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So Lewis Hamilton qualified fastest with Sebastian Vettel second and it all took place in fine, warm weather. As usual, I shot the drivers as they arrived this morning.  It’s amazing that the world has such an appetite for pics of the drivers day after day. And it’s always a game to get a shot.  Most are not interested in looking at you and really, why would then when they are the subject of so many pics?
Oh yes, there was an amazing robot at the paddock entrance that interacted with people,  It was very clever technology. The plan today was to spend the one hour morning practice session around turns 1 and 2 and 4 and 5. I liked the grandstand with the big Hola Barcelona sign on top which is on the outside of the track at turn 2. and after shooting a couple of pics there I headed a bit further around the track and shot cars coming around turn two. Once again there was no wire to shoot through which makes life a lot easier. I shot the field as the came down the hill out of the hairpin and managed to get a couple of shots with two cars in it.At one stage I was walking along the track wall looking down, not paying attention and strolled straight through a marshal’s post opening while a Porsche Cup event was running. Thankfully the marshals pulled me up after a couple of metres. I was never in danger, but had they not have been on the ball, I might have been surprised big time by a Porsche roaring past without a barrier between me and it.

I tried some panning shots which would have been a bit nicer with a full stand but beggars can’t be choosers, I’ll try again during the race tomorrow.
There was some delightful clouds around today which made for some nice shots like this one at f/22.  Using the high f-stop results in the sun looking like a star. The morning session is only an hour long and too much of that hour is spent dicking around with lens changes and walking from spot to spot. Before you know it, the session is finished and there’s a dash back to the media centre to look at the pics. The centre was as full as I’ve seen one today and there is camera and computer gear everywhere. There is an amazing level of trust going on here as there is hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of kit mostly lying around between sessions, although I was advised by a couple of associates that it’s not wise to leave gear unattended at the Italian GP.

In the afternoon it was qualifying which consists of three separate sessions over an hour which allows you to move spots without missing any action. I went to the stadium section and worked a few corners there shooting cars from behind and then front on.
I then dropped my mobile phone while running to another spot and thanked a fellow photographer for noticing and pointing it out to me before realising I’d also dropped an eyecup for a camera. Luckily I managed to find that by re-tracing my steps.

I was using a 600mm lens with a 1.4xs extender and with the heat haze it was tricky getting anything super sharp but there were enough shots to warrant the effort as I shot the cars coming into the final corner. Fact: Kelsey Grammar (Frasier actor) was at the track although I didn’t spot him but I couldn’t miss this bevy of local women rehearsing for grid girl activities tomorrow,

That wraps up Qualifying day of the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix and having produced this blog at the track, I’m now free to go and join another media party thrown by Red Bull in the paddock, just a short walk away.

In closing, here’s a picture of a bogged bus in Lancelin, the small country I spend quite a bit of my time in. It has reached just under 600,000 people on the Lancelin Facebook page.