Historic Sebring

Just a brief addition this week as things are ramping up getting ready for the American Le Mans Series’ season opener at Sebring International Raceway. It’s quite an eye-opener to kick of the year with the 12 Hours of Sebring… it pretty much comes and goes before you’ve caught your breath. And then it seems you wake up and it’s the middle of July and you’re in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. On the road again.

Last week I did put in a little time on my Canon gear, though. I ventured over to Sebring where they were holding an HSR Historic Race. Then Saturday and Sunday I took in the swamp buggies… this time with credentials. I have to say, the swamp buggies were photographically more productive than the historics and frankly, a lot more fun.

The historic event was… well, slow. There were not a lot of cars and the schedule seemed to drag. Whenever that happens, it’s really hard to get into any sort of shooting rhythm. I always set off to shoot vintage cars with a picture in my mind and the hope that I can recreate a look that fits the era of the car or cars. Unfortunately, and I’m sure it’s a matter or economics and scheduling, the organizers group types of cars together in an arrangement that doesn’t suit the “look” I’m after. When the opportunity to shoot a stack of traffic presents itself, there’s always one or two cars that visually don’t fit the mix.

Then of course… there are the helmets. Believe me, I fully understand and respect the need for proper protective headgear, but can’t someone come up with something that’s more authentic? Obviously, they don’t care about ME!!!! No respect, I guess. (Kidding of course.)

Lastly, Sebring is an odd place when it’s empty and void of spectators. Not that it isn’t a weird place when there are spectators… trust me, there is plenty of weirdness to go around during the 12 Hour… but when it’s empty, it’s very awkward to shoot. It’s one track that you rely on the visual cacophony to add interest to the backgrounds. Being a flat abandoned air field, when it’s just you and the cars out there, it looks a bit desolate.

What had prompted me to take the drive over to Sebring was the schedule called for a 6:15PM start to a 40 minute race. My initial though was “great… sunset into twilight… should make for some nice shots.” Well, had they started on time, my plan would have been sound. Sadly, the sun dipped just before the late start and twilight wasn’t anything to write home about.

The day did produce a few nice shots of a few nice cars…

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