Purdue Grand Prix…

Every now and then I am offered an opportunity to go and shoot something to give back to the photographic community, as well as to the University that I received my education at. I say received as though they offered me that education freely, where as though in reality I paid (and am still paying) quite a bit for it. When in contact with a Student organization I used to be involved with, my shooting of the 53rd annual Purdue Grand Prix race came up, to which I couldn’t refuse. I had already planned on going up to Lafayette that weekend to see some very good friends from a galaxy far far away (Utah, Pennsylvania and the like) so I thought, why not. They would be partaking in their own festivities that day so it seemed like a great opportunity.

(Nikon D3, 500ISO, Nikon 70-200mmF2.8VR@190mm, 1/1600th@F2.8)

That was a relatively common scene in the Pitts on Saturday at the Race as it looked pretty gloomy outside. Ok maybe that’s not what she was contemplating, for all I know she could have been contemplating her decision to eat Taco Bell for lunch or the decision to paint her fingernails red on such a doom and gloom stormy day. Little did I know at the time, but this young lady was standing next to the car that would win it all in the end. It just goes to show you that sometimes you are in the right place at the right time. For me, I just happened to notice this young lady, and decided to make the picture. This was a great opportunity for me to shoot and make some very journalistic black and white photos, which isn’t part of my normal routine.

(Nikon D3, 220ISO, Nikon 70-200mmF2.8VR@200mm, 1/1250@F2.8)

No lights, no tripods, no products, no models or wild complex setups involving bedsheets. I was out on the track running and gunning to look for the angle that would give me a shot setting me apart from the rest of the mass of photographers out there. This crash occurred early in the race, at about lap 7 I believe. I was terribly blocked from seeing what was going on in regards to the driver and that’s not to mention the fact that I was far too far away. I guess it just goes to show that sometimes the real photo isn’t what’s right in front of you. I was intrigued by Purdue Pete taking a knee for one of his downed students.

(Nikon D3, 200ISO, Nikon 70-300F4.5-5.6VRII@300mm, 1/250th@F5.6)

It was a lot of fun being out on the track, which to someones lack of better judgment let me dangerously close too. Don’t underestimate the term dangerously close either, I definitely ran across the track during part of the race at an opening so I could get into the middle. I didn’t use the bridge to cross, I was foot to pavement on the actual track. Obviously the people putting on this event weren’t given the proper information allowing me to be on the property, as frogger is my game of choice…

All of the drivers were in search of one thing though, and that was the trophy for the Win. It turns out that Justin Penix was the Pole sitter that day as well, who for a while as I recall was bumped back a few spots. In the end he pulled through though, and good for him. I wanted to do something a little different with the shot of the winner, and that’s where the Overcast crappy day came into play as crappy cloudy days can make much more epic photos of triumphant people whom you want to represent very dramatially.

(Nikon D700, 200ISO, Nikon 18-35mmF3.5-4.5@18mm, 1/400th@F10, Nikon SB-900 set to iTTL +1EV zoomed to 200mm attached to the camera via SC-28 Off camera cable aimed at Justin using my left hand at arms length)

So I couldn’t go the whole day without doing something with my Strobe. I was happy with the shot, so what? I did play with a lot of black and white though, and I encourage you to check out the rest of the shots here. I enjoyed the day, and the rain held out for the race, which was amazing. Everyone was sure we were going to get soaked, including me. Glad we didn’t as I’ve found that water and cameras don’t always get along.

I feel as though the day was a success on many accounts. I saw some very dear friends, I shot some photos that I like from the race (I shot lots lots more that I didn’t like though too), I also ran into a reader of the blog whom I’d never met before. One of the shooters at the track is a reader, and I’d like to say thanks again to everyone that does suffer through my horrible grammatical and spelling travesties for the sake of looking at the pictures. It does mean a lot that you are here, and It was incredibly awesome, and humbling to find out that there are people out there whom I don’t know that read this. So thanks again, and without a doubt; More Soon.