Monday, October 16, 2017

One More Race to Go: Planning for 2018 Already Underway

Prototype racing at Daytona is incredible in person
What a year in racing this has been for me! My 2017 racing season as a photographer began in January and now I am only four days away from its conclusion. It all started at Daytona International Speedway where I was fortunate to get to shoot the Rolex 24 Hours race in the IMSA WeatherTech endurance series for This coming Friday, I will complete my 13th ARCA race of the season for the series at Kansas Speedway and it is hard to believe that this season has gone by so quickly. It seems like it just began. I guess being busy at 19 race weekends since the end of January will do that to your time sense! Now I have just one race left to photograph and my season will be over. This weekend  the ARCA season finale will see the 2017 champion crowned, and various other awards such as Rookie of the Year will be decided.

Steve McQueen said "Racing is life."
This year was the second time I had shot the Rolex 24 race and I am planning to go back in 2018 to work it again, this time for Associated Press.  The 2017 edition turned into a sprint at the finish with an epic pass for the lead with only a few minutes left in a frantic 24 Hour event. It was a fitting way to start the year and I have seen a lot of great races throughout this season. The highlight of my season was getting the chance to shoot the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. My fiance and I were able to turn it into an extended visit to France and Italy this past June. Neither of us had ever been to Europe before this trip so saying that it was an epic adventure would be the understatement of a lifetime. I am working on going back and I sure hope I get that chance.

Road racing at Indianapolis is still a bit hard to get used to
From the beginning of the year, my racing stops this season were as follows: Daytona Rolex 24 Hours, Nashville (ARCA), Salem (ARCA), Talladega (ARCA, NASCAR Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup), Grand Prix of Indianapolis (Indycar), Indianapolis 500 (Indycar), 24 Hours of Le Mans (World Endurance Championship), Iowa (ARCA), Lucas Oil Raceway (ARCA), Winchester (ARCA), Springfield (ARCA), Road America (ARCA), DuQuoin (ARCA), Salem (ARCA), Chicagoland (ARCA), Kentucky (ARCA) and soon Kansas (ARCA). From January to October, I logged plenty of miles behind the wheel of my Civic Si and logged some major miles flying to Daytona and Europe. In the process I shot races on paved ovals and dirt ovals, on road courses and at  historic venues. Next year is shaping up to include more of the same and I am excited to see what the new year will include.

It was great to get back to Road America again this summer
I have said for years that I would love to make a living as a motorsports photographer as very few people can say they do. I have been blessed with some great opportunities the last few years and there are times I wish I'd gotten more serious about it at a younger age. That may sound strange considering as how I've been shooting racing for media outlets since 1984, but the driving force in my life back then was making money to support a family and I didn't think photography would do the trick. What I have come to understand though, is that I have to do the things that I am passionate about no matter what, and there's no questions that I am passionate about photography in general and about motorsports in particular. The "joke" I like to tell on myself is that after my marriage broke up in 2005, I bought camera equipment and went racing again instead of buying furniture. Those of you who know me understand how true that is. So these last few years have brought a new determination and focus on what I love to do and I have had to figure out a way to go do it. I'm one of the fortunate ones who's figured that out and I am able to do what I love, even though it remains an avocation and not my full time gig.

Dirt miles at fairgrounds tracks are part of the lure of racing
There's so much more I have planned: creating multiple photo books, publishing an e-book or two, shooting more international races, finishing a novel I started many years ago, etc. Even this blog is a part of that desire to produce and publish creative works, as I decided long ago that if I was going to be a writer, then I needed to write. So you get this blog. If I'm going to be a racing photographer, then I need to shoot races, so I do that too and share the results with the world through traditional media outlets and through social media. Somehow I feel compelled to do these things and leave a legacy of my vision for others to hopefully enjoy. I see things differently and I know that. I hope you see that too when you read my posts or see my photos.

If you want to see more, then please hire me. You will not be disappointed. See you at a race somewhere soon.

From Formula One in 1984... flying Indycars at Indy in 2010... sports cars racing through city streets... fire...
...and rain, I have shot them all.

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