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My first Motorsport gig...

Thought I would share my day of motorsport togging with you guys. My 'do nothing' approach to getting interesting work finally seemed to be stalling this past few months, so I was quite pleased when this showed up in my inbox as I was still unsure about the whole 'photography as work' thing.

Two weeks ago the organiser of this contacted me and asked if I would like to shoot the event for them. Aside from lots of minor things I've had 3 'major' photography gigs in the past 2 years (Venice for Olympus, Paris for DSLR User and a wedding) and I've pretty much hated them all, but at least this time it was my main photography passion, so I said yes as it seemed a nice event to try things out. It being a charity thing there would be no payment, but free entry, a press pass and a free passenger ride was more than enough considering I was intending to go as a paying visitor/passenger anyway.

Saturday came, along with torrential rain and 25mph winds. On the plus side, my Sigma has at least been working well lately after a few serious blips in the past few months (otherwise I wouldn't have accepted the job) so it felt good wandering out of the paddock with exclusive unlimited access to the entire circuit.

3hrs of soaking wet shooting later and things seemed pretty good, some nice atmospheric shots in horrible conditions, I wandered off further round the circuit, found a new spot, then...'f--', the dreaded 'lens isn't talking to body' message that has plagued me for months was back. Gutted. Two hours later it kicked back into action and I was away again. Finally the day closes out as it started (heavy rain and high winds), I sign out and head home to sort the shots, hoping that my aim to get some interesting compositions in terms of layout for text etc worked out ok (shots are being used for next years event, programme, flyers etc)...

A couple with layout in mind...

Send the pics off, thankfully they love them and distribute them to the press etc, and even better a follow up with them wanting to discuss how I can help gain additional charity revenue for next year (the idea possibly being to sell pics after the event next time around)

So, did I finally enjoy a 'photography job', albeit one on a volunteer basis? Almost, whilst I loved the angles available as a press tog and had absolute freedom to get whatever shots I wanted, I still felt like a few weekends of that would put me off for life...and I really don't want that considering how much I love it. Hopefully it looks as though I've got a nice fun yearly gig and all for a good cause, but I think it's finally confirmed that photography for a living is just not for me.
Doing it as a career can crush your passion !!!
I have 2 brand new camera kits here - and have not even opened them, on my week off !!!

nice shots btw
good work, the MG shots and the old skool fezza are brilliant, actualy sod that they ALL are. love how u get small detail alot dont, like the water coming off the bumper blades on the noble
  Oil Burner
Congratulations Chris, Excellent photos as always and your clearly doing well to get your name out and about. Im glad you got a chance to shoot trackside, its not the be all and all of motorsports photography, but it does help to produce unique stuff.

99% of Trackside photographers do motorsport photography as a hobby that pays a bit, that way it is more fun. Whenever there is a client there is pressure. But only a healthy level ;)
  Fiat Panda 100hp
Nice shots as always mate.

Doing it the way you did above it probably the best way, do gigs for free - shoot and enjoy. 98% of cases the clients are going to love your photos.

I don't think I would like the pressure of a paid job. I like to photograph on my own terms.
  1.2 Dynamique billabong
i know what you mean mate, i have had a couple of press passes for silverstone and in terms of access you cant beat it but the pressure seems pretty crazy. one of the other paps i was talking to said at big events he often has a guy sat in the press room with a laptop checking the pics and getting them out to news agencies / magazine image stock almost instantly. the pics are sent to the press room via the camera and a transmitter and then the guy on the laptop uploads them. luckly the times ive had a press pass for silverstone i havent been working for any body specifically so makes it easier.

nice pics buddy dispite the problems you had lens/light/whether you have still got some good stuff there.

Cheers for the comments guys, much appreciated. Been looking back through this years shots and I'm thinking I have to make a major change next year. Loving the sharpness and clarity of my super-siggy but I've definitely gone backwards in all other respects this year. Never thought I would say it, but having finally owned what is the de-facto motorsport lens, it's almost too good and always urges me on to try and go sharper and sharper.

If funds allow I'm going to head back into mentalist territory next year, if for no other reason than I enjoy it more. Good times ;)

P.S. It's a Noble M400 iirc, but the 400 is just a track-based M12, so I will let you off ;)