Something different - and not a bird in sight...

Posted on 5 October 2012, 20:44

My photography pal Mark Mowbray got in touch last week to tell me that he’d won tickets for that weekend’s event at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire, and would I like to come along?

We’d been talking for a long time about giving motor sport photography a go (especially given how the bird photography opportunities in my part of the world get more and more crappy), so obviously I said yes: Croft is only an hour and a bit down the road, and the forecast – well, it didn’t look too bad, not least because the predicted rain promised “interesting” racing incidents..!

So we rocked up to Croft at 9am on the dot on Sunday 30 September. That’s when I asked Mark when things started.

I don’t know – the tickets don’t say, and there was nothing on the website.

But a very friendly – perhaps even amused? – security guard was happy to tell us.

12 noon“.

Aaaah, bugger…

We somehow managed to kill three hours. There’s precisely sod all to do in that part of rural North Yorkshire in the wind and the rain (at one point we traipsed over to Teeside International Airport to see if we could rattle a few frames off at planes, but we got there just after 10 am, just missing one arrival, and the next wasn’t until 2 pm), but somehow we managed.

Neither of us had any previous experience of Croft or of shooting cars, but you only learn by doing. I particularly wanted to see whether I’d be any good at panning to give the images (and their subjects) a sense of motion, while keeping the car sharp. I’d gained the impression that it was something of a Dark Art, only mastered after much practice and experience.

Well, as it turned out I was “overlensed” for much of what I was trying to do, even with the Siggy 120-300mm f/2.8 OS at the short end; and being ordinary punters, we couldn’t get access to what looked like some of the best spots (although to be fair, much of the circuit remained unseen by us during our visit), but – y’know? – I don’t think I did too badly at all, for a complete beginner – plenty of blurred wheels and backgrounds, which is what we want….


Caterham, Croft


Formula Ford, Croft


MG Metro 6R4, Croft


Citroen, Croft


Astra, Croft


Astra, Croft


Astra, Croft


Beetle, Croft


Kit car, Croft


Kit car, Croft


Kit car, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legend, Croft


Legends overtaking, Croft


Legends overtaking, Croft


Legends overtaking, Croft


Mini, Croft


Mini, Croft: You’d think he’d be too busy to take time out to glower at the photographer!


Morgan, Croft


Peugeot 205 GTi, Croft

It was a fun day, even after more than five hours of standing around in the rain.

I’m particularly pleased by the Legend shots, although I acknowledge unreservedly that there’s a lot of sameness to many of the pictures (and to the 460+ other keepers from the day – 32gb of shots taken in five hours!), but that’s to be expected, given no knowledge of the track or of this kind of photography – we picked a spot or two and stuck to them.

120mm was definitely too much lens for anything but the tiny Legends (and maybe the karts that also made up part of the day’s programme) from the spot I was shooting them – most of the cars on the track that day (which included touring cars – like the Astra at the top of the page – and Formula Fords) wouldn’t nearly have fit in the frame from that spot – the Legends are full frame, and even then, I’ve chopped some of ‘em.

But all in all I’m calling it mission accomplished, and Mark and I are determined to be there when (if) the British Superbikes visit in 2013; and I’d be there this weekend (6/7 October) if I could, for the Rallycross, which would be fantastic to point the camera at.



Images, content and design © 2018 Keith Reeder. Built with Textpattern