I have lived in California for 4 years, and I live a stone throw away from down town Long Beach and not once did I ever try to shoot the Long Beach Grand Prix. However, I got this feeling, a yearning almost, for a fix. I have been longing to shoot a circuit event. My last event was Dover over 3 years ago… yes for those who know me they know that that was killing me. So, I decided to pick my camera up, dust it off and shoot this event not knowing anything about the event like the driver or even what cars raced there.
I ended up doing the last day of the even, the Sunday. Here I am at 6 am at a hotel in downtown Long Beach, collecting my credentials for the Grand Prix to then head over to the Long Beach Convention Center for a mandatory media meeting. Surrounded by people I consider Professional photographers based on the equipment they have as well as the people they know I was nervous out of my mind. Thinking to myself that they will probably laugh the equipment I had.
Meeting ended, I got my vest and media number and headed out to see the cars warm up. By this time, I got the jist the cars were Grand prix cars and that they were a part of the Verizon Indy Car Series. I walked the entire track about three times, bear in mind the track is only around 2 miles long, trying to find a spot where the photographers did not vulture around.
After the indy cars were done practicing it was time for the Pirelli World Challenge. “WTH is a Pirelli world challenge?” I asked myself. I quickly grabbed my phone and did some research when I nearly lost my mind. The Pirelli Challenge consists of GT3 cars, yes GT3 cars; Ferraris, Lambos, Aston Martins, NSXs and more. They came out for their warm up laps and made me even more nervous and intimidated.
The Grand Prix had begun and I started taking some pics, thought to myself ok not so bad. That’s when I saw one of the photographer’s panning shot and I was like, I am out of my league here. Being the person I am, I started panning too. GARBAGE the first few shots as I was so rusty. But then I saw one picture I had captured and all nervousness left me and I was filled with the confidence I used to have.
Now I cant tell you who won any of the races and I cant even tell you who the drivers were, but I can say the event made me remember why I love doing this; is it the smell of the race gas, the sounds of the engines? No it is the satisfaction of knowing that the people I shoot for,YOU, will enjoy seeing the images and get a feel of what I experienced.
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