Friday saw the F1 cars on the track for the first time in Hungary this season.
But allow me to hark back to yesterday when I watched these two technicians install a small video camera in the kerb at the exit of one of the corners. The camera itself is very small as you can see and only worth a few hundred dollars, which is a good thing as the tyres often pass right over it. To get the camera level, they talk to another tech in the broadcast centre who tells them whether the lens requires rotating, after which they allow the silcon gel to set and hope a car doesn’t wreck it as it travels over the top of it at 200+km/hr.
This morning I spent an hour waiting for drivers in the paddock. I was standing next to German Jerry Andre who works with Pascal Wehrlein and when Jerry asked him to give him a wave, I was in the perfect spot.Lewis Hamilton arrived and was engrossed in his phone as he walked straight to the Mercedes hospitality suite nearly cleaning up Jerry on the way. He was only a metre from the crouching German photographer when he realised he was off course. We waited for a while in front of the suite knowing he would emerge. We could see him seated upstairs, that was until he wasn’t visible so I grabbed my wide lens hoping/expecting him to come out again and he did, this time sprinting from the suite to the garage. It would have been easy to miss this but thankfully that wasn’t the case.Whilst walking down the paddock, I was stoked to stumble across the shot below. The front wings were stacked on a wheely thing at the back of the Ferrari garage and were beautifully lit and then reflected in the glossy paintwork of the Ferrari transporter. Shortly after taking that shot, I spotted a reflection shot of Christian Horner. For the morning session I spent the first half at turns two and three which have plenty of greenery to make the shots look lush.Some of the cars sparked as they headed up the hill and so I spent 10 minutes shooting that.Up at turn 4, a left hander, there is a shot of the cars coming over the crest which provides a reasonably clean background.And once again, many of the cars sparked on the kerbing after they rounded that corner. Towards the end of the session I made the short journey to turn 5 and shot some slow shutter speed stuff at the apex of the corner.If you look closely at the shot above you might notice that the front car, the Renault of Jolyon Palmer, has no front wing. That is because there was a coming together of that car and the McLaren behind it, about 90 metres prior to the corner. I had no idea they’d come together until I noticed a whole lot of crap on the track.So that was the morning and after editing the morning shots I headed to the Red Bull hospitality suite for a quick lunch and then set off on a 25 minute walk through the crowd (I don’t often get amongst the public so that was something new) to the outside of the final two corners. When I arrived though, I was denied entry through the one and only gate.
This didn’t bode well with the session a few minutes from starting. I made the decision to walk back to the grandstand and spent the first 30 minutes shooting from the top row.The shot below of the Toro Rosso was shot using a 500mm lens with a 1.4xs extender. The car is actually about a kilometre away, I’m using a very long lens and the camera has to be panned steadily to get the subject sharp. It’s fair to say I would have had no chance of a shot like that at my first race in Melbourne earlier this year.I had my 45mm tilt shift lens with me so I shot a few frames using that; being up high is the perfect spot for such a lens.While walking over to the stand on the right of the shot above, I saw a Ferrari flag and decided to wait for Vettel or Raikonnen to round the last turn so I could incorporate their car in the shot. I was somewhat surprised when I went back down to the gate half way through the session to once again try and gain trackside access as a different attendant simply waved me through without question. This area is wide open with the cars passing on three sides so it allows for a variety of shots. Including shots of cars coming straight at you. It’s not often you get this close to the cars when they come directly at you; it’s exhilarating. I’ve not seen a teddy bear in a deck chair at a race so I shot that. And then late in the session Jolyon Palmer crashed his Renault just 200m from me but like this morning, I was facing the other way and only just chanced seeing it 10 seconds after he’d come to a stop. I shot this with my long lens from where I was photographing (I like the irony of the signage),And then ran up to the corner to catch him and his wreck exiting the track. I was just about to press the PUBLISH button on this blog when all of the drivers walked past the media centre en route to a meeting room next to us. This resulted in a flurry of photographers grabbing their gear and racing out to the walkway. I shot them on the way back and was happy to get a shot of Lewis not on his phone. Oh and in case you’re wondering who fared best on track today, it was WA’s Daniel Ricciardo, setting the fastest time in both morning and afternoon sessions. Tomorrow is qualifying so I’m hoping he can put his Red Bull on pole.
Oh, and thanks in advance for sharing this with your friends!