Tony Smith - 1960 Ferrari 246 Dino

Photographs of the year 2017

As we have now entered into the new year, and new opportunities loom on the horizon, i thought I would look back on the last 12 months of automotive and motorsport photography and collate a number of my favourite images together in this best-of post.

If you follow me over on Instagram you will have seen that at the end of last year I posted the 12 photos that were most liked and 12 photos I liked the most, this post errs towards my personal favourites. Whilst looking at the number of likes an image gets (and the number of followers you have) is good for stoking the ego, in reality allowing a system you have no influence over to rate your photos (and your relevance) is (imho) wrong. The photos that you personally find meaning in or are proud to have taken are the ones that are important, and those are the ones I’ve posted here. Please enjoy.

These are not listed in any particular order, and I’ve added a few comments about why these particular images ended up on my list.

The Lola Mk3B is one of those cars I’m guilty of overlooking for some reason, however when the example is as striking as this one owned and raced by Shaun Lynn then there is no excuse not to turn the camera towards it. In this particular instance the car was stationary in the International Pitlane at Silverstone, door up with the driver waiting to go. Shot from the trackside, with the pits behind, the low angle shows off the curves, the striking green and gold livery and the door being up. Nothing technically difficult about this shot, other than getting it into focus and giving consideration to the composition (this is deliberately framed with rear of the car missing, I could have moved backwards to get the whole car in the shot had I wanted).

Shaun Lynn - 1969 Lola Mk3B

Shaun Lynn – 1969 Lola Mk3B

Jaguar E-Types (especially lightweight ones) are a joy to photograph, and it was impossible to select just one shot of an E-Type from this years events to include. In fact I’ve even included two shots of the same car as it was impossible to decide between the two.

First up is this rear shot of the E-Type waiting to go out on track, with the red light shining in the background.

Sam Thomas Racing - 1961 Jaguar E-Type Semi Lightweight

Sam Thomas Racing – 1961 Jaguar E-Type Semi Lightweight

This second shot was in the top 12 by likes from Instagram, and one that I would have included in my own list on IG had it not already been included. Perhaps framed a little tightly, its another shot taken from that low down angle that I love. The image itself needed a little tidying up in post processing to remove some bad reflections from the bodywork and debris from the pitlane, and some exposure correction to get the correct light – shooting in the shadow of the pit building can cause issues with the exposure and using only natural light, quite often parts of the image are darker than others and need to be balanced out.

Sam Thomas Racing - 1961 Jaguar E-Type Semi Lightweight

Sam Thomas Racing – 1961 Jaguar E-Type Semi Lightweight

This E-Type was a fresh build for the 2017 season, and looked beautiful in its green and gold livery. I wasn’t sure at first whether I liked the colours, but found it processed well with the right light hitting it at Goodwood. This image was processed in my usual fashion with only some minor changes in post processing to remove a few people from the shot who were not adding anything to the shot.

Adam Lindemann and Ludovic Lindsay - 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Low Drag Coupe

Adam Lindemann and Ludovic Lindsay – 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Low Drag Coupe

This Linder-Knocker bodied lightweight is another personal favourite, and from this angle you can see the rivet detail that goes into those body panels. Quite a simple shot, this one just required patience to wait for people to get out of the way. I often find that I can be waiting for what feels like an eternity to get a clear shot, but it pays off when you want the car to be the focus without any distractions (or a need for people to add context).

Julian Thomas and Nigel Greensall - 1962 Jaguar E-Type Low Drag Coupe

Julian Thomas and Nigel Greensall – 1962 Jaguar E-Type Low Drag Coupe

Unlike the previous shot, where I wanted the car on its own, for this shot I had to wait for someone to walk into the frame to provide a visual point of reference and give a sense of scale to the wonderfully low GT40 with the added bonus of the gentleman actually looking down at the car, directing the viewer to the main subject. Unfortunately there is another person (maybe the gentleman’s companion) obscured by the wheel stand, something not obvious when the image is viewed on a smaller screen thankfully.

Zollie Birch and Chris Ward - 1965 Ford GT40

Zollie Birch and Chris Ward – 1965 Ford GT40

I love this shot taken at the Chateau Impney Hill Climb because it gives a sense of the comradery between the drivers waiting to go out and onto the hillclimb. Usually drivers are not seen standing around talking to each other without friends, family, mechanics etc nearby. Here they were on their own and with a lengthy wait, took the opportunity to make small talk amongst themselves.

Duncan Ricketts - 1938 ERA E Type GP1

Duncan Ricketts – 1938 ERA E Type GP1

I wouldn’t usually put a panning shot in a list of favourite images these days (although in my early photography exploits panning made up the bulk of my shots, these days I try and avoid it), however this shot worked out quite nicely with the Lister Jaguar being passed by the Ferrari 250 SWB – I rarely manage to get a panning shot with two cars in the frame. Technically, these kind of shots require practice to get right, with a slow shutter speed and a smooth panning action required to get a decent amount of blur whilst keeping part of the car sharp. It helps to get a good trackside position with something of interest in the background as well, and accept that for every good image there will be a 100 that are no good.

David Franklin and Frank Stippler - 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

David Franklin and Frank Stippler – 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB

This was my image of the year, taken at the Goodwood Revival early in the morning before the crowds really got going. It was a stroke of luck to be in the right place at the right time when the girl was posing for another photographer, and I stole in and took this at the same time (not over the other photographers shoulder I hasten to add). In terms of taking the shot, this one was helped by the low sun casting the background into some shadow, but I also shot it in manual mode, controlling the shutter speed and aperture to get the right amount of exposure to leave that background dark and the front of the car and girl lit. This year I’m determined to spend more time using the camera in manual mode, and hopefully get some more creative shots like this one.

Tony Smith - 1960 Ferrari 246 Dino

Tony Smith – 1960 Ferrari 246 Dino

I didn’t include this in my Instagram list, but on reflection maybe I should have. There is something about this image I like that I just cannot put my finger on.

Tony Smith - 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B

Tony Smith – 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B

Along with the shot of the girl and the Ferrari, this shot really captured the essence of Goodwood for me in 2017. Perfect light, with a fabulous car and people in period correct outfits all came together to capture this moment. In the background there is a blue tinge to the light where one of the cars was warming up and puffing out smoke. This was another shot captured using the manual mode on the camera to ensure that there was a sharpness to the car whilst retaining the correct background exposure. Not sure the same opportunity will present itself again, so glad I caught this image when I could.

Steve Tillack - 1954 Lancia D50

Steve Tillack – 1954 Lancia D50