Instant Approval Payday Loans Instant Approval Payday Loans

Essentials

Meta

Pages

Categories

I am not a Dangercam Damn It!

durka-parker10

After a short break from off road racing the 2010 season opened with the BITD Parker 425 on February 4 in Parker, AZ.  Technically the season starts with Laughlin but dwindling entries and a weak course means I don’t really count it.   I often have close calls with race cars, in fact if I don’t have at least one I am kind of disappointed since that means I was not trying hard enough to get cool shots.  During qualifying for Parker I had not one but the two closest calls of my career and had to bail out fast or be a wet spot on a race car bumper.  It was awesome!

The race week started with Time Trials (Qualifying) held Thursday morning on the traditional time trial course used in Parker.  I started out in a section with 2 large jumps that are great for action but also known by, and used by 90% of the other media goons at the race.  It always sucks to get the same shot as the other guy, and normally I would bail to a more remote area but the qualifying course is short and this spot is that good so I stayed.

I started on a corner while the drivers were on their recon lap.  I worked inside and outside the corner, when outside I shot with longer glass to give myself a bit more time to bail if needed  When shooting racecars its always important to have an exit strategy before you setup to shoot.   I also setup a remote on the inside of the corner.

The handheld shot

Andy McMillin carves a corner.

Andy McMillin carves a corner.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/500th.

And the remote at the same time

durka-parker10

Nikon D300, 10.5mmFE, ISO500, f8, 1/4000th.

This remote shot missed the car but captured a cool shot of the roost left behind.

Steve Raskett roosts the remote camera.

Steve Raskett roosts the remote camera.

Nikon D300, 10.5mmFe, ISO500, f7.1, 1/4000th.

The remote ate quite a bit of dirt throughout the day.

Crunchy Camera

Crunchy Camera

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f3.2, 1/640th.

I was a hundred yards or so away from the first jump but that also gave me a nice wide shot with the mountains in the background.

Steve Olliges gets some airtime.

Steve Olliges gets some airtime.

Nikon D700, ISO200, 70-200mm, 1.4TC, f7.1, 1/640th.

durka-parker10-2910

Loren Brown jumps.

Nikon D700, 200-400mm, ISO200, f10, 1/640th.

During the trials I moved around looking for interesting angles and such.  Off the big first jump the drivers often landed in a hole which produced some great action as the cars bounced airborne after landing.

durka-parker10-3496

Adam Householder eats some dirt.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f8, 1/640th.

Johnny Herder bounces out of the hole.

Johnny Herder bounces out of the hole.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/640th.

Towards the end of the first lap driver Ron Brant came over the jump but way off the side of it causing Jason “HiRev” Zindroski and Kat Wilson to bail out.  On the left side of the frame you can see the course marker on the jump.  The race course is to the left of the marker so you can clearly see the driver is off course.

What an asshat looks like.

WTF are you thinking?

Nikon D700, 200-400mm, ISO200, f10, 1/640th.

I later moved up to the lip to get some 3/4 shots.

I always seem to get cool air shots of Sam Berri.

I always seem to get cool air shots of Sam Berri.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f9, 1/640th.

During the timed lap I was still near the lip but the landing hole was creating some great action so I pulled back to shoot it head on.  I was sure that before the day was over we would see a massive yardsale.

Troy Herbst bucks after landing in the hole.

Troy Herbst bucks after landing in the hole.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f10, 1/500th.

The yardsale never came but there were some close calls.

Here Tim McDonnell goes wide on landing and takes out a bush full of dirt.

Revenge of the bush!

Revenge of the bush!

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/640th.

durka-parker10-3881

While on his hot lap Ron Brant came over the jump even more off course by going completely around the jump.  The jump and course is about 10 feet to driver’s right.  After his first lap he had to know the area was full of media so all I can figure out is that he is an ass and wanted to run us down.

I starting not to like this guy.

I'm starting not to like this guy.

Nion D700, 70-200mm, 1.4TC, ISO250, f7.1, 1/800th.

This is the last frame I shot of him as I was running for cover.  In the video you can see I only clear the car by a few inches.  This is the closest I have ever come to being a wet spot on a bumper.

RUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!!!!

RUUUUUUUUUUUN!!!!!!

If the embedding does not work you can watch it here.  Thanks to John Tuba for the video, see more of his work here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0crc6r_q–4

Moments like the one above are why I was not very alarmed being shot at.

At the time I was a lot more pissed than shaken up, but I went back to shooting and stood in the same spot.  The second to last qualifier was Pete Sohren in the #2 Trick Truck.  Pete went big off the jump trying to clear the landing hole but it did not quite work out.  He landed in the hole which made his rear end buck.  Pete ended up making a great save but it was a tense few moments.  Talking to Pete later he said all he could see was dirt and he thought that he was going over taking a few goons with him.

These are my final three shots before bailing out.  Only the first is in focus.

Pistol Pete has a squib.

Pistol Pete has a squib.

