Sunday, 22 July 2012

Brands Hatch part 2 - a photographer's view

A large proportion of spectators at Brands last Friday are also budding photographers, trying to get some action shots of their heroes. However, this post attempts to capture the mood of the day, with 'behind the scenes' shots rather than pure action.

It was great that Ian was there to furnish us with local knowledge, including a suggestion to stroll around the Lower Paddock area. Ian wanted so get some of his prints signed by the riders so Anthony and I took time to immerse ourselves in the paddock activities, watching the teams preparing and repairing their chariots. It was clear that there is a huge range of funding behind the sport, from the overtly commercial to the 'one man and his mechanic' teams, each operating in harmony in the melting pot together.

We bumped into Ian a few times and outside of one marquee he pointed out John McGuinness, the second most successful TT racer of all time.

John McGuinness exiting his garage
I was surprised that there were still a number of two-stroke machines racing - those unmistakable engine notes and fumes! I also, from my youth, associated the Austrian KTM manufacturer with off-road bikes but this is clearly not the case.

Waiting for a spare part?
All the sidecar teams were based in the Lower Paddock and they could regularly be seen cruising through.

Team colours
Of course, being part of team makes the paddock a great playground for youngsters.

Junior riding shotgun
Kent Bad Boyz Photography AKA John Manclark at Druids
Ian had met John Manclark via social networking but it was the first time they had connected in the real world. Ian introduced us and I have now joined John's virtual world. John is clearly working as hard on his marketing as he is on photography - good luck!

Back out on the track and I was looking for a few shots to capture the essence of the day.

Rounding Paddock Hill bend

On our way round the circuit towards Clearways (where we would spend most of the afternoon) we spotted this great typo on a concession stand.

Never tried them before?
I decided that a bit more reach was needed so I went back to my car and picked up my 500mm lens and set up my Wimberley for a few shots of the bikes as they negotiated the S-bend made up by Surtees and McClaren (just before the long sweeping right-hander that is Clearways). A pictorial shot: leading lines, curves and a splash or two of colour.

Out of Surtees and into McClaren
What I really appreciated during the whole course of the day was how friendly and courteous everyone was. Quite often, a few photographers try to muscle in on the best pitches but this was so not the case, making for a relaxed and enjoyable day - fantastic! I guess it's helped by the fact that the professionals are inside the safety fencing and we are on the outside.

[I'm in the process of improving my Lightroom skills at the moment and have set up a few presets for processing race track images. I put them in a Quick Collection and exported it as a set of JPEG without touching Photoshop, saving time without compromising quality]

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