This race was not the best race that I have ever seen at LOWES Motor Speedway, but it did have its moments. After being dominated by Jimmie Johnson and the #48 LOWES Team, it is really hard to pick those moments out and remember them. The above image is about as good as it gets for a celebration. One thing is for sure about the LOWES Car winning at LOWES Motor Speedway, it is a Dream Come True for capturing an image that really makes the LOWES Corporation happy. I know all too well about that, I shot for LOWES for years. This image that is above always made them smile. To bad Jimmie has forgotten how to really celebrate when he gets out of the car……………
Maybe that he has won too much, or maybe the arrogance of being a Hendrick Driver has just ate him up, but he just never seems to realyl look at the cameras anymore when he gets out of the car. And of course, this makes for such a “Great Picture” that is usable around the world……I just can’t wait for him to win again. The pathetic shot below was taken with my D300. It was shot at ISO 400 at shutter speed 250, and at f3.2 with a flash. Not a great shot, but considering that I really do not control what he does, I don’t feel too bad about it. Hey, at least we got a side view, he usually turns his ass to us.
To say the race was boring is an understatement. Jimmie pretty much ran away with it. There were some moments when someone else took the lead, but for the most part it was the Jimmie show. Restarts were about the best for race action, and even then, the field became very strung out very quickly. NASCAR really has to do something about the racing at LOWES. It is such a beautiful facility, but the racing can become very strung out very fast. I went and shot from the outside. I have learned at LOWES Motor Speedway, the most dramatic shoots come from the outside. There was really not much to shoot once the field became strung out, but here is some of what I came up with. These images were shot at ISO 2500, at a shutter speed of 1000, at f2.8. I used my 70mm~200mm lens so as ro try and catch packs of cars. Here are some examples:
I really like the “LOWES” on the wall behind the LOWES Car. I am big into that type of stuff. Branding is everything to the commercial client.
I just really liked the wat the cars “stacked up” in the above frame.
If teams are going to do a special paint scheme, they at least should at least do one that shows up at night! These dark colored paint schemes kill me! The next shot is of the #24 car, but as you can see, it really blends in to the track. The person who thinks these things up should really be fired and consider another line of work.
In this next image, Juan Pablo Montoya was really fighting to get passes traffic with his damaged race car. I just wanted to catch him (with the focus on him) fighting his way back. It ain’t perfect, but this is what I got.
Since it seemed to be all about Jimmie Johnson, I figured that I better go and get a pit stop of him and the Team. The really thing about LOWES Motor Speedway is that you can shoot a pit stop from dead nuts in front of the car. This was really nice when the race was run during the day. The way all of the colors of all the cars would just “stack up” behind the front car was really amazing………but this is what we have now, so this is what we work with. I shot both of these images at ISO 2000, shutter speed 500, and f2.8.
As long as we are on the subject of pit stops, I included these images of pit crews in action. I love to shoot things like this, but they really do not seem to get much “air play” in the editorial world. I don’t care, I will continue to shoot it and post it, someone will use it somewhere.
There were some pretty sinificant wrecks during this race, but unfortunately I was where they were not. I did get this image of Greg Biffle spinning. I thought that it was good for editorial usage, but nothing that was going to win an award. My main concern is reporting the news, so it is what it is.
In these next series of images, I was shooting cars in practice, but I was trying to paly with them. I played with the motion blur, as well as where the cars were positioned in the frame. I wanted to leave room for text in each shot. I love when an Art Director has enough creativity to place text in the image. I also wanted to play with the colors. I wanted the colors to lend a dramatic effect to each shot. That is why I tried to get backgrounds where there was a great mix of colors. I also wanted to target the “LOWES” on the wall. It is a way of letting the viewer know where the image was shot.
These next 2 images were just stuff that I shot with the intention of shooting a nice image that may be used for stock down the road.
At this point in the Season and the Chase, Mark Martin was in second place only 12 points behind Jimmie Johnson. I thought that it would be good to get as many portraits of him as possible. I really wanted him to win the Championship this year, but I do not think that it is going to happen. I thought that he would at least hang with Jimmie as far as the points hunt, but he seemed to fall off during the race. Anyway, I thought that it would be very “news worthy” to get as much of him a spossible. Here are some that I shot. As always, these are shot with the natural light at the time. No flash here, I just hate the flash.
In these next portraits, I just wanted to post something that was really cool. Whether it was the light, the eyes, or what, I just liked these next images. I really like the on of Kasey Kahne interviewing. I really like the way his red uniform seems to grab the attention from all of the darkness around it. I also like the shot of Bobby Labonte looking at me through the window net. This is a real hard shot to catch………I got lucky.
This next shot just seems to capture the spirit of Bobby’s career right now……….not much going on, and real boring. God I wish he could start winning again. He is a super nice guy, he deserves better that where he is today.
This next shot of Gordon I just liked. Nothing really all that special about it……but I just liked it. I shot this with my 70mm~200mm lens. I shot it at a shutter speed of 40 at f4. I was at ISO 800.
In these last 2 images, I was trolling the Garage area tring to get something new other than guys just working on Race Cars. Even though these ARE guys just working on race cars, I tried to pull off something dramatic. In the case of the FEDEX Car, I used my Fisheye lens. In the case of the 99 car, I tried and played with the light. I really like the shot of the 99 car, I just thought that it really looked the way that garage area looks at night. I think that I did OK with that one.
Well, that is it from Charlotte. Look for my Blog from Martinsville to be put up soon. After that, it is Miami, and the season will be done.
Thanks for reading!