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Old 10th of January 2007 (Wed)   #16
forsaken
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

safety first. photography second when at the track.
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Old 23rd of January 2007 (Tue)   #17
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

If you're going to get close enough to the action to get a clean shot at a race track, you're going to expose yourself to danger. There are safer locations, but no place is perfectly safe.

I was at the now-O'Reilly Raceway Park in 1979 when a TV cameraman was killed during the U.S. Nationals drag races.

The cameraman was on a platform a couple of feet above track level and a hundred yards downstream of the finish line. Two top fuel cars were qualifying (they were going only 220 mph in those days) and one car had the rear wing break. That lifted the rear wheels off the ground, which let the engine freewheel, and the overspeeding engine blew the supercharger off the block. The torque from the overspeed also rolled the fueler, which slammed into the guardrail.

The poor cameraman followed his instincts and quickly panned the camera to follow the crashing car, which was still bouncing off the guardrail. He had the camera pointed downtrack and never saw the supercharger, which had flown over the guardrail, bounded through the grass, then struck the cameraman in the back and killed him.

Everyone in the control tower was watching the crashing top fuel car, and it was a few moments before we saw the cameraman on the ground after he had been thrown off the platform by the flying supercharger.

After that, every cameraman with that production company was assigned a spotter who was required to have a finger in the cameraman's belt loop, ready to yank him out of the way in case of trouble.
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Old 24th of January 2007 (Wed)   #18
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

wow thats way more then they get in the uk they only get given ear defenders but the close camera man is only at 8th mile marker the next one is a good 50ft from the track

on of the local togs was in the sutdown area when he had his leg broken by a blower disasembly he was some 250ft away from the action
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Old 22nd of April 2007 (Sun)   #19
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

Great tips here guys!!

I shot some pictures last year at the local track here. What I did was ask the owner of the track if I could shoot pictures from the towers int he middle of both turns. He had no problem with that and it worked out great for me!!! Got some great pictures of them coming into the turns and no one and one fencing was in my way!
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Old 24th of April 2007 (Tue)   #20
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

I've never felt so unsafe, as to last year standing near the guardrail as jet cars screamed past to a new NZ record. It was the only time I got blurry photos, and I sh@t myself, and pretty much through the camera out of my hand.

Good points from everyone. Standing is always best, and stand behind something solid.
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Old 24th of April 2007 (Tue)   #21
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

I shoot a fair amount of "grassroots" motorcycle racing. Green racers and green corner workers, peppered with seasoned vets. Bikes crash a lot and they flail.

Watch a race or two and get the ide of where these guys are crashing. Make a mental note to not stand there.

Some corner workers will be overzealous. Some will be downright nasty. Most are pretty happy you're there to cover the event. Get them on side as they can get you booted asap. Take a nice group shot of them in between green track times. They may even share some bottled water if you are nice. You'll forget water.

Now to mention something people here have experienced but haven't mentioned. Canada, not unlike the UK is not renowned for its blireting heat. That being said here in Canada I've sen heat stroke, sun stroke, dehydration and dangerously low blood sugars on tracks. Washrooms, food and water can sometimes be scarce. Couple that with zero shade for hours on end and you can have a perosn on the track who is disoriented, not making rational decisions etc. Keep your mind and body running as well as your gear. Then you won't make the one small mistake when you can't afford it.
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Old 27th of April 2007 (Fri)   #22
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

I shoot raod racing and have started shooting supermoto. One thing I have learned from being aound roadracing all my life is 2 things

Never turn your back to the track
Always run perpindicular to the car coming at you. Better yet if you can run along the barier so you are not in line with any flyin debris.

NEVER run away from the car in the direction it is traveling. Chances are you will not out run it.

Now with shooting motocross and supermoto, you are constantly exposed so I am curious to what others have for tips on this sport.
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Old 28th of May 2007 (Mon)   #23
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

Lots of good tips in here.
When shooting around the starting line at the drag strip remember that the track is sticky, pick up your feet when turning around or you just might hurt you knee.
Don't ask.
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Old 8th of June 2007 (Fri)   #24
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

Not that safe...

"After that red car, haul ass!! Be careful!" - Track marshal at the finish line right before I was even ready to cross the hot track. At least the drivers where pretty slow.
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Old 10th of August 2007 (Fri)   #25
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

I've only done this a couple of times but always I have to say safety first. always be on guard. never sit down. a couple of seconds could mean the difference. neveer put your self in danger. after you figure that out. than keep on your toes for some really great pictures.
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Old 13th of August 2007 (Mon)   #26
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

Another tip:

When at an autocross event, you should always have a spotter. Reason being is sometimes there could be two vehicles on the course at any given time. While your eyes and lens are looking at one car, you cannot see where the other car is at.
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Old 31st of August 2007 (Fri)   #27
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawei213 View Post
Another tip:

When at an autocross event, you should always have a spotter. Reason being is sometimes there could be two vehicles on the course at any given time. While your eyes and lens are looking at one car, you cannot see where the other car is at.
I Highly second this point!
I started shooting Autocross events Early this year, and for most events the organizers for the event have a course spotter assigned just to watch over me while I shoot from within the course. Even when I an near the finish line and sitting just off to the side, I have a spotter watching me and keeping me from becoming roadkill!



---michael

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Old 8th of October 2007 (Mon)   #28
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

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Old 31st of October 2007 (Wed)   #29
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

Thanks for the info
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Old 15th of November 2007 (Thu)   #30
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Default Re: Motorsports safety for photographers

Some other good general advice in here:
Advice needed for Rally shooting

Includes links to:
Motorsport Shooting Tips, Tutorials and Advice
Why do you guys use manual? AV makes more sense.

Some tips on panning in these threads:
drag racing tips
Panning Shots
Newbie question about cycling shots

Hard lesson learned (Slow-shutter panning with a long lens)
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