The Details Matter
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The Details Matter - Blog

The Details Matter

Devil in the Dark 12 Hour Endurance Race

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Early Friday morning, I arrived at Bruce Ledoux’s home for our journey to Millville, New Jersey for the 12 hour Devil in the Dark endurance race. I had attended Guardian Angel Motorsport events before and enjoyed the experience and wanted to give back my time to such a great cause.We rode down in a fully loaded Yukon Denali with heated rear seats. I love to be toasty warm. It was about a 4-hour drive with a quick stop to grab a bite to eat. When we arrived, we went right to Thunderbolt Raceway, which was one of two tracks at New Jersey Motorsports Park. We pulled up alongside of a trailer with two BMWs up on jack stands sitting beside it. What beauties! The team was suiting up to start the qualifying sessions and that was my cue to start scouting the track for good shooting locations. Our team had two cars assigned to four drivers. Both were race ready BMW M3s with full roll cage and gutted out interiors. One was a E36 M3 and the other was an E46.The first thing I noticed about the track was that it did not have any lighting over the pavement for when the night set in. I had never photographed at a night race so I was all about experimenting at this point with this environment. Thunderbolt Raceway has many great areas to capture some stunning shots but also has some great spots that are, sadly, off limits. At the starting line, there was a tower that stands about 4-5 stories high, which allowed me to stand on top and view the entire track. At night this looks spectacular with all of the headlights going in every which way. Truly breathtaking!The great thing about my job is that I get to be involved with the subject I am photographing. That social connection is key to being successful, and keeping it fun. I was able to be at the drivers’ meeting, interact with the pit crew, and be able to sit in pit lane and chat with others while there is racing. It seems like a dream job (which it kind of is) but by the end of the day I am ready to pass out. I never do, as I feel I need to continue working. Deadlines need to be maintained for happy clients and for helping me structure myself. There is a ton of walking and lots of pressure from the heavy cameras and lenses. The amount of walking and climbing throughout the day is enough to make me want to hire a foot massage therapist. Luckily for me, Bruce was kind enough to let me borrow the car and use it to get to different sections of the track.That evening, I caught up on my rest and then headed out to the track in the morning. The forecast called for rain and the teams were scrambling at the fan walk to put on their rain tires. The race started exactly at 11:55 and it was pouring out. I noticed a photographer that had some neoprene encasement that went around the camera to keep it dry. I made a mental note: that is something I need to purchase. Not thinking ahead, all of my clothes were at the hotel and I was soaked from head to toe. I would feel much better if my camera was waterproof. Fortunately, nothing was damaged, though I was wetter then preferred. The upside was that the rain made for some great images, so I wasn’t upset.Our team did not have any rain tires so they had to take it easy. At one time, the driver went off onto the grass and hit the tire wall. Thankfully, they were going slow enough not to cause any damage. Once the rain cleared, the aggressiveness kicked in and the cars were taking on a new form. Turns were faster and sharper, and the sounds of the cars were louder. The adrenaline built even more! It turned into an exciting weekend and was great to meet up with friends, both old and new.I was happy to donate my time to come to this event and make an impact on some children’s lives. To help the cause I will donate $5 from any photograph that I sell from the event, located Devil in the Dark 2016 and split it between the organizations.All in all, Bruce Ledoux, Nick Mercier, Eric Zimmermann, and Marko Radisic who were driving for Precision Driving and Guardian Angel Motorsports, raised $6000 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization and $6000 for the Robins Nest organization as well.Edited by: Stephanie MontaquilaPhotos and Story: Joshua Sweeney