21/06/09Working as a press photographer brings with it many perks, and gives you access to various people and a wide variety of events. I've worked quite a few big ones, but there's still nothing like the buzz and atmosphere of a major sporting event. The Silverstone weekend in June was no exception.
Silverstone is at the heart of the Buckingham Advertiser's patch, and many months ago I was quite quick to 'shotgun' the event... the diary worked out well as I was already down to work, so I headed out early on the Friday morning (the day of practice) to work through the traffic and get to grips with something I'd never snapped before.
Having finally found the media accreditation centre, obtained my tickets, and managed to park, I found myself at the side of the track, taking in the atmosphere and looking forward to the day ahead. Carrying all my kit (camera, lenses, 300, laptop, monopod and a packed lunch!) I wandered around the different stands and really struggled to find a spot high enough to be able to shoot over the tall fencing. Practice was about to begin and the noise of engines was starting to ring through my ears...
I continued to wander and came upon a small gap in the fence that I thought I would be ok to shoot through - I was quickly told that I was wrong by a very nice steward, who advised me to head to the Photographer's raised section - I headed up the stairs and I was now, alone, shooting down the home straight at Silverstone. After quite a stressful morning, it was all worthwhile as I took frame after frame of Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel... Having looked at Formula One pictures I had a few ideas of what I wanted and I decided to try for different types of motion blur - blurring the car, blurring the background, keeping the car sharp and blurring the wheels etc - it was difficult as the cars move so fast, so I was literally taking hundreds of pictures!
I enjoyed the rest of the day shooting the cars, wiring some images back to the offices, getting some general shots of the day, meeting more stewards who thought I was very important because of my special bib, and genuinely taking it all in. I then made my way for the exit... On departing through the turnstiles it was necessary to show the stewards my tickets, who responded with 'See you tomorrow.' I was slightly confused and simply thought he was being polite - I then looked at my tickets and it turned out I had tickets for the whole weekend! I returned on the Sunday and again was given great access into various stands including Club Corner, Copse and Luffield. I wandered freely, taking what turned out to be thousands of pictures and surprisingly I found myself alone, again, in the raised photographer's section, snapping Sebastian Vettel win his first British Grand Prix
Comments from the editor: '...The pictures are brilliant, exactly what we needed...'
See The Sport Gallery for an image of Lewis Hamilton from Silverstone