Pictures of the grid ahead of the race. See part 3 for race start, the race and the celebrations.
As a member of the general public, getting anywhere near decent pictures on race day is mostly a matter of luck. On the 'general admission' ticket, ie, not grandstand, the best spots go as soon as the gates open as people set up camp (see picture below) so there's no chance to get good pictures unless you arrive at track around 6am with friends to bag a space.
In the grandstands, you might fare no better as many stands still have a large fence between you and the track while the distance to the track is also large. What's more, given the space available around each seat, you can't use a big lens either. My race day set up was to use the Nikon D800 with the compact 28-300mm lens. And to give me every opportunity for something, I bought a seat on the International Pits Straight and, there's no doubting this, I got a little bit lucky too. These are my pictures from the day (see also parts 2 & 3).
For every hour you spend behind the camera, it must surely be true that you spend an hour behind the computer screen also. When then, a short time back, I had a hard drive failure, I wasn't happy to say the least. What's more, I know very little about computers. However, I've spent the last few weeks learning the basics and now (fingers crossed), I have the computer not only repaired but upgraded also and running better than ever. Let's see how long that lasts eh, but here are a few things I've learned over the past week.
As such, this is not a typical 'photo' post so do skip if your are already feeling drowsy.
At Silverstone on Saturday, the crowds are bigger and the cars are faster, set up for a single qualifying lap which is likely to be the fastest of the weekend. Having chosen on Friday the slowest point on the circuit, Luffield, on Saturday I like the super fast Copse Corner where cars achieve speeds of 180mph. You are a bit further back from the action and a bit further back from the fence (which will hurt you if you've not got a fast lens) and the cars are going faster (meaning you too have to be a bit sharper) but overall the pictures are more satisfying as the background is more interesting (than my chosen sites yesterday) and even the track with red, white and blue curbs is more interesting. Meanwhile the cornering stresses on the car are evident in the images and occasionally the cars spark as the titanium skid plates rub on the ground. What's more, I think that overall my pictures were of a higher standard on Saturday which I attribute simply to Friday - it's not just practice day for the drivers!
Has another year gone round so quickly that we are here again, the British Grand Prix? Well, obviously yes of course. But in describing the British GP to a friend the other day I suggested that as members of the public, we are kept so far away from the F1 cars that even having the Hubble Space Telescope strapped to your camera would hardly provide for adequate pictures! I jest of course but it is difficult. Here, I'll role out my strategy for getting GP pictures you can be happy with.
I'm always somewhat amazed when some contributing photographers to Latitudestock image library go to say Venice and send through just five images from their trip. Maybe it was a camera malfunction, or a failed memory card, but whenever I travel I always try to shoot the hell out of something. On my recent trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, a town of course whose only industry is Shakespeare, there are many statues dedicated to the Bard and his creations. In the park by the Swan Theatre, Shakespeare sits on a chair on a plinth, overlooking some of his most famous creations. For stock images, this was clearly a must but even though it's stock, don't be in too much of a rush and simply shoot it at the first angle you see: be creative and stand out.
Shutter speed often seems the poor relation in the world of camera settings, not least because most people who venture out of Auto will find themselves initially on Aperture Priority where depth of field determines the look they are going for in the picture. However, on my recent trip to Paris, while photographing the Moulin Rouge at night, the spinning windmill above the famous nightspot made me stop and ask myself exactly how I wanted the picture to look. And since I couldn't entirely make up my mind, I thought I'd go for all options, and the key to this was shutter speed.
This past week I visited Paris, a city that I have been to many times but never before with a camera. But while Paris is immensely beautiful, it is also the 3rd most visited city in the world (according to Forbes, interestingly beaten by London and Bangkok) and the most famous icon of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is possibly the world's most photographed landmark. It's unrealistic therefore that in two days anyone can really do anything that original and with the weather also bad at times, the focus was as much on having a nice time as coming back with a bunch of Cartier-Bresson beating pictures. Sometimes then, you have to embrace the cliche.
This blog is a mix of many things, with articles on the technical side of photography, equipment reviews as well as simply presenting pictures which are favourites of mine.