Nion D700, 70-200mm, 1.4TC, ISO250, f7.1, 1/800th.

durka-parker10-4100

durka-parker10-4101

And here is the full sequence of the jump.

durka-vs-pistola

And lastly a video of the incident by “Dirty” Doug Hayduk.  I am on the far left and the last to run.  I cleared the truck by about 2 feet.  In reality it was not all the bad but at the time, looking through the viewfinder it looked like it would get ugly.

Watch the video here

After Time Trials all the drivers had to park their  racecars downtown for the Parker Experience.  I wandered around and found a few interesting shots.

Here a tired crew member is passed out in the car with another teams logoed panties on his head.

Go ahead and smell em son.

Go ahead and smell em son.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/250th, SB900.

Racing legend Larry Roeseler was hanging out which gave me an opportunity for a nice clean headshot.

He has so many wins in Baja we all lost count.

He has so many wins in Baja we all lost count.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f10, 1/250th, SB900.

The Canidae team had a new Losi RC car on display in front of their Trick Truck.

The big truck sounds a lot cooler.

The big truck sounds a lot cooler.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f20, 1/250th, SB900.

Fast forward to Saturday, raceday!  On Friday I did some prerunning to scout spots for the race and I was pleased with what I found.  I was going to start at the bottom on a big sandy hill where the racers would stuff the front end and throw lots of dirt.  I shot the same spot for the first lap in 2009 but I was not real happy with the results (see Parker 2009 here).  For 2010 I stole an idea from my friend Dirk Nasland for lighting.  I got a cheap $20 tripod from Walmart and attached two SB900 flashes and two pocketwizards to an Arrow Plate from Mark’s Photo Tools.  On the legs of the tripod I strapped 2 Nikon SD9 flash battery packs so I could get faster recycle times.  By using two flashes instead of one I could set them to half the power I want which keeps the heat down and speeds the recycle time.

The falshes fire just before dawn.

The falshes fire just before dawn.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO1000, f5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s off camera.

The setup.

The setup.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO2000, f2.8, 1/250th.

The first cars came before the sun was fully up.  There was some ambient light but the flashes would allow me to stop down and get a nice look to the shots.

Pole Sitter Sam Berri is the first car through.

Pole Sitter Sam Berri is the first car through.

Nikon D700, 14-24mm, ISO2000, f4.5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s

As the sun came up I used them to get some fill light on the cars.

Troy Vest pops the nose up.

Troy Vest pops the nose up.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO320, f4, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

My initial plan ended up working out perfectly as many racers stuffed the nose and kicked up a ton of dirt.

Ron Whitton uses a shovel.

Ron Whitton uses his truck as a shovel.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO1000, f5.6, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

The image below is a mistake of sorts.  Throughout the morning I was adjusting ISO and White Balance to match the conditions.  Somehow I hit the quality button and changed it from Large Fine to Small Fine.  You should be able to see that the quality of the this shot is below the others.  I really wish Nikon would just eliminate that quality button on the camera body.  I would much prefer to have to go through the menus to change to size and avoid mistakes like this.  I ended up catching it but I shot 20 or so racers in the Small size.

Jason Voss, master ditch digger.

Jason Voss, master ditch digger.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO320, f3.5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

Kevin Martin flings dirt while yelling WEEEEEEEEE!

Kevin Martin flings dirt while yelling WEEEEEEEEE!

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f4.5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

A few drivers like Andy McMillin somehow drove through the section nose and avoided the holes.

Keep your head up!

Keep your head up!

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO320, f3.5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

A few others missed the stuff as well but made some great action shots.

Gary Dixon throughs roost as he powers through the corner.

Gary Dixon throughs roost as he powers through the corner.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO320, f3.5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

I hate the numbers on Trophylites.  The rear numbers are tucked behind the cab and most don’t run them on the front, or only on one side.  It makes figuring out who the driver is a pain in the ass and they are often left out if it takes more than a few seconds to find a number.  It is also a big pain for checkpoint workers who are tracking your laps and making sure you don’t get penalized.  Do yourself, me and them a favor.  Put numbers on the front, back, top, bottom and both sides of your racecar.  It can only help you.

Ryan Finchum skies it.

Ryan Finchum skies it.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

A lot of the limited class drivers just blew through the turn and went around the bumps.  Since it is within 50 feet of the marked course it’s legal but it was not any faster and for some it was a lot slower than taking the intended course.  As an additional penalty these drivers missed out on getting rad shots of their cars and instead got a boring flat shot.

Blake Henn misses a great photo op.

Blake Henn misses a great photo op.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f5.6, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

My favorite shot from this section was when Scott Kincaid came though kicking up a monster chunk of dirt.

Kincaid did not replace his divot.

Kincaid did not replace his divot.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISo1000, f5, 1/250th, 2 SB900s.

After all the racers came through I moved on to a new spot nearby in the wash.  While glancing around I noticed I could climb a hill and shoot from a cliff to get a cool down angle on the cars.  There are not many opportunities to shoot directly down in off road racing so I promptly climbed the hill with all my crap.

Johnny Herder hits the doubles.

Johnny Herder hits the doubles.

Nikon D700, 70-200, ISO400, f9, 1/500th.

Steve Raskett races through the wash.

