I've grown up around racing. Every weekend my brother, dad and I were either at the track or watching whatever racing was in season on TV. I'm not the biggest race fan... maybe I'm jaded from being around it so much my whole life. But I do have a soft spot in my heart for the sport. And I will almost never turn down an offer to spend a day at the track.
Recently my work had presented me the opportunity to spend the day at Pomona Raceway with an All Access Pass to take photos of Angie and Matt Smith, some long time dear friends of our brand. I couldn't say no.
I don't do much press photography nowa days. Most of my shooting is in a controlled environment where I can manipulate the lighting however I'd like, so this day was a bit more difficult than I imagined, mostly because they didn't hit the track until high noon. Which most photographers will agree is the most dreadful time to shoot. And I was a bit out of practice. But unfortunately the NHRA doesn't schedule their races around the best times to take pictures. So I had to make do.
The key here was trying to be mindful of where the light was coming from and positioning myself accordingly. But at high noon, this means the light is coming from almost directly overhead which means that no matter where you shoot from, its going to be awful. And unfortunately I don't have any neutral density filters for the lens I was using. Luckily, drag racing looks cool no matter what time of day it is. So thankfully, although they may not be perfect, I'm still pretty stoked on how the photos came out.
Some of the perks of working from a big name brand is getting to do things like this. I've grown up watching these events from way up in the grand stands or on TV. But the Smith team treated me and my co worker like family from the second we stepped foot in their pit until the minute we left. They showed us around, gave us the grand tour of their trailer, and let us sit there and watch them take apart and rebuild two bikes in less than an hour. And then walked us right up to the start line while they raced.
Ill tell you this, watching racing on TV can be brutally boring. Especially if you don't have any idea whats going on. But standing ten feet from a dragster when it takes off is an experience I will not soon forget.
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8