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As a photographer you always have a few jobs that you really like to shoot. I have many to tell the truth, but one of them is auto racing. NASCAR, INDY, Formula One, and the new E-Formula racing (electric) are my favorite.
Back in the days when I was working in television I was sent to Indianapolis for the 500 with a reporter. It was after that when I really started to like shooting fast cars. There’s an art to it and also a lot of luck. Like being at the right place at the right time.
The ART in racing is actually the photographer trying to create art at the race track. There are a lot of photographers there that are sports photographers looking for the days scoop and big wrecks. I was there many times for magazines or websites that needed coverage of the race.
Now, my personal reason was to look for the Fine Art Photograph. Not the news worthy, but the ones for my fine art gallery that stand out and look great for Wall Art.
If I had a job to shoot for someone I would make that my first priority and then look for my fine art shots, although many times I found my personal shots while shooting the race coverage. In the early days of racing you could just go and shoot- no one cared. Today you have to get a credential and wear a vest and have more credentials like a hot pass.
You have qualifying, practice, and then the race and after that the winners circle with all the press. This gives you time to find a lot of shots, they may not be as exciting as the actual race, but most people would never know if it was taken at the practice or the race.
The question is where do I get the best shots? Well that depends on the track, where you are at the track and what you are looking for. For example, long shots, sliding cars, wrecks, cornering, full throttle straight away, and so on. It also depends if you are there to follow certain drivers or teams. Some of my favorite places are in the pits.
A photographer may say go here, or there, and then the best shot was somewhere else. It all depends on the drivers and the track. After a while you find where the best shots are and usually there are a lot of photographers already there.
When I shot the first E-Formula race in Miami, this was new ground and all the photographers were looking for the place to be. The cars were fast and quiet not like a loud INDY or Formula car. It was in the streets of Miami for the first time in a long time and they were electric cars.
They look like a race car running on fuel, but they were running on batteries and they could accelerate instantly! Very fast off the line and like I said very quiet. All I could hear was the shifting and the tires on the pavement.
Andretti – Car Racing
Streets Of Miami – Car Racing
Leaving the Pits – Car Racing
I found that shooting fast paced racing is actually a lot of fun to do, especially if you’re at the right place at the right time. Some of the clients I shot for wanted me to follow just a driver throughout the race (like Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Michael Andretti, Helio Castroneves, and many others.) If they were doing good that race day it was great, but if not, I would move on and just follow the race. In the end there is always a winner!
Kevin has 40 + years’ experience as a director, photographer, cinematographer and editor. Winning over 200 awards of excellence in Commercial Advertising, Broadcast TV, and Fine Art Photography. You can see his Gallery of still photography on his website.
Check Kevin Cable’s Gallery
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