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The US Grand Prix in Austin is a great event if you’re a photographer (it’s probably a great event for spectators too but I can’t speak for them) and today was qualifying day. Of course, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time to take pole position from Sebastian Vettel.  But my day started with me leaving my keys on the passenger seat of my rental car which required me to catch the shuttle bus back to the carpark to claim the keys and lock the vehicle.  After that I headed out on the media shuttle bus to turn 4 where there are some lovely shots of cars amongst the red, white and blue painted run off areas.  I shot these through a cut-out hole in the wire fence using a long lens (500mm).   There was also another shot with a wider lens (200mm) which showcased the tower and the lovely clouds so I shot that at a slow speed to blur the background.Using a polarising filter certainly helped accentuate the clouds on the pics above.

I was talking with a fellow photographer (an elder statesman of the sport really) yesterday and he chipped me for posting pics with shit backgrounds e.g. tents, cranes, portable toilets etc) so today I was acutely aware of what I put behind my shots.Crowds are OK, indeed they are a plus. In the shot below I have cropped the Heinekin logo and used the red kerbing as a feature.  There was abnormally long break (4 hours) between FP3 in the morning and qualifying in the afternoon. This allowed me to go for a leisurely wander up and down the paddock looking for people to shoot.  I found this blogger who I’m told is a big thing but I’ve not been able to establish his name.The woman on the right in the pic below is Nichole Galacia (she’s an actress and a really nice person – IMDB) and on the left, is a former Miss Domincan Republic beauty queen.  I found Lewis Hamilton wearing a pair of dungarees with only one strap done up (that is cool). Daniel Ricciardo was recording a short piece to camera for AT&T.And the fellow below is Taylor Kinney, an ex-fiancee of Lady Gaga. He also stars in Chicago Fire. Celebrity-wise, tomorrow Usain Bolt will be at the GP and Lewis will be taking him for a hot lap of the track in a Merc I’m guessing.

Anyway, onto the afternoon’s qualifying session where I snapped the first 18 minutes from the tower at turn one which offers a great view of the city of Austin.I saw Romain Grosjean lock up.Sergio Perez drove towards me before turning left.Other cars did the same.These grid girls were having a fine time shooting t-shirts into the crowd although they had to wait before firing as the helicopter had to be overhead to video the event. For the second part of qualifying I walked 200 metres further around the track, to a photography hole that allows a shot of the cars with the crowd behind.  I loved the shots and was sad that I only had a dozen or so minutes at this spot. For the final session I hot-footed it to the grand stand and battled with the punters for shots left and right. And then I spotted the battery level on my laptop was at 2% so this is where we end today’s blog as I now have to chat about the days events with Razia Opal and her associates at the Hyatt in Austin..

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