Diamond in the Rough

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There’s getting up at 5 am, then there’s getting up at 5 am to drive through the desert. When that happens, it’s not just a hobby anymore.

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It was the Top Drift Practice run on the Horse Thief mile circuit at the Willow Springs international Raceway.

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What I always admired about drifting is that it is as much an art form as it is a motor sport,  so for me, various factors become important before I release that shutter.

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In a previous article, I talked about a philosophy I believe in when I shoot cars; allowing the car to convey its beauty and character to us. However that philosophy doesn’t work well when the car is rushing past you at 90 miles per hour, sideways. When it comes to live motor sport, action and your surroundings become important. I had a lot more freedom at this event to exploit those elements and try to be more creative with the shots.

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The one thing you can count on at a drift event is a mishap and I was lucky enough to capture this one. The driver was safe, and in fact continued drifting with his impaired view.

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We had some Formula Drift drivers out there that day like Matt Powers and Aurimas Bakchis, who couldn’t resist killing some tires.

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The lesson I can take away from an experience like this is that when it comes to capturing motor sports, a lot of new elements become important. I find it is more important to capture what’s going on around the car, as well as what the car is going through, in order to create a sort of dramatic scene. For me that was catching a trail of tire smoke, figuring out how to work in the background, finding a way to convey a sense of speed, and more. However, elements that are present and highlighted at a drift event are going to be different elsewhere, so experiment and change things up as you see fit.
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