Steve Raskett races through the wash.

Nikon D700, 70-200, ISO400, f8, 1/400th.

I really wanted a shot of the helo and car below me but they did not line up.

I really wanted a shot of the helo and Raskett's car below me but they did not line up.

Nikon D700, 70-200, ISO400, f8, 1/400th.

While shooting from the cliff I noticed some Ultralights flying around.  I kept an eye them and their position so I could try to bring them into a shot with a racer.

Spectators flew over the course.

Spectators flew over the course.

Nikon D700, 70-200, ISO400, f8, 1/400th.

A short time later I got the shot I wanted.

Scott Whipple crosses Shea Rd.

Scott Whipple crosses Shea Rd.

Nikon D700, 70-200, ISO400, f7.1, 1/400th.

As the rain started I went down into the wash again to shoot head on and it started to rain pretty hard.  For once I was fully prepared for the rain.  I had Think Tank rain gear for my cameras, a good jacket and a gay looking but great rain hat from Outdoor Research.  While the rain poured me and my gear were comfy and dry.  I was pretty pissed when the rain let up ten minutes later.  Of course that’s how it goes, the next time I don’t have all my gear it will pour for hours.

This  section of the course featured a double dip type section.  Like the hole on the Time Trial course it would relaunch some of the cars back airborne.  Most were aware of it and slowed down, especially the limited classes.  I have to thank Jeepspeed driver Clint Malburg for forgetting the double dips.  He came around the corner pinned and never lifted.  He hit the first jump and went huge, then he landed and launched again.  This time listing heavily to starboard, landing on the right front wheel.  If you look closely you can see the solid front axle shift as all the weight is on that wheel.  Landing on the one wheel also put so much force on it that the wheel exploded with a cloud of metal dust and shrapnel.  I have to give the driver credit however.  I was 100% sure he was going to go wheels up but somehow he managed to save.  In the process he gave me some great photos.

The Launch.

Fly me to the mooooon.

Fly me to the mooooon...

Nikon D700, 200-400mm, ISO800, f8, 1/640th.

The Bounce

Let me sing among the staaaars...

Let me sing among the staaaars...

And the Landing.

Oh Shit!

Oh Shit!

I had my camera set for 8 frames a second as I usually do.  Sometimes this causes me to shoot too many photos which is a minor pain later when editing.  However when you get a spectacular chunk of action like this, it’s fantastic and it allows me to get everything.  Below is the full sequence of the incident.

Oh Snap!

Oh Snap!

And yes, I did keep the wheel as a souvenir.  I plan to hang it on the wall with a large print of one of the shots

After the rain let up I bailed to find a new place to shoot.  While driving out on Shea Road I stopped to get a shot of a racer with the speed limit sign on the street.

Buford T. Justice is in hot pursuit!

Buford T. Justice is in hot pursuit!

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f4.5, 1/1250th.

At my final spot I started shooting some artsy stuff.

Tom Bjorstom

Tom Bjorstom

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f7.1, 1/250th.

Randy Merritt

Randy Merritt

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f6.3, 1/250th.

Dean Wheeler

Dean Wheeler

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f4.5, 1/320th.

I was starting to get bored as the cars were spaced out so there was a lot of downtime.  I wrote out DURKA in the soft dirt and waited for a racer to pass.

DURKA!

A dirty DURKA!

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISP200, f6.3, 1/250th.

I finished up with a few headshots at the finish line.

Troy Herbst

Troy Herbst

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f8, 1/250th, SB900.

Roger Norman (L) and Eric Brannstrom (R)

Roger Norman (L) and Eric Brannstrom (R)

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO200, f9, 1/250th, SB900.

I went back to the hotel to edit and transmit my day’s take.  After pulling and toning all the shots I liked, I tried to get on the interwebs.   Oops!  The hotel’s network crashed so I pulled out my aircard.  It’s slow but generally pretty reliable but that network was down too.  In a panic I called Bud at Ion Earth.  He immediately drove over with their support truck which features a satellite dish.    I have to give huge thanks again to the guys at Ion Earth.  Once again they sponsored me with a tracking system for the race so I could keep track of the front runners and my clients.  But Bud went above and beyond letting me mooch the Satellite internet and he really saved my ass by letting me get my deadline photos out.  So thank you once again Bud and Ion Earth.  You guys rock!

Ion-Earth-color-with-tag

My setup in the truck with Ion Earth tracker.

My setup in the truck with Ion Earth tracker.

Late Sunday night after the Superbowl, ESPN posted The Life.  This is a section of the website featuring the best photos of the week.  I have been lucky enough to get an off road photo on there a few times but I never expected to get one featured during Superbowl Week.  Unfortunately I mangled the caption when I sent the photo (it was a long day).  If not for Ion Earth I would not have been able to get this shot to my editors where it was picked up by ESPN.

espn-parker425-2010

See more photos from the 2010 Parker 425 here

Keep an eye out in a future issue of Dirt Sports for some of these shots.  Thanks for reading.  Up next, a back to back Mexico double header.  WRC Rally Mexico and the San Felipe 250.

Share

Write a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>