Two weeks ago I attended the Motorsport Photography Workshop at the Lime Rock Park. It was a 2-days workshop with professional instructors (Rick Dole, George Tiedemann and Robert Laberge) leading a class of around 40 students. I actually learnt of it last year but the date clashed with our weekend at the US Open Tennis. This year I signed up for the workshop the moment I received the email alert. I, however, did not sign up for the full 2-days course, only attending the first day. The workshop used the Ferrari Challenge weekend as the source of racing action to teach us how to take action photography, involving head-on shots, panning sideways, compositions, interacting with mechanics and drivers in the pit lane/paddock, etc.
Ever since I’ve watched the Blue Angels on Discover Channel (A Year in the Life of Blue Angels), I’ve always wanted to visit an air show with them demonstrating their aerobatics skills.
A few months back, we found out that the Blue Angels will be at the NAS Oceana down in Virginia Beach for the Ocean Air Show last weekend. So Leah and I decided to drive down there on Friday (with a stop at Annapolis to see the US Naval Academy). The air show was fantastic with non-stop aerobatics displays from 10AM to 4PM with the Blue Angels closing out with an hour-long demonstration. The most memorable display, however, was not when we were at the stands. Rather it was at the beginning of the day we were already in the naval air base but still in our car, in a queue to the parking lot. We were in the middle of the tarmac and a F-16C circled around to make a low-level, fast approach to the stands from the side. The flight path took it directly above us so we were treated with watching the F-16C flying towards us at 400mph+ at around 150-200 feet then passed us at 90 degree from right to left. The sound was deafening but glorious as it flew pass us overhead, its engine exhaust glowing with afterburner shooting flame out.
Knowing that we don’t get many opportunity to see the Blue Angels, I’ve rented a long telephoto lens (100-400mm) from LensRentals.com and managed to get lots of great aerial photos (570+). The best ones are on Flickr but here are a few from the collection.
More US Open photos on Flickr.
A lot of photographers obsess about their gears. What features their cameras have or not have? How does it compares to another model/make? Which lens is sharper/better than another? A healthy understanding of the capability of the gear you own is crucial to capturing the image you want. But if the pursuit of understanding the gear gets beyond that and it becomes feature-matrix obsession, it is very easy to forget about the point of photography which is to make great photos.
I’ve just hanged up a 16″ x 20″ print of a photo of Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren F1 car. It looks great, doesn’t it? The photo captures the dynamic motion of the car as well as Hamilton working with the steering wheel. Do I buy this from the merchandise stand at the track?
Ever since I bought the Golf GTI back in March I always planned to take photos of it with nice background. It finally took Leah being stranded in the UK by volcano ash and a burst of sunny weather today to get me to do it.
All of them are taken using my Canon 50D with 50mm f1.8, handheld. This is also the first time I used Aperture 3 in a more in-depth editing role. The brush-in adjustment feature is absolutely awesome!
The whole collection is on Flickr but here are a sample: