The Bahrain circuit is an impressive facility with huge run-off areas, many painted in bright colours, which adds up to super photography backgrounds (and foregrounds). In particular, the section of track between turn 7 and 8 is a favourite with all of the photographers. I spent 40 minutes there during FP1 and came away with some colourful pics. Using a 600mm lens allowed me to shoot the cars coming over the crest with the rocky topography in the background. If it’s too hot though, the heat haze kills shots like these but it was only 32 degrees Celsius today which is mild in this place believe me.
Given the potential for temperatures to head north of 40 degrees Celsius here, the circuit has installed these simple looking air conditioned “boxes” which are a welcome relief although not that tidy inside. At one point I climbed up a particularly treacherous rocky hill and spent some time precariously balanced trying to incorporate them into my shots. I’d seen something by another photographer and tried to emulate it, perhaps not quite up to his standards but I was happy that it was out of the ordinary which is important in F1 photography. At this corner, but from ground level against the waist-high fence, I used my 600mm (the second longest lens Canon makes) to shoot the cars as they rounded turn 13, a sharp right-hander. I was less than 15m from the cars so using the long lens allowed me to get in tight, so close you could see the stitching on the drivers’ gloves if you zoomed in.Daniel Ricciardo was quickest in the morning session and 6th fastest in the evening, however, he claims that there is still plenty of pace to be wrung out of the car and he rates himself a chance of a win this weekend. Go Dan!The second session was under lights and the morning’s strong winds had abated, resulting in a balmy, Bahrain evening. I spent the session with Getty head photographer Mark Thompson. He’s not missed a race in 18 years and knows all there is to know about the game. His guidance was certainly appreciated as we started off shooting some slow shutter speed stuff which elongates the lights but allows the car to be sharp IF you pan at the same speed as the car. That’s the tricky bit but when it’s done right, it looks great. Many of the cars were sparking as they went past us. The trees around certain sections of the track are wrapped in fairy lights. I’d not incorporated them into my photography before but I didn’t think they bright enough so it was fortunate I had brought a couple of battery operated strings of my own which supplemented what was on offer and resulted in shots like these.Two things before I finish this thing. 1) In answer to what shoes do the F1 drivers wear around the paddock? Here’s a small selection starting with the current world champion. Below is Pierre Gasly wearing some classy Guccis sans socks. Brendon Hartley is happy enough in these runners.While Kimi Raikkonen is kitted out with sponsors’ gear.And finally, as part of each day’s blog (for the next 19 nights) I’ll include shots of each driver’s helmet starting with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. Here it is from four angles. Thanks to Russell Batchelor for these pics. More tomorrow people. Ciao.