During the March 2012 NASCAR visit to Phoenix, I was on this “trying something different” theme, and if you remember the images I posted from the Nationwide practice session here: NASCAR Nationwide Series – Trying something completely different you will see a bit of a continuation of that “something different” theme. In the past I would get tons of shots of cars-on-track and for the most part I would spend my time outside the track shooting cars with long glass. These images from the race aren’t different from anything you’ve seen before, but somewhat different for me, in that the style is a bit different from what I normally shoot and my shooting position is different. I tried to look for a different perspective with this race, but in many cases during the heat of the moment and all the excitement of the race I tended to slip back into my old habits of getting “traditional” style images.
I realized I use the word “different” about a thousand times in that first paragraph so maybe I should just stop typing and show you the images.
During the race I tried some slow shutter speed panning like this shot of Elliot Sadler and Kyle Busch but I can’t say I was really excited with the results so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time shooting panning shots.
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The boys, and girls of NASCAR stop by Phoenix International Raceway twice a year and the November race looked to be an exciting weekend of racing because Phoenix had been called “the wildcard” by most of the media due to the new track surface and “configuration.” From my perspective there didn’t seem to be much of a change to the shape or distance of the track however, they did raise the back part of the track several feet allowing fans to see the cars on the back straight from the grandstands along the front straight but, the shape and distance didn’t change.
10 November 2011: Sam Hornish Jr. (12) takes hot laps during a practice session for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Race, WYPALL* 200 powered by Kimberly-Clark Professional at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale Arizona.
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These images aren’t particularly difficult to capture or photographed amazing well on my part, just good clean stock shots of trucks on track. The images are useful to illustrate stories on either the drivers or the Camping World Truck Series teams so from that standpoint they have value and interest.
I liked the look of the lighting on former AMA Supercross Champion, Ricky Carmichael’s number 4 Monster Energy Drink truck and having the trucks in the background helped give some perspective to the image.
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Some of the other photographer’s blogs that I follow post favorite images of the year or favorite sports images, so I thought I would go through some of my NASCAR images and pull out a few favorites. I don’t have a lot of experience shooting NASCAR, and I’ve only been able to shoot NASCAR at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona, which means in some cases all my shots are going to be the same from year-to-year. After all, how many times can you walk around that same track and look for different images?
I have good days and bad days when shooting, on good days I manage to make some good images and on bad days I just get the same old shots or boring shots no matter how hard I try. I wish I could say that I always come back with the winners, but that just isn’t true. At any rate, here are some of my favorites from the year.
I’ll start this show with a little Kurt Busch sitting in his car waiting to take practice laps.
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Wow, long headline. At least my long headline will help readers find my blog and images.
I didn’t get many views or comments on my truck race coverage, granted it was somewhat un-inspiring image-wise and the fans don’t seem to be very interested in the Camping World Truck series anyway, so I guess I shouldn’t expect too much.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series is a little bit more popular than the trucks even though a lot of the drivers are the same.
I still struggled a bit with my creativity on this set, in some cases resorting to just getting cars-on-track shots, but at least I tried to use shots with nice afternoon sunlight or flames coming from the exhaust. So, on with the show.
Some would say this was the Carl Edwards show, and rightly so as he was fast all day and took home the big prize.
Carl Edwards jumps out of his Copart car in victory lane.
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Switching gears from shooting beautiful models on the runway to racecars on the track. Utilizing a different skill set and different parameters of image selection is a bit of a challenge for me at times and thankfully the big NASCAR weekend ramps up with smaller, less popular events before the final crescendo of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday. These smaller races give me a chance to get back into the loud noise, long days in the sun, tons of walking, looking for interesting shots that not everyone gets and generally trying to push my photographic abilities to new levels.
Sometimes it works, and sometimes I just get the same old stuff.
In the late afternoon, when the shadows get long and the light turns a little golden you can get some nice textures and look to cars on track, but that doesn’t last long and it’s only a practice session for the night race.
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The Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway starts a bit later than some of the other races so a large part of the race is in the shadows or under the lights. This can make photography challenging because of the tough lighting conditions and the “odd” color tempature of the lights at PIR.
Here are a couple of shots you might enjoy:
Yes, Kyle Busch won, and yes everyone still hates Kyle. He wins races, so what can you say.
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