Motorsports Photography

blandbland Posts: 812Member
edited February 2013 in General Discussions
These are someones pics from the Daytona Nationwide wide race yesterday.

The first pic is where the car hit in front of the photographer.
The second pic shows a circle around the photographer, he was unhurt.
The third shows the aftermath where the photographer was standing. That's the engine to the left and the front wheel assy in the center. ESPN lost a camera as well, as seen here.


camera 2



  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,203Member
    Wow, I heard about this event from a couple blogs- quite a scary crash.

    Was the fence weaker there because that's where the cars enter the track? Part of the reason why there is so much debris is because it helps disperse the energy of the crash. Good news for the driver, not so great for spectators.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    As far as I know, Daytona has no vehicle entrance through the fence. All through the tunnels or helicopter. What we saw was an engineering error in calculating the force on the catch fence cables and a resultant failure.

    When the 400 lb engine hits the fence at 180 mph...450,000 foot pounds of force. Let's see, on a ten foot long torque wrench, about the weight of a motorhome...lots of force. Cables can handle this if it is distributed across several cables, one cable isolated...not so good.

    The problem is to construct a fence one can see through, yet be strong enough to catch what comes at it.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,427Moderator
    I have been going racing ever since I was a kid and for as long as that I have been seeing the words 'motor racing is dangerous etc.' written on the tickets meaning that if you are worried about that, it is best you don't go! Many years ago I saw some pre-war footage of an accident at the old banked Brooklands circuit. A car crashed and the entire rear axle departed and scythed into the unfenced crowd killing 80 or so spectators as they picnicked I recall. We are pretty well protected these days by comparison.

    During the last few years I saw a Superbike fly over the top strand on the straight and land under the grandstand (yee-ikes).
    Always learning.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    Motocross is worse than cars in terms of frequency of incidents. Dirt motorsports in general actually. With any motorsport by entering the track you as a photographer are accepting the risk of being injured no matter where you are. There is NO safe spot on a racetrack. On any track (non oval in particular) tracks there are "safer" spots than others but all the same... That guy was both lucky and probably experienced. If you only catch a problem after it is happened there is a much greater chance of you being killed. I know myself and many pros (MsMoto you probable see this too) have been around motorsports to catch an issue far before the average person notices often buying us an extra 10-15 seconds of reaction time to run. 10-15 seconds is a huge amount of time considering that an uncorrected error turns into an accident in a much shorter timespan. The bigger the motorsport the shorter the timespan. In motocross you almost always have a 15-20 second buffer from when you see the error to when it results in a full crash. In drift racing or karting that is reduced to 8-10 seconds. In rally or supermoto it is 4-8 seconds. Nascar you are lucky if you get 3 seconds of time...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • BabaGanoushBabaGanoush Posts: 252Member
    I'm not a motorsports fan but I just happened to turn on the TV as the last 4 laps of the race began and I watched the blocking maneuver by the leading driver who started the massive pileup. I waited for another 30 minutes for a replay to see whether it confirmed what I saw, but that final rush of cars on the straightaway toward the finish line was never rebroadcast. NASCAR still seems to be trying to keep people from seeing it. I wonder why. In any case, the race was rebroadcast last night and I recorded the finish, which on replay confirms what I thought I saw.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ kyoshinikon
    Yes, shooting motorsports is highly unpredictable as to the rather bizarre events one can observe, hopefully not be a part of. Although I have almost zero motocross experience, the two or three times I was shooting, I could early see how if one made an error in the corner/jump before the one I was shooting, it was time for me to step back. I think the remote camera is good, but then one loses a camera more often, not a great event especially if one is not being paid.

    And, in the NASCAR events, one can anticipate potential problems, but once they begin, your button better be pressed down and the camera pointed at the cars which are "loose" as this is usually where the action is. And, sometimes, well, most of the time, only a couple of photographers will catch the great shot.
    Incidentally, NASCAR loves the big wreck. Research shows this is an event in the race which draws the fans in. On TV in the USA, I have seen the big wrecks about three or four times.

    Motorcycle road warning, All of a sudden, a rider gets loose, grabs it and high sides...then tumbles for a second or two...unless you are on spot watching the bike which is going up, almost impossible to catch.
    The danger, unlikely for most, can be lethal as in the example of the fast Mercedes, Porsches several years ago which began to fly when at over 200mph a bump caused air under the front and cars simply took off, going places no one could have predicted.
    Msmoto, mod
  • blandbland Posts: 812Member

    Motorcycle road warning, All of a sudden, a rider gets loose, grabs it and high sides...then tumbles for a second or two...unless you are on spot watching the bike which is going up, almost impossible to catch.
    No kidding, this happened right in front of me. I even heard the tire start to screech and this was the only shot I got. He was ok, got up and walked away.


  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Nice shot, Bland....happens quickly, doesn't it...LOL
    Msmoto, mod
Sign In or Register to comment.