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Fisheye Friday at the Prescott Rally

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Taco Tuesday…Wet T Shirt Wednesday…Drunk Annoying Pack of Sloppy Woo Girls Thursday… and now Fisheye Friday.

I have always loved rally racing, and the top levels of the sport play host to what I believe are the best drivers in the world.  It had been a little over a year since I shot my last rally, WRC in Finland.  I have wanted to shoot the Prescott Rally for several years and something always comes up that prevents it.  This year I had an opening in the schedule and jumped at the chance to do it.  I was familiar with the area as I had been on some of the stages in the past with off roady friends and I knew there was some fantastic scenery so I was looking forward to the weekend.

The rally would open at Tim’s Subaru in Prescott on Friday October 2nd with scrutineering, also known as tech to most of us.  I drove up to Prescott that morning and stopped at Tim’s to pick up my credentials and grab a few shots of the cars in tech.

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Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f7.1, 1/500th.

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Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f2.81, 1/250th.

While I was familiar with the area they would be racing I wanted a chance to scout the stages so I took off for Jerome and jumped on the first two stages, First View North and Witty Tom North.

Map of the area

First View map

Witty Tom map

Perkinsville map

GPS

You can download the GPS track for Lowrance I made of the race above.  Stage 1 is First View, Stage 2 is Witty Tom both run North.  Stage 3 is half of Perkinsview run East.  The Transit trail just shows some ways to get around the course.  The icons are what I use as references when scouting but you might find them useful.

Mountains                                something scenic

Blue X                                      drifty corner

Car                                          parking off course

Skull and Crossbones               possible yardsale

American Flag                          stage start

Stop Sign                                 stage end

Airplane                                   jump

While between Stage 1 and 2 I ran across a bridge over a stream that was gorgeous. At the time I was not paying attention and did not realize it was not part of a stage.  I immediately started thinking of hanging a remote on the bridge and came up with a plan to shoot it.  Not long after I realized my error  I threw the plan out the window, it looked cool though.

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Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f11, 1/250th.

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Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f11, 1/250th.

With prerunning done I drove back towards the start of the first stage rechecking each spot I marked.  There were some decent ones but an area known to the racers as The Cut was head and shoulders above the rest.  Just off the start of Stage 1 the narrow road makes a sharp left through a large rock formation.  A few other photogs were set up on the North side but the light would be better from the South.  I hiked up the South side, or attempted to.  It was overgrown with sharp pointy vegetation and I returned to the truck after failing to get to the spot I wanted and with my legs bleeding from many fresh gashes.

Shooting here I could gets shots with many different looks and bring the background into the shot.  I initially thought of laying down at the exit of the corner but soon realized it would be too sketchy, even for me.

The Cut

The Cut

Nikon D700, 16mmFe, ISO200, f4.5, 1/2000th.

I though about remoting it but could not find my bean bag mount thing (Kirk Omni Pod).  Instead I climbed up into a crevice in the rock for the first few cars.

Kevin Welker in The Cut on Stage 1.

Kevin Welker in The Cut on Stage 1.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO640, f9, 1/320th, SB900.

I then went up the rocks to shoot a higher angle.

Aurimas Bakchis in The Cut on Stage 1.

Aurimas Bakchis in The Cut on Stage 1.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO640, f5.6, 1/500th, SB900

I was not very excited about that shot so I went up to the top and grabbed my fisheye.  I went super wide so I could get the course entering and leaving The Cut into the shot with some dust trails as well.

Looking down from here was sketchy.

Looking down over the edge from here was sketchy.

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f4.5, 1/400th.

Tim Moser in The Cut on Stage 1.

Tim Moser in The Cut on Stage 1.

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f5.6, 1/400th.

From the top of the hill I could also shoot the cars coming to the cut with neat dust trails.

Tim Moser during Stage 1.

Tim Moser during Stage 1.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO640, f8, 1/320th.

I was digging that shot and stayed for awhile. I then moved down to the other side of the hill to get some away shots.  I typically hate it when other photogs are in a shot and immediately trash them but I liked this one and felt it added to the shot.

John Black enters The Cut on Stage 1.

John Black enters The Cut on Stage 1.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO640, f3.2, 1/500th.

Then it was back to the West side for more fisheye action.

