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Dec 19

V8 Supertaxis, Homebush 2011

 

So as usual, I’m going to post up some photos from an event that was so long ago now nobody cares anymore… but meh, you get what you pay for eh…?

I  didn’t go to the Homebush V8 Supercars race in 2009 or 2010.  It’s not for lack of interest in the series; it is Australia’s premier motor racing category after all.  I’d been to the Oran Park event 3 or 4 times, Eastern Creek race 2 or 3 times but the Homebush event just angers me.  We lost Oran Park to the developers and the series has no love for Sydney’s only remaining track so the organisers decided to build a new track… which would be awesome if the rest of us could use it for the other 361 days of the year.  But we can’t.  Or if it was a decent street circuit like Albert Park.  But it’s not…

So up until now I had avoided the event like the plague; deciding I’d never pay to go and see this ridiculous event that is a shining example of what’s killing grass roots motorsport.  But then free tickets come along and, what the hell…

From an amatuer photographer’s point of view, getting decent photos at these sort of events is really tough.  Extremely tough.  And I’m not going to bullshit you – having big fancy expensive lenses will definitely make the job easier…

A large percentage of my ‘keepers’ came from this lens;

Yes, the trusty 400mm f/5.6, which, whilst at the budget end of Canon’s L series lens range, is still a hefty investment for someone who wants to take happy snaps at the races.  But the problem with street tracks is the fences… everywhere!  Almost everywhere you stand you will be presented with a view something like this –

Which leaves you with 2 options – shoot through that gap in the fence, or shoot through the fence.  And without a decent zoom lens with a nice big aperture, you aren’t going to get anything of value if you’re looking for those pin sharp, photo-journalist shots like this:

But, if you do have a decent lens, open it wide open (i.e. set the aperture value as low as it will go), set the focus to manual, and snap away through the fence.

The other advantage to a decent zoom lens is you can pick a gap that might only be the size of an a3 piece of paper 10m away and shoot through the gap.  This means you can stand behind marshals, spectators, fences – other photographers – and still get reasonable shots.  I took this one between the shoulders of a couple of pro-photogs (wearing a yellow hat obviously), through a safety fence about 20m away which was up an escape road 100m long.  If your subject is far enough away compared to your obstructions, you can generally make something out of nothing.

Oh, and lastly, with a big zoom lens you can have fun shortening the length of straights, showing the rollercoaster nature of an otherwise tediously boring track…

BUT,  all that said, if you don’t have a big telephoto lens, you can still get some ok shots if you work with what you have and use the fences and obstructions to your advantage…. here’s a few examples…

Or you can just watch the on-track action, leave the photos to the pro-photogs and the frustration to the amateurs and just pull your camera out in the paddock…

I have to admit, the Homebush event is good in terms of access to the paddock action – as soon as the support categories are back into the pits, onlookers are swarming all over the cars as close as you like.  Putting the cars in the showground facilities really works well, especially when the weather is as changeable as it was.

But the actions on track, so put the 400 back on and get snapping away…

This guy obviously didn’t want to see what was behind him; his first attempt at removing his mirror was unsuccessful so he went back to try again…

Some good photos can be had at the end of the main straight if you have enough lens and enough patience…

And then looking from the other side to the inside of turn 1…

And now on the inside of the run into turn one – this 3 wide action caused the first safety car of the Sunday race.

Oh, one more way to get good photos is to be sneaky – this shot was taken from an overhead bridge through a gap in the advertising banners about the size of a postage stamp.  At least its a unique angle 🙂

  

Finally, I’d like to finish yet another post with some thanks- This time to Roger Errington for generously giving me his 2 Sunday tickets to use for the day, and also to a random guy who worked for the radio who swapped his media pass for mine for a few minutes so I could jump the barrier and stick my camera through the gap; a taste of what its like to be a pro… haha

 

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