The Weather Outside was Frightful, but the Rumble of Vintage Racers as they Roared Around Daytona at the Classic 24 was oh, so Delightful!
When one thinks of Florida, images of welcoming beaches and gently swaying palm trees, all under a warm tropical sun come to mind. Yeah, well, that wasn’t quite the picture at this year’s HSR Classic 24 at Daytona. Imagine, instead, if you will, one of those damp and dreary autumn New England days – the sort of weather that chills you right to the bone and causes you to wonder if the sun still exists – and that’s what we had pretty much all week down in Daytona. But despite the downright combative weather, this year’s Classic 24 was the best one yet, with a giant uptick in entrants, a busier than usual infield complete with campers and the addition of the eclectic and nostalgic VW bus Bulli Brigade. Add to that hours and hours of great vintage racing and more than your fair share of flame-spitting vintage racers, and its no wonder we all turned out despite the weather.
A Perfect Ending to IMSA’s 50th Anniversary Season at Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans
The first thing that struck me as I arrived at Road Atlanta just after sunset on Thursday was the massive sweeping downhill Turn 11 and the shooting star-like bursts of headlights that explode over the top of the hill and rocket down toward the start/finish line. Unlike the decidedly flat road course at Daytona, where the IMSA season begins each year, the season-finale Petit Le Mans is a hilly circuit with more ups and downs than an angry ocean ahead of a hurricane. Shaped like a pork chop, this technical 2.54 mile track provides the perfect canvas for exciting racing from start to finish.
After a lot of work and a little sleep, I’ve managed to cobble together some of my favorite shots from our coverage of the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona for Top Gear. This was our first Rolex 24 and a bit of a last minute trip – compounded by a shoot back in Jacksonville smack dab in the middle of the race – but with a little creativity and even less sleep, I was able to be at the race during the day, at night, through dawn and into the morning. Above is one of my favorite photos from the race – a six second time exposure from high in the stands about 20 minutes before sunrise. With cars gunning through the front stretch at over 175mph, the moderate exposure time allowed for some great light trails.
Of course, what kind of endurance race photographer would I be if I didn’t manage to get the ever important ‘red-glowy brake rotor’ photo (above). The trick with these sort of photos is to keep the ISO as low as you can while maintaining a half-way manageable shutter speed (the above shot was an 80th of a second) – that and taking a near-infinite amount of photos because most will be somewhere on the spectrum between ‘slightly fuzzy’ and ”a blurry mess’. Below is another one of those ‘shoot it until you get something you like’ sort of shots. Crossing the start-finish line at nearly 200MPH, the car goes from completely outside the frame, to inside the frame, to out the other side in under a 10th of a second – meaning timing is everything. The trick here is a smaller aperture and pre-focusing on the rough location the cars are passing through. All joking aside, practice does help a whole lot with timing and smoothness on both of these type of shots – so go out there and practice and you’ll find before long that the ratio of ‘keepers’ to ‘if you squint can I call this artsy?’ will greatly improve.
The photos are all 1920 x 1080P HD wallpaper, designed to work perfectly with your widescreen computer, TV or other displays. As always, please feel free to download – and if you enjoy our photos, please share this blog with your friends and help us get the word out!
As I type, the Rolex 24 is entering it’s 9th hour of competition. Earlier this afternoon, I had the privileged of shooting the start of the race for our friends at Top Gear before having to head back to Jacksonville for a corporate shoot. The plan is to leave the house tomorrow at 4:00 to get back down to Daytona for the remainder of the race – including some night and dawn photography opportunities. Being as I am looking at 4 hours of sleep, I thought I would limit this blog post to one photo for the night. Hope it wets your whistle until I can get a proper post up!
This photo are all 1920 x 1080P HD wallpaper, designed to work perfectly with your widescreen computer, TV or other displays. As always, please feel free to download – and if you enjoy our photos, please share this blog with your friends and help us get the word out!