Sunday, 10 April 2011

My 1st time shooting F1 racing

Date: 8 April 2011
Event: 2011 F1 Petronas Malaysian GP - 1st practice session
Location: Sepang F1 circuit, Malaysia

It has been a while since my last visit watching live F1 racing at the Sepang F1 circuit. This time around, I went there not merely for watching the race, but shooting photos of the racing cars.  As the entry is free for the whole Friday practice sessions, my friend, Ujang and I took this opportunity to test our photography skills on the circuit.  I'm more motivated for this trip as I could try my new toy, the Sony Alpha A580 with my loyal Sony 18-250mm lens.

On that day, we were lucky as it was cloudy and not so hot as normally it was.

Gloomy day awaiting us at the beginning

Though, the entry is free, one has to go through security check.  No water bottles are allowed to be brought in and one has to leave them at the check-in point.

Ujang at the front of the Mall area

Firstly, we went to the main grandstand area facing the paddock and pit stops as Ujang need to get beercan lens from his brother for shooting.  In the meantime, I snaps a couple of pit stop actions and the surrounding areas from the grandstand.  Here some of the pix...
Nico Rosberg of Mercedes had to wait for his car to be checked by his crew after his initial laps

Michael Schumacher being hauled back into his garage

A smoking F1 car

Fernando Alonso leaving his pit stop for his practice laps

Vrrrooooooommmmm.... A Lotus Renault car passing the main straight

After few shots, we head to the North Tower to get actions at the last corner of the track.

The Mall areas towards the North Tower

As we arrived at the North Tower, there are already lots of photographers taking photos of the F1 cars.  I noticed several photographers with interesting costumes over there..

Wandering red bulls...

A kilt-wearing Scottish photographer
As the 1st practice session is only for 1.5 hours, we quickly take out our gear and start shooting.  Initially, it is quite frustrating as I couldn't take shots.  Don't forget this is my 1st attempt taking panning shots of racing cars.  But after a while, I've started to get the hang of it.  You've got to anticipate the next car coming while reading with your camera pointing at the spot the car will arrive.  As it arrive, need to focus lock the car (don't forget to use continuous focusing mode) while moving with the direction of the car. And then shoot.  The followings are some of the shot sthat I feel quite OK for a noobies like me...

A test driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso

Kamui Kobayashi, main driver for Sauber F1 team

Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion

Mark Webber, Red Bull 2nd driver

Paul di Resta, Force India F1 driver

Wheel-locked. Narain Karthikeyan of HRT F1 team

Hoisted... One fo the Virgin Cosworth driver

The session completed with several actions on and off the track. I feel good as managed to capture some shots worth of a first timer.... As we packed and headed to the exit, I managed to get myself shot by Ujang outside one of the marquee selling F1 merchandise.

A shot to be remember that I was there

There are lots of shops selling F1 merchandises of the team competing in the race.  Also, there is a marquee displaying Mercedes F1 car for 2011, the W02. 

Mercedes W02

Overall, I feel satisfy with this outing and enjoyed it very much.  I will definitely consider to do it again next year but have to remember to bring a pair of ear plugs.  Due to the deafening sounds of the F1 engine cars, I couldn't not hear clearly for a few hours after the session. Something that I have to bear in mind for the next trip.