Jeff Hendricks in The Cut on Stage 1.

Jeff Hendricks in The Cut on Stage 1.

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, f6.3, 1/400th, SB900.

Erik Christiansen in The Cut on Stage 1.

Erik Christiansen in The Cut on Stage 1.

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, f4.5, 1/800th, SB900.

The light was now getting real low so I grabbed an SB900 flash and a couple pocket wizards to play with remote flash.  I stuck it up near the crevice I shot from at the start.

Remote SB900 on Pocketwizard.

Remote SB900 on Pocketwizard.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO400, f5.6, 1/250th.

Tim Hillsamer in The Cut on Stage 1.

Tim Hillsamer in The Cut on Stage 1.

Nikon D300, 15-55mm, ISO400, f5, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

As the stage finished there was one of the most incredibly colorful sunsets I have ever seen, the photos really don’t do it justice.  First I used a shot up roadsign in the foreground and then shot just the skies.

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Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO400, f5, 1/250th.

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Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO400, f6.3, 1/250th.

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Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO640, f5.6, 1/400th.

I then moved to Stage 3, Witty Tom South.  Being an idiot and not doing a lot of planning before the race I did not bring all my big lights that I would normally have at a night race.  So I decided to shoot some long exposure with light trails as the cars went though a nice bendy section at the end of the stage.  There were also some great cloudy skies and a full or near full moon to add more artsy crap to the shot.

Stage 3 prior to the start.

Stage 3 prior to the start.

Nikon D700, 16mmFE, ISO200, f2.8, 20 seconds.

There was a light wind as well which was pushing the clouds across the sky giving a nice motion blur.  The red tint on the left side of the frame was from the taillights of my truck.  I liked the look and extra color it gave when doing some test shots so I left them on for the race.  I used a fisheye lens again to shoot really wide and get the clouds, sky, cars and canyon foreground.  Since I would be shooting a very long exposure I set the camera on a tripod and used a remote cable to minimize camera shake.

D700 with remote release cable.

D700 with remote release cable.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO400, f2.8, 1/25th, SB900.

Racers at the end of Stage 3.

A racer finishes of Stage 3.

Nikon D700, 16mmFe, ISO200, f3.2, 25 seconds.

Adjusting the White Balance also gave the shot very different looks.

Shot with Auto WB

Shot with Auto WB.

Nikon D700, 16mmFe, ISO200, f3.2, 25 seconds.

Shot at 4000k WB

Shooting at 4000k WB gave it a warmer look.

Nikon D700, 16mmFe, ISO200, f3.2, 25 seconds.

Done for the day I packed up to watch F1 qualifying live.

For day 2 of the rally I went out to the course early.  Stage 5 would combine Perkinsville with Firstview (stage 1 from the first day) to make the longest stage of the rally.  The start was in Chino Valley and the finish in Jerome. I had an idea of where I wanted to shoot but left myself time to prerun the stage in case I found something better, I didn’t.  I setup at a sweeping hairpin with a nice view of the valley in the background.  The sky was full of nice puffy clouds again and I wanted to take advantage of that as well.

I started on the inside of the turn and shot wide.  As the cars approached they would become more prominent in the shot and giving me a different look than when they started the corner.  On the inside I was using a flash to get a little fill on the car to kill the shadow.

Daniel O'Brien during Stage 5.

Daniel O'Brien during Stage 5.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f8, 1/500th, SB900 off camera.

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Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f8, 1/500th, SB900 off camera.

I then moved to the outside of the corner for a different look.

Jen Imai during Stage 5.

Jen Imai during Stage 5.

Nikon D700, 400mm, f4.5, 1/800th, ND Filter.

As they cars passed I did a New York Reload and grabbed a camera with a wide lens to get the clouds again.

Jon Rea during Stage 5.

Jon Rea during Stage 5.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f9, 1/400th.

I finished with some away shots.

Erik Christiansen during Stage 5.

Erik Christiansen during Stage 5.

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f4, 1/1000th, ND Filter.

Andrew Sutherland during Stage 5.

Andrew Sutherland during Stage 5.

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISo200, f5.6, 1/500th, ND Filter.

After the cars passed I grabbed the long glass and shot them down the hill.

