One of my earliest memories revolves around cars and cameras. Both of them are still loves of mine today. My dad has always loved photography and from the time I was very young would put a camera in my hand. The first picture I ever took was at age three or four- it’s of my parents bending over waving because I wasn’t pointing it up at them- standing in front of our pontiac sunbird. Going to the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway really got the photographer juices flowing through me again. Part of it has to do with it being spring-type weather and the light was great at the track most of the time. On friday when I was walking around the Neon Garage I saw lots of “official” race photographers. They were easy to spot- they wore roadwork type vests that said PHOTO on them. And don’t think I didn’t have camera envy too. I remember wandering around the garage area and my head whipping around- to check out a camera or seven. Yeah a little embarassing I admit but it’s totally true.
During Friday I used my trusty Canon I5 IS that I LOVE- it’s not a dslr- but its more than just your average point and shoot). I am completely self taught (as is my dad I must tell you and he takes great pictures) and mostly do that by trial and error and let me tell you it was definitely a trial and error type of day. I got some great pictures and some horrendous pictures (blurry, out of focus, etc).
Let me give you some examples:
While visiting Tony’s garage stall I saw him get out of the car during practice, talk to crew chief Darian Grubb and then go check out something under the front splitter. These were my pictures (keep in mind that these are from the upstairs viewing galley through the glass windows):
Tony Peeks Under the Splitter- obvious auto-focus problem- focused on the beam and the glare and not on Tony -causing blur)
Close-up of Tony peeking under the splitter (image degradation due to being taken through window coupled with digital zoom -crispness loss).
Now here is the same shot (kinda) being taken by a professional photographer (of course realize also that this picture is not taken through glass and is at the ground level obviously in Tony’s garage stall):
See the difference? Way better. Of course this photographer is more than likely standing right in his garage stall so access is different). THIS IS NOT MY PHOTO- it's from tonystewart.com
Now I know in my heart that the reason my pictures are crummy in comparison are:
1. I am not a professional nor do I have the kind of equipment those guys (and girls) carry around (how they do it I don’t know- it about killed my neck carrying around the Digital Rebel I used on Sunday). My dad and I were looking at a professional lens the other day? 8 grand! Like I told my dad when he told me I could get it for him for his birthday: Yeah let me pull that kinda money outta my butt cuz I sure don’t have it in the bank.
2. I am not a professional and do not have the kind of access these guys (and girls) have to get the shot.
3. I am a self-taught, shoot-from-the-hip kinda person. I don’t take time to set up a shot. And while I have an awareness of concepts like the rules of three- I don’t often take the time to consider it and set up the shot accordingly. Usually I am more of a “Oh that’s a great picture opportunity” and start snapping.
I did get some good pictures that day. This is my favorite:
Tony gets out of the car during a practice break. Why did this one come out so much better? I have no clue. Angle maybe reduced glare through window? There was slight blur of motion towards the bottom because he was swinging his leg out of the car.
Of course as I said that is one of my favorites that I took that day (and definitely my favorite Tony Stewart shot that day). However this is my favorite of other people’s shots from that day. It was another one I found on the Tony Stewart website:
Tony looks either perplexed or determined I can't decide which. (photo is NOT MINE. From: tonystewart.com)
What is it that I love about this shot? Well first of all the vivid red. The car in the forground yet slightly out of focus- but not out of focus so much as to not be able to recognize its parts. The hood up. The expression on Tony’s face. This is a picture I wish I had taken.