The track in Connecticut surely had some practice laps burned into it already when I left for my trip to Lime Rock Park. I hadn’t rushed to exit Central Mass - sleeping in, running errands, final pack check - and for that I was awarded the freedom of traffic for my trip and a reflective ride. The Trans Am Series at Lime Rock had been marked in red on my calendar for quite some time and though I was excited to get there, I was equally invested in being prepared with my mind and my materials. Last minute checks proved to be beneficial and once ready, the three-hour trip amidst the mountains and farmland of the Berkshires was relaxing and focused.As I entered the park and received my camping site information, the older woman told me as she handed my ticket through the window, “There are three attractive girls in the lot next to you”. While I hoped that they would be on the quieter side, as the evening progressed I learned my hopes would be crushed. I was here for the cars and the passion of the automobile world.After setting up my tent and sleeping gear, I grabbed all my equipment and made my way to where the cars were. As the evening continued, I was lucky to meet car enthusiasts like myself whom I could share stories with. Networking and meeting new friends are equally as important and it is from events like this I am able to meet the most interesting and passionate people. Though this can make anyone nervous or shy, it has been taking this first step towards meeting others that makes it easier each time.As the sunset and the light faded, it was my time to shine, literally. I had eyed a Corvette C7 Track car earlier and noticed that the owner was nearby. Upon asking him for a few minutes time (he had a puzzled look as I said “light painting”) and his permission to photograph, I was able to capture his car in a stunning manner that he hadn’t seen before. It was great to have him and his team participate and become a part of the production of this photo. Unlike other photographers, I want the car’s owner to help, and in doing so, it creates a memory for the owner and their car in a way that they hadn’t had before. The people involved in this light photography set were energetic and I am sure provided them with excitement before race day.I headed back to my site as 11:00pm was settling in. Before I saw the area of the grounds I was camping at, I heard it. The three girls had an entourage of others in and out of their tent, being rowdy and just beginning what turned out to be, a two-thirty-a.m.-start-to-die-down-party. Annoyed that sleep would be hard to obtain, I made a mental note to camp in the family section next time. Knowing that I was going to be up at 3:30a.m. to prep for the day made it even more aggravating.As the 3:30 alarm strummed, I assemble my camera equipment in a rote manner. Having a routine for prep is imperative to this field and, if not taken seriously, could result in missing equipment or accessories. The air was the hallmark of brisk and a high 30-degree chill over night left a layer of water on the grass blades. It was sunrise as I start my descend around the park, visualizing future pictures I would take, making sketches in my mind of how to position cars and noticing the directionality of light. This is when my mind works best. I would rather be out in the cold taking photos, mental images and notes of my next project, than be sleeping in as late as I could. Our media meeting began at 8, so me and my shoes that were drenched with morning dew, took the walk to the site. You learn your dos and don’ts and what will make you be asked to leave and not photograph at Lime Rock again. The guidelines are sensible and as the meeting ended, the engines could be heard revving and getting ready, almost begging, for the races to begin.
By this time, the fans had started to cross Bailey’s Bridge and were quickly filling up Lime Rock Park. The sea of green grass was replaced with enthusiastic spectators. My first focus was the Miata and vintage races. A friend of mine, Evan, has a Miata that I get to drive and use for photo shoots, and I wanted to capture some of these shots for him as well. The ceremony was beginning but I was crossing the track to my location for shots. This spot has a nice backrest that I can sit and regroup in between races. The back of a photographer is often sore and achy due to the heavy equipment and weight of the camera in your hands for shots. Your back, however, isn’t the only thing at risk. In these types of races, safety is the number one priority. Due to the speed of the cars and the close proximity of our spot, not being aware can be fatal. Being a trackside photographer, your life is at risk, so it is imperative to find a “buddy” to pull you out of the way or warn you. Though it is not expected for the photographers to warn or help others, as the day progressed, it was clear that everyone looks out for everyone else.