Yeah I know I've really been slacking off on the blogging. I am trying to get back on track!
Last weekend I attended the Nitto Tire Auto Enthusiasts Day at Angel Stadium. The event was presented by DrivingLine, the automotive enthusiast magazine I shoot and write for. I spent most of the day in the DrivingLine booth handing out copies of the magazine (it was crazy hot and the crowds were unbelievable!) but I managed to sneak away to shoot some of the drifting demos that were going on all day.
Whenever you shoot something new you should always spend some time thinking about what you want to accomplish and what shots you want to get. Since I had never photographed Formula Drift, I gave myself two goals. The first was to capture as much tire smoke as possible while still keeping the sponsor logos visible, which is much harder than you can imagine if you've never shot it before. All of the best track action occurs when you can hardly see through all of the smoke. I love this shot of Vaughn Gitten Jr. completely engulfed in tire smoke.
The second was to get an action shot with all five cars in it. I was shooting from elevated position, so I had the luxury of being able to see and shoot the entire track. It was wild trying to constantly zoom in and out to compose shots as I was panning with the cars as they drifted around the track, but I managed to get the shot I wanted. Vaughn Gitten Jr., Tanner Faust, Mad Mike Whiddett, Odi Bakchis and Matt Powers drifting together as a group around a pole.
I would have loved to be the one lone cameraman I spotted inside the track to get the shots showing how close the cars come to each other and the wall, but after my close call at King of the Hammers last February I was probably better off shooting from the platform this time!
All the rest was gravy, enjoy!
I'm not sure who was driving the Ford Mustang RTR-X that made a few appearances out on the track. I know that Vauggn Gitten Jr. owns the RTR (Ready To Rock) brand, but the driver was wearing a different helmet than the one Gitten was wearing while in his race Mustang. It sure is a gorgeous vehicle!
Bigger versions can be seen in this gallery.
The toughest thing about shooting drifting is dodging the smoke and debris. Even on an elevated platform I had to often turn my back when the cars drifted right in front of me because the smoke was so thick and filled with bits of rubber from the tires, and I still managed to get a piece of debris in one eye. The track I was shooting had no dirt, which would make things even messier. For a good look at what it's like from a photographer's perspective to shoot an actual race with smoke and debris plumes heading directly at you, take a look at this video!