At the recent World Time Attack Challenge at Sydney Motorsport Park, I decided that along with covering it in digital for my clients, I would also push myself to cover the whole event the old-fashioned way: in film. World Time Attack is always pretty stressful as I generally cover it for a number of magazines and a few blogs, as well as providing coverage for teams and sponsors, and this means being in all the right places at the right times and shooting a number of different styles to fit in with what each client needs and wants from this event. This in itself is a challenge, but why only go ankle deep? I decided to dive in the deep end and do something I had wanted to do for almost a year.
I wanted to make this as hard for myself as possible and use the cheapest working camera on Gumtree. All the shots in this post were taken on a $25 Canon 500n consumer-level camera. When I first started in photography, I was mentored by my boss Dave Reid and only used high end pro gear from my first frame, which was something I hadn’t given a thought to until mentioned to me by another shooter. I never had to use consumer gear. This might not mean much to the average person but it’s like starting a racing career by learning in Formula 1.
It’s quite a shock to the system going back to such basic gear. It makes you compose and expose each shot on a case-by-case basis. I see so many photographers chimp off the screen, and I’m also guilty of this as digital has made it all too easy. I really enjoyed snapping away and only guessing and hoping that I had captured it correctly.One of the only issues I ran into was the fixed speed or ISO of the film. As I was finding the shots I wanted to capture, the lighting was not always the best. Along with not having any control of my subject, it meant I couldn’t move them to a better location. I just needed to rethink the shot.In the event work I do, I try to capture not just action but also the emotion and drama. I feel most event photographers shoot all action shots and forget there is a story and a human drama behind each car entered in the event. The International drivers that come over for the event are a great display of passion and dedication to the sport and going fast in general, even going to the extent of bringing over food, microwaves, disposable plates and cutlery and nearly everything they will need for the weekend.
Pro-Am for me is the most exciting class. Pro cars with amateur drivers is a recipe for an exciting session, and it never failed to excite this weekend, with the PMQ Evo of Mick Sigsworth setting the fastest outright time on Friday. And I believe they would have gone on to claim a podium outright for the weekend if not for a minor engine issue that struck late Saturday.
The highlight of the whole weekend for me was seeing the Mazda 767b in person. I had spent countless hours listening to fly-bys and start-ups on YouTube and alike. To see and hear it in person gave me goosebumps.The photo above was the last film shot for the weekend as the sun set down and the track fell silent. It’s at this point of the weekend while walking the 600m back to shoot the podium after the Pro shootout that it becomes apparent the weekend is over. It’s a great time to reflect on what an unbelievable event World Time Attack really is. The shootout that was added this year just ramped the weekend up till the final session, and the fading light meant it was some of the best conditions ever seen at World Time Attack.
If you never have or were not there this weekend, you seriously missed out. Make sure you are track-side in 2015 for what is set to be bigger and better than ever before.