket Wizard setup. So easy to use, and very flexible for many locations and scenarios.

So, that will wrap up this update.
Tomorrow I leave to go back up to the Bay Area and see some friends and family. It’s another whirlwind weekend in the middle of my extremely busy schedule. I’m booked up the next two months solid – and once I return to LA on Sunday I’ll need to get back to editing again.

Hopefully I’ll have portfolio updates soon everyone!
Just keep coming back to see me

;)

Another incredible off-road race, wrapped!

Last night wrapped the final day of the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series, Lake Elsinore, event. As many of you have already read, I spent three days out there again this month covering the races. The main difference this time around, compared to last month, was that these races were held at night. And, for only one heat… we had some incredible light!

The day, overall, was slow paced for me. I spent most of it tracking down certain drivers and trying to set up some portraits for my side project I was doing during this particular weekend. Unfortunately I was only able to shoot an additional three drivers – but, that’s better than not being able to shoot any. More on that later though…

It’s really unfortunate that more of the racing couldn’t have this kind of light! How amazing would it be to have a series of race images with this kind of color? Granted, I would have needed some Alien Bees and my Pocket Wizards to REALLY play it up and take advantage of the light… but either way, I wish sunset lasted longer than one race, haha.

And check out this shot of Robby Melton… I wish I was this much of a badass at his age. Seriously. How much fun would this have been in Elementary school? I had to settle for the little go karts at the mini golf place. I feel slightly cheated out of race-driver-in-training childhood.

Now I mentioned above that I was able to do a bit more on my portraits project that I previewed in my last post. Sunday evening I had the pleasure of meeting, and photographing, Carey Hart. Here’s a guy who was not only a really chill person, but also a man of his word – which can be very rare in this industry. Carey agreed to a shoot at dusk, which as it turned out, was perfect for my lighting. And even as busy as Carey was, he still made time to meet with me – which is hugely appreciate.
Check out this portrait below..

Let me know what you think in either a comment, or shoot me an email. I would love feedback on this series of portraits I’m working on.

Night fell pretty quick, and that’s when things started to get really serious… Trophy Kart was done, UTV was done, and Buggy had long since been over… It was time for the trucks.
Lighting, was harsh… I’m not going to lie. But, I love a challenge, and even if I don’t come back with a ton of images, I can usually create something cool.

Above is Rodrigo Ampudia driving the Papa’s & Beer truck, being chased by the KMC truck – which is quite obviously rocket-powered.

Rodrigo was one of my favorite drivers to photograph all weekend. He was realllly pushing his trucks to the limits – sometimes a bit too far actually. And again, the fun part about night shots is capturing the flames that shoot out of the exhaust. I would have loved to do some dusk drag-racing shots when I was in Nevada a few months ago, but the weather didn’t permit it.

This shot of Carl Renezeter is among my favorites from that night too. This shot is pretty much straight out of camera. Let’s hear it for the 1D Mark III, L glass and some serious hand-held panning skills huh? To be fair, panning at 1/100 of a second is not difficult at all. This was shot at 1/100, f/2.8, ISO800 at 80mm with my 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and 1D Mark III with available light from the track floods – no additional speedlites/etc used.

Another example I wanted to share. Number 99, Robby Woods – a really cool guy who actually wrenches on his own truck. I don’t care who you are, it’s impressive to walk into a pit and see the driver hunched over his rig making repairs on his own.
The above image hasn’t been altered in any way. No color correction or toning – nothing at all.
It’s shot, completely handheld, at 1/60 of a second, f/3.5, ISO800 at 70mm with my 1D Mark III and 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens.
I really wanted to share with everyone what my images look like, uncropped, straight from camera.

Here’s another quick shot of KMC’s rocket truck! Haha, seriously though… there were quite a few trucks spittin’ flames last night. KMC and Papa’s & Beer just happened to be in front of my lens most of those times.

I thought this might be a nice image to end on.
It feels a bit serene… Like it’s all quiet on the track and this lone truck is out there by himself in the moonlight. Of course that’s not actually the case, but it’s fun to make up little stories in your head, right?

Overall, I’m thrilled with the images I came back with this weekend. I shot quite a bit less than previous races – but, I was aiming for more variety and trying some new things. Some of those new things worked, and some didn’t. I have more ideas for what I’d like to try in the future and will hopefully get some opportunities to do other shoots with various drivers or teams directly in the future for other projects.

