Shooting pictures of insanely expensive, fast moving machines with expensive equipment at exotic locations around the world has a certain glamour attached to it.
It’s part of the appeal of Motorsport as a subject for photography; The cars, the style, the celebrity, the locations and weather are all aspects of this past-time that appeal in many ways to many people, and yes I will admit, they appeal to me too.
I enjoy trying to capture those scenes you don’t see every day, the technology, speed and colour, but I also believe in testing oneself and that to challenge yourself, you often have to step away from what you know best and try different scenarios.
The Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone was one such scenario that I can look back on and file under ‘experiences’, for sure.
I was little wary of making the trip over to the ‘Stone, for the simple reason that I’ve photographed many cars through that circuits fences many times this year, and didn’t want to catch myself shooting the same angles.
It’s easy to go back to a position where you managed a healthy capture, and a bit of a kop out in my book, but I’m an admirer of the little open wheel rippers that were on the circuit en-masse over the weekend and thought that shooting this meeting would be a decent way to polish off the seasons antics.
So I ventured out, tooled up four layers deep to keep out the November chill, fully prepared to wear out some sole in search of a final few 2016 snaps.
It wasn’t fun.
Now I can handle a bit of rain and I love the cold, in fact, I prefer the cold of winter to the warmth of summer, as you can actually control your own body temperature.
I have also stood on the side of mountains at 2,500m in minus three blizzards, shooting snowboarding contests and had a good time…but this was a miserable afternoon.
While the weather started off pleasant, with some delightful winter sunshine caressing the curves of both track and car, the wind soon picked up and invited Mr Rain to party. Mr Rain of course slowed everything down, including my camera, it’s batteries and my ability to function correctly with ungloved hands on freezing cold kit.
Cold. Wet. Frozen hands, and no tissue to blow my nose. Shivering and panning do. not. compliment.
Once the sun had hidden itself away, it was also incredibly dark, and I had real exposure trouble through the rain and gloom, having to use high ISO top try and capture the details, which with my equipment, unfortunately affects the quality detrimentally, as you’ll see.
I very much enjoy shooting highlight, colour and contrast. Gloom and murk don’t make exciting images.
But that wasn’t the only hindrance to the day: While the Walter Hayes is an observers treat, it’s more of a club meet than an ‘event’. Big sponsors are not present, and budgets are obviously tight. It reminded me of radio controlled car racing when I was at school. Everyone would bundle into a hall with hubbub and tools, and take turns to race.
Great comradery, great track action, but a bit of a yard sale.
Combine that with the lovely weather and I found capturing images for my last foray of the season very difficult and quite uninspiring. A shame after such a progressive initial season of photography. But hey, next season, armed with the insight as to what to expect next time I’ll hopefully make a more delicious meal of it.
Finally, Huge thank you to the very kind BRDC member who stopped in his oh-so-inviting Range Rover to offer me a lift around the track, which I didn’t accept because I was absolutely soaked. I hope you enjoy my images.