I would often think out loud, grab another flash, and some cheap radio triggers,position the flash's where you want them and bang, issue solved. Now i have only seen one other photographer utilise this exact method at WSID, that person being Kyle Sharp http://www.kylesharp.com.au/ . Kyle is an amazing sydney based motorsports photographer and has shown that with a few extra items in your kit, and a bit of playing around you can come away with some brilliant images. The ability to make the cars POP off the screen, with little to no post work. And in this game, being different can give you the edge over the dozen other guys out there snappin away beside you. After seeing his results it gave me even more reason to give it a shot.
The 4/12/09 Freaky Friday meet was the next track day at WSID and there was already a good line up of cars for the night, so i got to the track early so i could have a look around and take the usual pit snaps early and be trackside all set up for the start of racing.
The gear i was using on the night was part of the the same kit i use for my static shots as pictured below,
For a start I set the heads up with one positioned facing the side of the cars as they staged in the lane, and the other just after the tree to cover the front. Throughout the night i played around with power levels and zooms to try and find a nice light that would work for the majority of cars/situations. But that was not an easy thing to do... Firstly i must have some dodgy batteries as throughout the night i had 1 flash that would decide on its own if and when it wanted to fire. This caused much frustration as i would miss a lot of good shots. after swapping triggers, cables and batteries around to try and fix the problem i managed to get on top of it in the end.
I would have issues with different colours of cars, with some being easier to expose than others, and its not easy to run down the wall, change settings and then run back to take the photo again, even with the heads only sitting on the wall for most of the night. It was only once i sorted out the firing issues i put the front flash on its stand to try and get a bit more coverage.
In the end it took a while, and after a lot of trial and error i managed to come away with some nice images that really show what a difference off camera lighting can make. Especially lighting the side of the car which is able to really enhance sponsor/workshop signage and or fancy graphics & paintwork. The other really cool thing i found was that the front flash is able to give a great light across the drivers faces, depending on the vehicle. Heads slammed back into the seat and wide open eyes add to the feeling of power in an image.
Check out Steve Barnfathers face in this launch image, a classic.
This shot was unfortunately the last pass ever for the ALCHO12A RX3. An engine failure across the finish line spewed oil and water under the tyres forcing the car into the wall. Steve was luckily able to come out from the accident ok, with only saw ribs and leg. This goes to show the benefit of good safety gear and a solid cage.
The SPEEDY Differentials Cortina loved the extra light, i was glad to come away with some nice shots of this killer car. The car ran a new PB i believe and broke into the 8's with a 8.99.
The bikes also come out great with the flash, especially if they are bright colours as with this insane turbo Busa.
You can see here in these 2 images of Moustafa Sakina's RX7 & Jamier Ruggier in the RX3 what i mean about highlighting the signage and paintwork on the side of the cars.
The bright paint scheme of the PAC Performance Mazda 6 and Rodney Rehayem's RX3 came out great.
Nikki Dunlop made the huge treck to WSID with her crazy 4G63 Evo. Putting a lot of guys to shame with her driving, Nikki managed a cool 8.91 best for the night.Hope to see Nikki and the Evo, or even her new Pro Turbo S6 RX7 back in Sydney racing again soon.
The queen St RB30 Gemini had a scary moment as the car broke loose just passed the 60' mark and fish tailed to 1/2 track almost ending on its side.
PANNIC is one hot RX3 full stop!
Ross Edwards had his Fast Fours & Rotaries feature car MOV41T out again proving you can have the best of both worlds with a tuff street cruiser and track weapon all in one.
Robert Capisi's night didnt go to plan in the CV Performance prepped mustang with the car dropping its crank over the finish line resulting in a nice pothole in the track surface, not to mention a heafty repair bill for the crew.
Frank was giving the wheelie bar a workout in MRHELI again this week.
Here is a quick video i made up to show some actual runs and results.For some reason the colours are off on the mazda 6 and Rodneys RX3, im not sure why?? You can see the front flash on the stand in the top right corner. The side flash is sitting on the wall towards the cars. Some of the runs you can see the flash go off, but there is also other guys around/behind the camera filming so its hard to tell whats what but you get the idea anyway.
I am definately looking forward to doing this again and trying to get more consistent results. I might even take my other flash and set it up on the other lane so that i can just grab one of them and move to the other side if needed instead of being stuck shooting one lane as i was this night.
Next event/post should be a Test n Tune on 12/12 so hope you can hold off till then.