Trent Beaver during Stage 5.

Trent Beaver during Stage 5.

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/1250th, ND Filter.

Stage 6 would be the same but run backwards.  I moved down the hill to tighter hairpin corner.  Again I moved around for different looks.

Tim Moser during Stage 6.

Tim Moser during Stage 6.

Nikon D700, 400mm, ISO200, f4.5, 1/640th, ND Filter.

Tim Moser during Stage 6.

Tim Moser during Stage 6.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f10, 1/320th.

Jon Rea during Stage 6.

Jon Rea during Stage 6.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/320th, ND Filter.

Roger Hull during Stage 6.

Roger Hull during Stage 6.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/320th, ND Filter.

After the cars passed a rally moto rider came in hot and nearly high sided off his bike.  While it would have looked great on camera,  I hate to see people get hurt and was glad he saved it.

Tim Hillsamer narrowly avoids high siding.

Tim Hillsamer narrowly avoids high siding.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f3.2, 1/320th, ND Filter.

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Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f3.2, 1/320th, ND Filter.

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Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f3.2, 1/320th, ND Filter.

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Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f3.2, 1/320th, ND Filter.

For my final shoot spot I went back to Witty Tom South for Stage 7.  While prerunning the previous day I noticed a bridge that crossed a really cool dry riverbed with lots of bigass rocks.

The rocks

The rocks

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f9, 1/500th.

The bridge, rocks and puffy clouds would combine for a nice scenic shot.

Kevin Welker races by as I shoot him.  Photo by Jen Bergman.

Kevin Welker races by as I shoot him. Photo by Jen Bergman.

Olympus SW1030 – Sports mode.

I shot the corner first with long glass.  The rocks I was on gave me a very low angle without thrashing my knees, which is good.

Shawn Hudspeth during Stage 7.

Shawn Hudspeth during Stage 7.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/640th, ND Filter.

Then the bridge with wider glass.

Daniel O'Brien races across the bridge during Stage 7.

Daniel O'Brien races across the bridge during Stage 7.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f8, 1/800th.

A few drivers came into the corner too hot and things got real interesting.  This driver went very wide, and at the last moment got control and went over the bridge without wadding it up.

Robert Pendergrass tries to recover before the bridge.

Robert Pendergrass tries to recover before the bridge.

Nikon D700, 70-200mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/640th, ND Filter.

But he did clip the sign at the start of the bridge.

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Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f4, 1/640th.

With the stage done I went back to the race hotel to get some interviews for the story I was doing for off-road.com.

Trent Beaver being interviewed by me.  Photo by Jen Bergman

Trent Beaver being interviewed by me. Photo by Jen Bergman

Olympus SW1030 – Auto

I also did a few more atmosphere shots.

Overall Winners Daniel O'Brien (right) and codriver Brenden McCabe show thier Irish pride.

Overall Winners Daniel O'Brien (right) and codriver Brenden McCabe show thier Irish pride.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f7.1, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

O'Brien's Subaru.

O'Brien's Subaru.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f11, 1/250th, SB900 off camera.

I saw this on the way home.  A traffic stop that I was not involved in!  Sweeeeet.

Streak Broken!

Streak Broken!

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/3200th.

My truck eats a lot of dust when working off road and when I crank the air I always get a big blast of dirt.

Vent off.

Vent off.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/250th.

Vent on.

Vent on.

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, ISO200, f2.8, 1/250th.


22nd Prescott Rally by the numbers.

Miles driver                  447

Fuel Burned                  40 Gallons

Photos taken                1939

Traffic Stops                 0!

Days on the road          2

Injuries                           .5

Time in truck                16 hours 27 minutes

Broken Gear                0

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See the story I wrote on the race and some photos at Off-Road.com

See more photos from the rally at Durka Durka Photo

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There are 2 Comments to "Fisheye Friday at the Prescott Rally"

  • Matt,
    Thanks for posting this up. I always wonder how you guys get these great shots. I am amazed at the night shots at the finish of stage 3, incredibly artsy.
    Thanks for coming to the Prescott Rally and hope to see you here next year.

    MT

  • Dirk Nasland says:

    Matt. the blog keeps getting better. Always enjoy the write-ups and the photos are more creative every time. Keep up the awesome work.

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