NHRA NASCAR PWC IMSA CCS MotoAmerica GP MX PhotographerBeing informed and staying informed are as important to great motorsports and racing photography as the various specific skill sets and equipment requirements we possess. Pretty much anyone with the right access, the right equipment and a modicum of photographic technique can get an acceptable picture of most racing scenarios. Getting the RIGHT picture is an entirely different animal altogether. My preparations for any motorsports racing editorial assignment consists of a lot more than charging batteries and packing my camera gear bag. I start days before the event by doing some research into the event I will be covering. I get to know who all the "players" are. Which drivers are "the ones to watch". I take note of any rivalries that might come in to play. I know who is on top, and who is fighting to get to the top in any racing series points battle. Once I’m confident on the personalities point I move on to the venue. I download track maps of the venue where the event will take place. I look at the track map to pre-visualize what might be the best places to capture critical moments. Video is a big part of our lives these days and a visit to You Tube comes next. Everything from homemade GoPro helmet cam videos to full broadcast television programming of almost every racing series and every track are available to watch. I study these videos to see where photographers are stationed (look for orange, white or purple vests). I take note of where the broadcast television cameras are located and get a good feel of the lens focal lengths they are using to get their shots. Most venues inform the credentialed photographers where they CAN’T be if there is a chance they could interfere with the broadcast television cameras. Many of the tracks I visit I have been to before so I go in with a pretty good game plan of where I will station myself for different parts of the speed contest. In certain full day events I find myself changing positions throughout the day to take advantage of the best lighting scenarios. The last thing I do…and I can’t believe so few photographers take advantage of this technology…is to stay tuned to the racing action as it unfolds. For most events the credentialed photographers will be wearing ear protection anyway. My headphones are connected to a Racing Electronics scanner which I wear on my belt. I have the broadcast channels dialed in to hear the race being called as it unfolds and can also tune in to individual race team channels to listen to strategy calls. Going the extra mile like this gives me a decided advantage over other photographers in capturing not only good photos, but the RIGHT photos.