NASCAR and Fire

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Danica Patrick (10) during driver introductions prior to the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. I spent the past weekend (and about half of last week) in Daytona, Florida. I went down to cover the NASCAR Coke Zero 400, but I also took a little time to make a few images just for me. Above, Danica greets rabid fans during driver introductions.

I had access to an amazing lens while down there, the Nikon AF-S 800mm f/5.6 FL ED VR. I didn’t use it to shoot the race, but I did take it out to the beach early one morning to capture the sunrise. For you non-photo folks, this would be like being able to test drive a Corvette for an entire weekend … at the beach, with the top down.

daytona_sunsetWhat’s amazing about this lens, aside from the fact that it’s 800 millimeters, is the fact that it comes with a 1.25 teleconverter. This converter ONLY comes with this lens, you cannot purchase it separately (which I thought was a bit odd). But anyways, with this converter attached the lens, it becomes 1,000 mm!

fireworks_coupleI also made it out to the beach the night of the Fourth to capture a few frames (one shown here) of folks enjoying the fireworks. I got lucky with this one, shooting fireworks can be really tricky. White explosions are much brighter than the red or green ones, so it can be hard to get a correct exposure. I also got lucky with this couple, because they were stationary long enough to make a frame. I had tried several silhouetting several other folks, including a father holding his young son’s hand, but they all kept moving, causing them to be blurry in the photo.

Ken Hochard from Palm Bay, Florida, cruises down the infield in his homemade motorized recliner prior at Daytona International Speedway prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400. Oh yeah, and then there was this NASCAR race. I almost jumped out of the car when I saw this guy, Ken Hochard from Palm Bay, Florida, riding his homemade motorized recliner (reminds me of an earlier blog post). He had a small joystick that propelled any direction that he wanted to go. Unreal the lengths people will go to for this thing called NASCAR.

The stage prior to the Daytona Rising 500, a ceremony marking the groundbreaking of an expansion at Daytona International Speedway.Prior to Friday’s Nationwide race, the folks at NASCAR showed off a bit of their PR might with their announcement of “Daytona Rising,” a $400-million renovation project that will do many things,away with the Earnhardt Grandstands on the front stretch. These PR events always amaze me, it’s just unreal how much money and effort go into these things. For this event, they had several  NASCAR drivers (current and retired) and a retired crew chief race huge, earth-moving equipment. The winners won the privilege of being the first one to “break ground” for the construction. Interesting and over-the-top.

Ok, back to racing. Below is a selection of images from both the Sprint Cup and the Nationwide race. Thanks for stopping by!

Spotters and photographers on the roof during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) leads during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR Nationwide Series driverTravis Pastrana (60) andTrevor Bayne (6) during the Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) crashes during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) celebrates winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

3 Comments

  1. Reply
    Andrew July 9, 2013

    Beautiful images as always, Kevin. What’s the lighting situation on Danica?

  2. Reply
    Kevin Liles July 9, 2013

    Hey Andrew! Thanks man!

    For the Danica shot (which was the same lighting I used on nearly all the drivers as they came down the ramp), I had an assistant (a friend’s wife) hold an Alien Bee with a 45-degree reflector on a monopod. I used a Vagabond lithium battery from Paul C. Buff to power it, and triggered it with Pocket Wizards.

  3. Reply
    Tom July 9, 2013

    Great visual storytelling Kevin! I love the composition in your images.

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