After yesterday’s rainy start to the day, today was perfect; no clouds for the most part and nice light, early and late in the day.
I was at the track around 7.50am and quickly found Sebastian Vettel (I waited until he stepped into the light before pressing the shutter), Chase Carey, Lewis Hamilton (he didn’t need that thick black jacket – it wasn’t that cold) and numerous others.
Just outside the Paddock gate was an artist who was producing an image of Fernando Alonso out of Rubik’s cubes. I saw him start but missed the finished piece, I can imagine it would have been spectacular from a distance. What a talent.And then it was time for some F1 race car photography. One of the things one has to be mindful of when photographing F1, is the signage. Most times the signage is to be avoided which means picking the right place from which to photograph, positioning the car/s in shot so the signage isn’t visible or cropping it out later if unavoidable.
Of course, having for so many years, worked out sneaky ways to get the Messages On Hold logo into shot, now I’m looking for ways to keep logos out. The shot below is a good example. Here I put it too far up in the frame hence the signage could not be cropped. Next time I’ll place the car a little further around that top corner and lower in the frame.I took the above shot and the ones below, at the chicane towards the end of the lap, where I spent the first half of the morning session.I then moved to the roof of the control tower along with a dozen or so other photographers (mainly from Europe) and shot from the fourth floor for a range of shots.
After lunch I headed to the pits for the first half of free practice 2 where I walked up and back numerous times looking for something to photograph, something out of the ordinary, like the back of this Force India which had been doused in the wet green paint the teams use to check wind flow over the vehicle.
Initially when I looked at the shot in the back of the camera I thought I had my white balance completely wrong but when I got closer to the car (and I can get close enough to touch it) the paint was obvious.
I’ll shoot around a thousand images over a 90 minute session and while I send a few back to Suttons from the camera (these are also automatically posted on my page), the remainder are downloaded onto my laptop in the media centre where I go through the lot to weed out the good ones. I then do some minor tweaking in Lightroom before uploading them.
In the late afternoon, the drivers joined a couple of hundred volunteers for a very large photo shoot on the grid. Drivers took up their positions in the front of the crowd and were surrounded quickly by enthusiastic volunteers. Unfortunately the late afternoon sun meant a third of the throng was in dark shadow which is tough photographically so I shot tighter to avoided the contrasting light. Around 7.30pm the sun was getting low in the sky so I took a wander around the track to see if I could find a shot in the golden hour of light. There were a number of runners and riders enjoying the track, primarily team personnel, volunteers and workers. I was delighted to find painters working on the Emerites Airlines signage and shot them with the sun and into it over some 20 minutes.
After getting back to the media centre I headed off to a media function in the paddock hosted by Rolex. It was a nice end to a hectic day, with qualifying day set to be just as busy. Will it be the Mercedes or the Ferrari on pole position? We will know late tomorrow afternoon. Oh, and have a listen to this interview I did recently on The Formula 1 Blog, you’ll get an even greater insight into what it’s like to be a part of this most amazing sport.