In the mean time however I have quite a few photos to edit still and some major updates to my portfolio to do at some point. But I’m also still editing previous wedding shoots from this month.

I’m still busy as hell, and will continue on like that the next six weeks.

But when you’re doing something you love, it’s hard to call it work.
I haven’t had a day off in a month – but I barely notice.

Good night everyone!

Lucas Oil Off Road, Day 2… Rocked

Yesterday was Day 2 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series event at Lake Elsinore. This time around the racing was all at night – with made for some tricky lighting, but also some bitchin’ shots.
From my location on the track, around turn 5, I noticed pretty quickly that some of the trucks were backfiring pretty bad. And after getting a pretty cool flame shot during the Long Beach Grand Prix, I decided I wanted a night-backfire-shot from off road, too. It was only another two laps or so before I nailed this one; the image itself is a bit grainy… but it’s shot with only available light – I don’t have Alien Bees to set up on the track and risk them getting run over.

The racing actually started in the evening, at dusk. Here’s what shots were lookin’ like before the sun went away completely. Not terrible, but not amazing either. I think I miiiiight actually bring some of my 580EXII’s and Pocket Wizards out to the track tonight and play with some lighting at sunset… maybe… that’s a lot of gear to risk.

This shot was made during the Unlimited 4’s… Carl DESTROYED the rear end on his truck coming off a jump. I was fairly sure he was going over the way that he landed (right in front of where I was shooting from). He held it together just fine, but the truck was done – and he was out of that race.

Flames were pretty common in the Unlimited 2’s and Superlite classes. There were mainly three trucks or so that kept backfiring when they landed. KMC Wheels was one of those trucks. I was able to get a few pretty good shots of it. This image looks really soft as I read this post – I need to double check if my images are being resized on upload… grrr.

Last but not least… another preview of the portraits I was shooting yesterday. These are quite simple, rough, harsh portraits of the various drivers. I shot these with hard, direct light for the really dramatic and powerful effect. What these guys do for a living is pretty hardcore, I wanted some cool images to show that attitude. The above driver, Leroy, is the driver who flipped his truck last month (see earlier posts for photos). Really great guy and his race team has treated me great this weekend.

So, now it’s about time to start packing up my gear and get ready to ready to head out. I have one more day/night of race coverage for this event. We’ll see if I feel like setting up my Speedlites today – I’d love to play with some light and color, but am also half certain that my gear will get run over out there. hahaha.

Check back late tonight or tomorrow morning for an update of the results of the entire weekend!

Back in Lake Elsinore, shooting LOORRS once again.

Today was the first of another three days of off road racing at Lake Elsinore for the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series. I was out at this track a month ago covering the same race/series. Today wasn’t quite as hot, but I would say it was MUCH more dry, and MUCH more dusty… All around, a pretty miserable day.

I was incredibly frustrated with how many issues there were on the track – I have no idea what they were, I just know that I sat out on the track for an hour waiting for whatever the delay was to end. I came home with VERY few images in general, let alone many good ones.

I did, however, decide that I’m going to do a portrait series on our sponsored racers…

This is how I intend to shoot this series… very dramatic lighting… harsh, sharp shadows… The races are in the desert, these photos will pretty much demand this style I feel.
This is a portrait of Malcolm Pointon, from New Zealand. I actually have shared a few shots of him in previous posts. Today I had the pleasure of meeting him.

This is a shot I did of Malcolm last month as the previous race. It’s one of my favorites from that weekend.
Speaking of that weekend, I need to update my portfolio still with those images. I’m not behind by off road racing, flat track racing, two weddings, and an engagement shoot…

Too much to do, and too much edit.

I’m staying incredibly busy though… and honestly, I may hire someone to start assisting with editing.

Good night all, see you on the track tomorrow.

Done editing LOORRS – Lake Elsinore

Weeeeeeeee!!!!

I’m pretty sure that’s what he must be thinking… At least, I’d like to hope that’s what I’D be thinking if I was able to do a trick like that.
I finished editing down my images from the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series – Lake Elsinore event over the weekend. I was pretty ruthless when it came to cutting down my images, too. I’m going to have a few more chances to shoot this series, so anything not in focus or even slightly cropped in camera in a way I didn’t like got the cut.

