Daytona 500 – Kyle Busch

A little more form the Daytona 500….typically I get “Pit Passes” for each time I attend the race.  Just adds to the enjoyment of the festivities.  You do not actually get into the pits (that is for family and sponsors only)…but you get to walk by or see  within a few feet.  In one section you get to walk by the garages of each driver.  They have windows to peer in.  I was lucky Kyle Busch above had his small window open to let in air.  This allowed me to peek my camera inside and take this photo.  I added a little flare to the shot and thanks to onOne’s Photo Frame 4.6…the film border effect was a cool effect.

They allow you to walk around on the inside of the track until 30 minutes before the race.  Walking on the track is a must.  My tradition is to sign the starting line (get there early to get your name on the track!).  You really get the feel of the track and see how steep the banks are!  About 1/4 mile section is open for you to explore.   I sat on the ground and grabbed this shot of the new pavement for the race…Turn 4 is ahead.

If you are a fan…enjoy the season!

Daytona, Florida – A Sea of 3’s!

I was at the 53rd annual running of the Daytona 500 yesterday in Daytona, FL.  It was a perfect day…weather was great and the track had brand new pavement.  It was going to be a great race!  In a touching moment to honor the death of one of NASCAR’s best racers ever…Dale Earnhardt Sr.  …who died in a crash on this track 10 years ago…  His racing number was #3.  On the 3rd lap of the race…the track went silent (except for the racing cars) and the entire crowd held up 3 fingers in honor Dale Sr.’s #3. 

It was a wonderful view to witness….so I will call this shot… “A Sea of 3’s”.  The race was unreal..the most lead changes and cautions ever at a Daytona 500.  I was in the first row and enjoyed every bit of dirt and grit hittting my face or even getting into my mouth.   Ah the fun! 

I have been to quite of few Daytona 500’s…and love it every time!  Trevor Bayne a 20 year old kid in his first Daytona won it!   Great job!  It should be a fantastic NASCAR season!

Daytona, Florida – Daytona 500 – 2010

Daytona 500 was great…just getting through my bunches of pics.  My best shots were right next to the starting lineup snapping away at the cars awaiting their drivers.  Next year will be fun..hopefully Danica Patrick  might be racing???  Good for her…she deserves her chance!   As for this shot…I took a single raw and converted it to and HDR.  These was so much action going on in the photo, I thought why not selective color the cars only???   I enjoy applying that effect.  Add a little nice touch to the shot!  Hope all the race fans enjoy the season!  Good luck Dale Jr!

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 70-200 VR f/2.8
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 70.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  1/320 sec (Single RAW HDR)
  • Aperture:  f/10
  • Gear:  Monopod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza, Silver Efex Pro

Daytona, Florida – Daytona 500

I just returned from a trip to Florida.  You know its a tough winter everywhere when even in February..Florida is cold!  This past Sunday the 14th was the Daytona 500….NASCAR’s first race os the season and the biggest race of the year.  I have posted before I am a casual fan, but there is no sporting event that I have ever attended that can top this race!!!  200,000 people…tough to beat!  I have been to this race I think 4 of the last 6 years?  No matter how many times I attend…I truly love it!

Its a full day indeed.  I went this year with my father-in-law George (his first time!) and we arrived at Daytona around 6:15 AM.  Had breakfast and walked to the track at around 8 AM for some shopping!  We shopped for an hour and had passes for the Fan Zone.   For the Fan Zone you get to walk around the stages near pit row and listen to drivers speak, music playing, eat food, watch car inspections, walk through pit row and onto the field.  The big draw is to walk on the track and sign the starting line and walls before the race.   As the cars are brought out….you cant get right next to pit row, behind a rope.  Only a few feet from the starting lineup!   After the cars are inspected they are rolled out one by one.  So I stood and took pics of each car coming out for about 2 hours.  My father-in-law was a trooper and stood next to me the whole time.  I had my big lens – Nikon 70-200 VR on a monopod and snapped away!

The pic above is from the lineup which includes Tony Stewart’s car….race ready.   If the crowds are not too heavy around the cars, close up shots are possible.  I saw Dale Jr’s car rolled out and could barley get close!  So we hit the stands for the race at about 12:30 and grabbed some lunch and our seats.

As our seats were first row right by the fence you see in the pic above…I wanted to grab a shot from above as the race started.  I walked up the aisle and took the shot above (turn 4) as lap 1 was just about to start!   Mark Martin is in the lead and Dale Jr. is is in second!  The shot above is at 200mm focal length.    I took a few more shots throughout the race and they were just ok.   This was the biggest lens I have ever taken to a race and made some conclusions about shooting races.  1) Use a bigger lens  2) Get pit passes  3) Practice beforehand if possible

Any fan that wants great shots like you see in Sports Illustrated…from the stands..its impossible.  I can assume a 400mm or 600mm lens is necessary to get those cool shots.  Added to that your photo location has to be from the pits.  How to get there…hmmm…maybe you have to be a professional.  So lesson learned as I tried to push my photography limits this day.  If anyone is a race fan and knows how to get such a photo pass…please let me know!   I’ll get into the race details in a future post next week.  A fun day and I can’t wait to get back again.  As I have a long post..I’ll skip the photo settings for the day.  Have fun and let the race begin!

Daytona, Florida – Daytona 500 (Kyle Busch)

Only one month away until the Daytona 500.  Daytona is the Super Bowl of NASCAR.   My sis gets tickets every year…so I have been to this race 3 of the last 5 years.  I may have posted before…I have been to many different sporting events and nothing beats the excitement of the Daytona 500.   It does help as out that the tickets are the first row (about 10 yards from the track).  When those cars come roaring by….WOW!    We even get a small amount of dirt and junk flying in our faces!   Makes a hot dog and beer taste even better!   LOL  This shot was from 2008 (50th year of Daytona) thanks to “Pit” passes.  You can get pretty close to the cars.  Here they are rolling out Kyle Busch’s car for the start of the race.   I wish I could use my connections and get a chance to shoot the race…maybe one day.  Now I will settle for shots from the stands!    Looking forward to the race next month!   I added a little Topaz Adjust to the shot for a little more grit.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 135.0mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Exposure:   1/800
  • Aperture:  f/14
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Topaz Adjust