Friday, August 9, 2013

Credentialed Photographers Guide to Shooting Mid-Ohio....

A quick intro to shooting Mid-Ohio with credentials.

Lets start with a track map:


Depending on the track configuration, and in what order Mid-Ohio decides to number the corners, the corner numbers on this map will change.  So these are really only valid for the discussion here.  With that in mind, lets get started.

LIGHT

The sun will rise over Thunder Valley in the morning - between Turns 11 and 12 on our map.  This is where you want to be in the early morning.  It will move both overhead, and clockwise on our map throughout the course of the day, and ultimately set somewhere around Turns 6 and 7.

TRACKSIDE

For a quick guide to shooting trackside, lets start at Turn 1 and work our way around.  It's important to note that Mid-Ohio starts their races on the Back Straight and finishes their races on the Pit Straight, so Turn 1 isn't really the first turn on race starts.  Turn 7 is effectively Turn 1 on the first lap.  Confused?

So, Turn 1:  Photographers are not allowed in the credentialed areas on both drivers left or right.  There is no shot here.  You CAN shoot drivers left from the spectators side of the fence, but it's a pretty generic side pan, you will be fighting non-credentialed photographers for the shot, and it's difficult to pick them up as they come out from under the infield bridge.  Not worth the trouble.  But it's there.....

The stretch from T1 to T4, The Keyhole, is all catch fencing.  Photographers are allowed only on drivers left, but there really are no photo holes to shoot from.  It does make for a nice walk from the paddock to the Keyhole without fighting all of the fan traffic.  ;-)

So the first real photo opportunities are in the Keyhole.  Again, only drivers left, on the outside of the track.  This is your only true opportunity for a real 'head-on' shot as the come down the straight.  The Keyhole is full of shooting opportunities:  Head on shots, 3/4 pans, side pans, wide angle shots, going away shots, etc....  The place is loaded.  A few examples:



Head-On, Top of Keyhole
Head-On, Top of Keyhole
Side Pan, Top of Keyhole
Bottom of Keyhole shooting back towards the top.  
This WILL have motorhomes in the background for "Pro" races
Top of KH shooting back towards the bottom.


The Keyhole light is pretty good throughout the day.  Starting around 11am-12pm it's fairly well lit most of the day and the light moves from head-on, around the corner as the day goes on.  Late afternoon, 4pm and later, the bottom of the Keyhole is a good place to be.

The stratch between T5 and T6 is lined with catch fencing.  There ARE photo holes scattered along the way.  Photographers are only allowed on drivers left, outside the track, and only down to the starters stand, which is roughly around the kink, T6.  You can go no further than that on drivers left.  The light late afternoon is nice down there, once the trees on the outside start casting shadows you will see little pockets of light down there.  When it;s good, it's very good.  Examples:

Shooting back towards the Keyhole spectator hill.
Shooting towards the kink, T6.
Another shooting back towards the kink.....

Shooting from the starters stand, and the START SHOT!  Yeah, don't get too excited, there is no good start shot at Mid-Ohio.  A select few, mainly from AP, Getty, LAT, and a Series Photographer will be invited to shoot from the top of the starters stand.  Even that shot is "meh"..... problem is, it;s backlit ALL day.  You can shoot from a hole in the fence beneath the starters stand, but again, "meh", it's backlit.....  Personally, not a fan, but if you have to have it, it's there.
Here is a going away shot of the start from a little further upstream from the starters stand......


Shooting Turn 7.  On the start, T7 is essentially the first turn.  Sometimes they make it through in one piece, sometimes they all pile in trying to occupy the same piece of asphalt.  Marco Andretti ended up on his lid in this turn during the '07 Indycar race.  The problem is, it's not very good to shoot.  Catch fencing lines the track up to corner entry.  Photographers are only  allowed drivers right, infield side.  The corner is slightly banked.  Basically a side pan is all that is available here.  Not all that interesting.  Have no fear!  There are better locations to shoot this corner from......
Shot from the spectator grandstands, exiting T7 entering T8 with the Mid-Ohio deck in the background.....

Another from the grandstands, shot a little tighter......

Shot of T7 from drivers left, outside the track, corner station at T8...
Same spot.
Same spot again......

Madness.  The Esses.  T7, T8. T9, 10A to the Honda Bridge.  Uphill, downhill, right, left, right.  Craziness happens here.  Madness can be shot from both drivers right and drivers left.  Let's start with drivers right:

Bottom of the esses shooting back towards the top.  This is well lit in the morning.
Top of esses shooting back towards the exit of T7 entering T8.
T8 Entry from drivers right.  Late morning shot......
Side pan between T9 and 10A/Honda Bridge
Honda Bridge from top of spectator hill....Late morning, early afternoon

Going away under Honda Bridge
Under Honda Bridge.....

Lets look at Madness from the drivers left..... As I mentioned earlier, shooting from drivers left, T8 by the corner workers station gives nice views of T7...
Shot from outside of track, T8, of the straight entering T7.  Late afternoon.
T7 from T8 drivers left.  Late afternoon, early evening.
T8 drivers left.  Late afternoon.  Mid-Ohio deck in background.
Downhill stretch between T8 and T9.  Drivers left.  This is only good after 5pm.....
T9.  Drivers left.  Outside the track.  Evening shot, after 6pm.....


The stretch from under the Honda Bridge to T11.  There isn't much that is good from either drivers left or right, there is some stuff, but your time is better spent elsewhere......

T11.  Early morning this is EPIC.  Great light, lots of different angles, almost all of which are from the outside of the track, drivers left.....
T11.  Drivers left. Shooting as they exit the corner....
T11.  Drivers left.  Again as they exit the corner, before they drop into Thunder Valley.....
T11.  Drivers left.  Apex.

T11 from drivers right:  not alot here.  Only good mid-to-late afternoon, after 3pm.....

T11.  Drivers right. Heading towards the walk over bridge and T12.....  Afternoon shot.

The stretch from T11 through Thunder Valley is lined with catch fence on both sides, and is a "red" zone for photographers, meaning: we can't go there.....  The one exception is from drivers left, right where we are allowed to start shooting again.  It's a nice shot as they come under the bridge in Thunder Valley.....
T12.  Drivers left.  This photo hole may or may not be filled with a TV camera.  Sometimes they film from a platform and leave this hole open, other times it's filled and unshootable.  Nice shot in early morning if the sun is out.  Trees cast shadows on the track and create little pockets of light.  


Turn 13.  There is really only one good shot here - Drivers right from the infield.  Afternoon.  3pm-ish.....
This is where they come up out of Thunder Valley and enter the Carousel.  Ther is a nice Kerb on drivers left which alot of drivers like to shortcut and, as a result, sometimes end up with two wheels off the ground.  Nice, dynamic shot.

The Carousel. T13, T14, and T15.  The Carousel, drivers left in the morning is very nice.  Lots of opportunities for different looks here.....

Exiting T13, entering T14, drivers left...... Morning shot.
T14 Drivers Left. Morning shot.....

T14.  Drivers left.  Late morning, early afternoon.  Downhill, mid corner, pre-apex....


T14, Drivers left, exiting 14, entering 15.  Morning shot....

 T15.  Infield.  Drivers right.  Late afternoon.  3-4pm and later......

And that is a lap of Mid-Ohio.....

This is by no means a definitive shot list, though it is pretty thorough.  There are plenty of other shots aroubd the track, many from the non-credentialed, "fan" side of the fence.  Pull back, have a look around, enjoy.  It's a very pretty track to shoot.......

Thanks for reading.  

-Chris









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