Day 3: After meeting John Wiedemann in May of 2014 he was kind enough to request credentials for me to cover the 2014 Mid-Ohio IndyCar race in August, yes it happened that fast, for his site RacingNation.com. Fast forward to 7am August 1st to Lexington, Ohio or better known as the middle of nowhere Ohio. I was so excited to actually get a photo vest but also nervous too because I didn’t want to screw up this opportunity. Having credentials is larger than you personally as a photographer, you are there representing many others. So I knew if I were to get my vest pulled (which means you lose your credentials for the entire weekend and maybe never shoot that track again or with the racing series or with a publication, pretty serious) so I was all ears in the 8:30am photo meeting. The majority of the rules are common sense which obviously not everyone has or they wouldn’t need the meetings in the first place. After the meeting I received my vest and walk out to the track with my photographer’s track map in hand (that is the track map marked where you can and can’t shoot from) and all the access points to gain access to the area between the spectators’ fence and the racing fence. Friday went fast and I was learning something new during every session and after walking all day and carrying way too much gear I was wiped out and slept well that night.
Saturday went smoother since I dumped the gear I didn’t use on Friday and routed my day based on the track activity so I could be where I wanted to be for the different sessions. On Sunday morning I skipped the morning warmups to rest, hydrate, and plan my day in even in more detail which I thought would be a great help so I could be at victory lane with about 15 laps to go. The plan was detailed down to which photo holes to shoot from and what shots to get from each hole and for how long I would stay. As I was doing my ‘warm-up’ by practicing during the support series races and walking to my spot to photograph the start of the IndyCar race, it happened. I found the spot, my favorite spot to shoot from. I was so giddy and excited I had to stop and breathe to calm down to get the shots I wanted. Forget a kid in a candy store, I was a kid in the Wonka factory. The reason I loved the spot was how the light fell through the trees creating shadows in the background but the cars were lit by the sunlight. With this situation I knew I would be able to photograph the cars with a very slow shutter speed to capture the speed of the cars as the scream by you from eight feet away with a barrier that is about three feet high. Yeah, kinda dangerous! Oh and the kicker is that you can capture awesome images from either side of track at this location. If you are familiar with Mid-Ohio the spot I love is under the Honda bridge between turns 7 and 8, going from memory so I could be wrong on the turn numbers. Here is one of my favorites from that race. This image is of Takuma Sato who drives for AJ Foyt.