Another weekend and another 12 or so hours spent wandering the gravelled, wind blasted spectator areas of the Buckhamptonshire border.
The promise of a cracking weekends photographics boded well; a monster grid was on offer for the Blancpain Endurance and 55 fast moving subjects for photographic interpretation over three hours of racing, not forgetting practice, qualifying and the supporting sports series thing.
Accounting for only the three hour race on Sunday, I worked out a potential harvest of 4,565 individual shutter pressing opportunities, IF you moved position on every lap, and took an image of every car should they all remain in the race completing an equal amount of circuits.
It may even be possible too, if you chose a spot, shot each car, took say three side steps, shot each car for every lap. – That’s a ridiculous amount of images mind, that would all look incredibly familiar.
This crazy idea and the weekends endeavors got me thinking. And we all know thinking can be dangerous.
As I battled the subdued opportunities that Silverstone’s spectator areas offer the casual punter mit camera, I observed how other photographers approached freezing the weekends action and thought, why bother?
No really, what is the point?
Apart from attempting to fulfill my own desires to take a decent picture, I had a sudden epiphany in that I’m not entirely sure why I invest so much time, effort and expense into this hobby.
Negative vibes, huh? Well, let me explain further;
When you see what I can only describe as ‘day trippers’ mooching about the grid, happy snapping grid girls and cars with a stock 50mm, while I’m stuck behind the wire, scrabbling about for a different angle, I get frustrated.
From regular attendance to these events, I can only deduce this; the majority of shooters – bibbed or not – aren’t very trusting in the benefits individuality bring.
Sure it might cost a little more or there might be more risk involved, but in a world that is swamped with generic, social copycat-ness…it’s even harder to stand out from that swarming crowd, so why not try to be a little different?
This frustration is only multiplied by the creative abyss I am now experiencing on my umpteenth trip to Silverstone. It appears to be a greasy, uphill struggle, unless I go generic and sell my soul for a pink vest and access to that fence free fancy I so long for.
But, I’m not going to do that.
Generic is profoundly dull, easy, clichéd and no challenge at all. At least in my eyes it is.
I can appreciate why it’s warranted; sponsors, recognition, application and all that, but I still think that even the most creative of images can be applied to great effect if applied well and given the appropriate thought.
So as the 55 GT’s pummeled around the Silverstone tarmac in a melee of rubber and flashing lights, I scratch about even more, sitting, crouching, climbing, searching.
Different images have to be out there somewhere.
I try and shoot through two, three or four fences, attempt to find new angles and depth in my images, but it’s not working. I’m making it harder for myself, and that breeds more frustration.
My lens is like a sail in the wind, as I try to pan shots of cars through Becketts at 1/4th… but the buffeting air makes it very difficult to move smooth. I persist, hoping I can nail just one. No Joy. Eventually, I drop the camera down to 1/15th, or 1/30 to at least get some sort of result, but the image is not what I wanted.
I’ve gone generic = more frustration.
Too often I find myself looking at images I took only two or three races ago. It’s all very familiar. I need the variety.
In my second season of shooting regular motorsport, I am finding that I crave diversity more and more – I want to improve and develop my images, but there’s only so much you can achieve obstructed by the fence.
I could buy more kit, travel to new and exotic places!
Yes I could, but, I’m loathed to invest the money and time in travelling to far off landscapes for the sake of a hobby, likewise I don’t want to splash out any more big bucks on expensive equipment for it to be limited by oversized chicken wire.
A camera is a tool and I’m not one to stand about sneering at those with lesser gear. I’d rather help folks use it more effectively.
The most expensive kit in the world won’t make the fence actually disappear; spectator photography will always be at a disadvantage because of it.
But while it’s all a little bit groundhog day, I take great solace in that I’m actually trying to be better than the privileged pinkies. Some have said I’m achieving it too.
I actually couldn’t think of anything worse than having to take generic images of stipulations, while stood next too another 10 button pushers imitating the same stipulations.
In my eye that’s simply not what photography is about.