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Let's go racing!! 

Before I found photography I was really into car racing. I followed all sorts of series including NASCAR Formula 1, IndyCar, and Sprint cars.  For some reason it has taken me several years to get back to a track with my camera, but this summer i made it up to Elkhart Lake, WI. to one of my favorites tracks, Road America.  

Yes, it was a blazing hot day for the Brian Redmon Classic weekend, but I didn't even notice! Once I was near the sound and the smells of the cars with my camera it was like nirvana! It was such a joy to have two passions in my life collided like this, but man what a challenge!! 


I have looked at a lot of car photos and I have a pet peeve about motion, if they are on a road or track, they need to look like they are moving!! So,  there needs to be some sort of background blur  or wheels spin.  This as you may know is done by using a slow shutter speed and panning with the car while taking the picture.  It is a challenge for every single frame to match the speed of the car use a slow enough shutter to blur, but to also generally get the car in focus. One problem you face is how to get that slow shutter speed on a bright sunny day.  Well I did not have a ND filter to help cut some light, so I had to stop down my aperture and shoot at F/22 all day.  Which costs you some sharpness but also lets you see if your sensor is clean!! As we see below,mine was not! (Note to self-Clean sensor before next event!)


 I also tried to convey a sense of speedby trying to zoom while exposing as well. It is even  harder than panning considering the subjects were moving, so I tried to prefocus on a spot and then have them hitting the spot as the exposure ended.  Lots of files in the trash,but a few nice ones and some others  that turned out to have a kind of abstract feel to them.



As you can see, the track at Road America is mostly in the woods, and when you walk around there is this bizarre moment where you feel like your in a national park forest and all of the sudden to hear the roar of a 600hp engine and you  catch a glimpse of bright colors flying by you on the path ahead!  I wanted to try and capture this feeling as  well as pay homage to my favorite racing photographer Darren Heath.  

I  tried several different locations earlier in the day, but it took until this last session of the day to get this shot, which is also my favorite for the whole day:


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