Road Racing Photos Motorcycle Sports Cars NHRA NASCARWhat makes motorsports photography great? Is it a comprehensive inventory of fine photographic equipment? Is it a well-honed skill set of photographic techniques designed around capturing the essence of speed contests? Is it a powerful computer loaded with sophisticated image editing software? Or is it a photographer who is well-educated on the athletes and team personalities along with the venues that make up race day? Truth be told it is all of the above. My camera bag is loaded with the finest digital cameras available today. These are the newest incarnations in the world of mirrorless cameras capable of extraordinary focus tracking algorithms and unbelievably high frame rates. The lenses in the system are fast and lightweight enabling me to swiftly change my sights and composition on the action that is unfolding before me. I have mastered skill sets that are most important to the motorsports racing photographer. These include taking motion blur pictures to capture the essence of the speed that the cars or motorcycles are reaching as well as shooting with very long telephoto lenses to reach out to vehicles that are moving through somewhat distant stretches of the race track. My computers are equipped with the latest versions of the most powerful image editing software applications to retouch and enhance my photos to their absolute best. On single day assignments I return to my studio and conduct all post processing the day after the event. On a full weekend multi-day assignments I have my laptop computer on hand and start all editing and post production within hours of that day’s events. I can meet immediate deadlines by transferring images from my camera directly to my smart phone via a WiFi connection, and send them off to my editor/client on the spot. After covering an event and retouching/enhancing images I post all the finished photos to a private online gallery where my clients can view and download images as needed. All of this is meaningless if I don’t get the "right" photographs and this is where being an educated photographer comes into play. Prior to every event I research all that I can. I know who the drivers/riders are. I know who the race teams and their sponsors are. I know the current standings in sanctioning body which is key to focusing (no pun intended) on the most important competitors. I familiarize myself with the racing venue starting by looking at track maps to anticipate where the best action will take place. I review broadcasts of prior events from the track to see the track under actual race conditions. Often times I find that the best camera positions are the ones taken up by the broadcast camera crews. If the venue allows working from that position (without interfering with the broadcast cameras, of course) I always find them a good place to start. Knowledge of the track and the racers is as crucial to a successful motorsports racing photographer as his or her equipment is.