I’ve never shot IndyCar before this shoot for the fine folks at The Player’s Tribune, but what I learned in a couple days of running around the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg reaffirmed everything I thought it would be from covering other racing: it’s extremely loud, painfully hot, but so much fun to shoot. The air smells of exhaust and melting tires and mixed with a hint of turkey legs, cheap beer, and overworking sunscreen. Luckily access to the athletes (and yes, they’re athletes – one running complaint about misconceptions on their sport I heard from all the drivers I met) is amazing, and all of them want to promote the sport and engage with the fans whenever they can. The drivers are extremely passionate about their craft, and I spent more time trailer hopping listening to stories from some of the biggest names in IndyCar then actually shooting straight racing action.
There’s no way over a 1.8 mile course to really be everywhere at once as a lone wolf photographer trying to cover a race that winds through hairpin turns on the streets of beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, so I just approached it the way I do for most shoot: find vibrant, colorful pictures in good light and make pictures I haven’t seen before. Sometimes you’re trying to shoot a car going 200mph through a small hole in a chain link fence and other times you’re climbing parking garages and laying on hot Florida cement to try to make something unusual. I try not to rely on taking photos given to me my the photo gods, I want to get out there and make my own. Along the way I spent some quality time with some of the top drivers of the sport, made some fun photos, and worked on this perfect farmer’s tan I have going down here in Florida.
For more, please visit The Players Tribune site here: http://www.theplayerstribune.com/indycar-photo-gallery/