Best photos of 2018

As it’s the end of the racing season for 2018 I thought I’d have a rummage through the photos I’ve taken this year and pick out a few of my favourites, and not just post them here but explain why they’re my favourites and perhaps give an insight into what I’m trying to achieve with my photography (whether I’m succeeding is up to others to decide!).

So in no particular order …

ISO200 – 175mm (350mm FF equivalent) – f/4.5 – 1/125th

This was taken at Yarmouth stadium on a gloriously sunny summer day, late afternoon with the Sun low in the sky and behind where I was standing, which was a grassy bank that rises the opposite side of the stadium from the grandstand and main stadium building. This was taken over the fence with the longer lens (40-150mm with 1.4x TC fitted). Although the light is primarily what makes this image stand out, it’s also a good (for me) example of a panning shot, with the car in focus but the background a nice creamy blur, and thanks to the colours a beautifully abstract creamy blur. This could well be the best picture of Damian’s car I’ve taken, I love it!

ISO200 – 150mm (300mm FF equivalent) – f/2.8 – 1/2500th

This, and the one below, were taken at Aldershot raceway, with the Legends waiting in the holding area before going out on track. The one above captures the driver (Dan “Golden” Holden) looking into his mirrors (he has 2 for some reason), staring intently at something as he prepares himself for the race. For me it’s important to capture something other than just the cars on track, racing is about the people involved as much as the machinery. In this shot I’ve used a long focal length and wide aperture to get a shallow depth of field, with the focus point being on Dan’s mirrors, and everything in front of and beyond that point out of focus, the further beyond the more out of focus.

ISO200 – 82mm (164mm FF equivalent) – f/2.8 – 1/3200th

This is from the same position but zoomed out, and although the aperture remains wide the depth of field is correspondingly greater due to the reduced focal length. The focus point is somewhere in the middle of the group of cars, which makes the nearest a little blurry but helps draw the eye into the group. These amazing little machines look pretty awesome all lined up like this and Aldershot is one of the few tracks at which this kind of shot can be taken.

ISO200 – 175mm (350mm FF equivalent) – f/5 – 1/200th

This shot is from a wet Hednesford, where there was so much rain a large puddle had formed in the in-field, and I moved about a 3rd the way round the track so I could get the cars reflected in the water. I couldn’t quite get to where I wanted, I’d have preferred lower to cut out the portion of track between car and water, but then I’d have been shooting through the fence, which would’ve ruined it. Again this is over the fence with long lens + TC, and even then it’s cropped quite a bit, but it was worth it for the outcome. I took several pictures like this, but this one includes 2 of the more colourful cars and therefore works as well as any other. 

ISO200 – 31mm (62mm FF equivalent) – f/16 – 1/20th

This photo was taken at Eastbourne, the 1st and only time I’ve been there, and on the bill were cars described as “Heritage F2 Stockcars”. They were predominantly “oldskool” replica stockcars from I’d guess the 50’s and 60’s. This image stands out for a number of reasons. Shutter speed is 1/20th of a second, and normally you wouldn’t take pictures of something standing still at that speed let alone moving. With this kind of shot it’s critical to focus on something (the driver in this case) and follow that something as it moves past as accurately as possible, often easier said than done. Because of the laws of physics, anything in the image not precisely in time with the camera is blurred, the background of course, but the front and rear of the car are also blurred because they’re moving at a slightly different speed relative to my position compared to the bit of the car I’m aiming at. The big safety wire running through the middle sort of spoils it, but technically this image stands as an example of a perfectly executed low shutter speed panning shot, in my humble opinion.

ISO2200 – 18mm (36mm FF equivalent) – f/3.5 – 1/500th

This photo, and the next, represent why these guys race, and why guys like me who are too old and knackered to race ourselves love to support them. The image above is Andrew, my step-son’s cousin (step-nephew?) who has raced Bangers but normally supports Damian rather than compete himself. This year he bought himself a Rookie Rod and this was taken at Foxhall after the 1st race he competed in, 1st heat in fact, and he won! This picture was actually taken by my wife with the camera on the wrong settings for the shot, but nevertheless it captures that moment when Andy’s returned to the pits with his trophy for winning the race, and takes a few seconds to himself to appreciate what he’s just done before getting out of the car and celebrating with his many friends and family who were there to support him. Andy’s a lovely guy and I couldn’t have been happier for him in that moment.

ISO200 – 40mm (80mm FF equivalent) – f/2.8 – 1/200th

And this photo further captures what racing’s about, when all the hard work pays off, when the sweat, blood and tears all come together to provide those moments of elation you dreamed of, whether that’s simply taking part or going home with the silverware, as Dan and Damian did (mostly) at Lochgelly in August. Here they came 1st and 2nd and I just had to capture the success and joy their hard work, shared passion, and enduring friendship, had led them to.

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