Tomorrow I’ll need to go through and make my selections for my portfolio update. I’m going to need to do a MASSIVE race photo update later this week. I have SO many new images to upload. Honestly, I’m probably going to break my Racing section into different categories so certain types of sports are easier to find. I’ll also probably need to start removing images since there are so many.

I actually really like this image. Bright and clean, with some really great motion blur. But, all the sponsor stickers are easy to read as well. Expect many images like this in future updates as I’ve become increasingly good at capturing various levels of blur as slow as 1/40 of a second.
In future races I’ll continue to experiment with different angles/etc since I can knock out all my standard shots in a few laps now.

And, last in tonight’s update… another near-death moment. These are the shots I like to send to my family… typically with the caption: “Great news! I’m not dead!”
This particular instance isn’t quite as close as what happened in Primm… but, it’s not exactly far away either…

Don’t worry Mom, I’m careful on the track!

Anyway, check back soon for further updates. I did a quick update to the Fashion section of my portfolio. But, next is that big Racing overhaul… yikes.. a lot of work ahead of me…

Wheels are overrated anyway…

Yesterday was all about rolling your vehicle… today was about losing your wheels… tires.. and other important parts of your suspension, haha.
The driver above actually completed an additional lap and a half at least before opting out of the race after his tire flew off his buggy.

Now take a close look at this shot of Robby… see what he managed to snap off his trophy kart during his race?

Now this driver didn’t lose a tire or wheel… However he ran most of the race with this “hood” popped up and blocking most of his view. Hats off to him though… as he didn’t lose his position through the entirity of his view being obstructed. Hahaha.

Now there is nothing wrong with this truck…
Actually, this is to share another test of extreme motion blur.

I have a lot of time this weekend to experiment with panning, exposures, etc. I have all the shots I need from Friday – so now it’s time for fun stuff.
Yesterday I played around with 1/80 of a second. Today I was determined to beat that.
The shot above is at 1/40 of a second, at 110mm… completely handheld. Came out pretty gorgeous actually. The bad part is that this kind of motion is almost too extreme for any sort of advertising usage… so, it will most likely stay in my portfolio rather than going to print.

Speaking of print… I think I have a shot of Corry Weller from Weller Racing in the July issue of QUAD in the K&N Filters ad… someone go check for me…

One more day of racing at Lake Elsinore for the Lucas Oil Off Road Race Series tomorrow. Should be a lot of fun.

Try not to miss the shot…

Try not to miss shots… like this guy did today at the track.

I’m currently shooting the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series – this is the second of four times I’ll be shooting this series. We’re currently racing at Lake Elsinore, Calif. Last time I covered this event was the season opener in Primm, Nev.

This track is intense! Short course is definitely exciting, and when you have extremely powerful trucks – and some slightly wild drivers – anything can happen.

I have nearly the entire series of this accident… Unforunately, from a photographic standpoint, I was at a poor location for many of the accidents today. Most where on turn four – I was shooting at turn five.
But at least I’m not that guy on the hill who, while is the best possible location, was looking the completely wrong direction.

I was, however, in the perfect location for when Robby Woods rolled his truck. He was actually the first rolling of the day (there were a total of six that I counted).
Sadly, for me, I was checking exposure levels while getting my setting dialed in for the day… Again, this was like the second lap of the morning… I was one of the few photographers out on the track at that point. Robby immediately climbed out, threw a thumbs up, and once they rolled his truck back over he climbed in and kept going.

I actually really love this shot of Alan Pflueger I took today. Alan, in addition to being a really great guy, is an incredible driver… Many of you probably already know who he is, so I won’t go into that.
I took this shot though because I wanted to see at what point I could hand-hold at longer focal lengths with very low shutter speeds for a lot of motion blur.

This is a handheld shot, pretty much straight out of camera, at 1/80 of a second at 130mm. ISO 200
Admit it, you’re impressed. Haha.

I have two more days of racing to cover. I’m actually looking forward to putting my 5D Mark II that I use in the studio to the test out in the field. And I’m sure the video will be pretty bitchin’ if I decide to test that out too.
But ultimately I’m looking forward to being able to experiment a bit with my photography since I got pretty much all the shots I needed today..

Check back this weekend for further updates. And you can follow me on Twitter (@johnremus) to keep up with me on the racetrack.

Night all!