Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Honda Indy Toronto Diary - Friday
So... after a night of poor sleep, waking up repeatedly in nervous anticipation (yes, really - I don't think this has happened since I was a young boy, awaiting Santa Claus), I drove down to Toronto's Exhibition Place at an unreasonable hour of the morning. There, I spotted my team leader John, standing on a corner waiting for a few other photographers to show up.
So - with minor faffling around, I parked in the oh-so-desirable underground parking, and headed back out to meet John. From there, we made our way to the Allstream Centre (née Automotive Building), site of the media centre, photographers' room, morning briefing, and copious amounts of bottled water and pop. No coffee, but fair enough - stocking the media centre with coffee would likely bankrupt the event.
A safety meeting, some location assignments, and off we went - sadly lacking the numbered photographer's "bib" that allows trackside access, but still with carte blanche (provided by my Media Pass) to investigate all the paddocks, grandstands, and most importantly, pit lane. This access would change dramatically later in the weekend - but more of that in future posts.
The first order of business - a press conference with popular and occasionally controversial IndyCar driver Danica Patrick:
I must say, having seen her up close and personal, she (a) is very well spoken, (b) is very small, (c) is tremendously photogenic, even early in the morning in a bland meeting room, and (d) showed a real flash of interest and enthusiasm in answering a question about the relative difficulty in parking an IndyCar as compared with a NASCAR stock car. Too bad the journalist asking the question made some ridiculous comment about teaching his sister to park. Still, she acquitted herself with grace, leaving the newbies in the crowd (myself included) a little star-struck.
Right - on out the door. I snapped a few shots on the way to my assignment, through the fencing on Lakeshore Boulevard, a.k.a. the back straight:
When you have no "photo bib", you have to just deal with the fences. And, truth be told, I wouldn't have wanted to be much closer, as IndyCars traverse this part of the track at about 270 kph.
The assignment for the day was to try to capture fans having fun. I did, I think, an ok job of this, but the shot of the day for me was this one of IndyCar driver (and eventual third-place finisher) Ryan Hunter-Reay. Just after I snapped some shots of him signing autographs, he headed back to his team trailer and absolutely lit the paddock up with his smile. The sunlight co-operated, and I wound up with this shot:
For the rest of the day, I tried to take other "fan shots", but found a little time to photograph the SCCA Pro Racing World Challenge (re-branded for the weekend as the "Acura Sports Car Challenge") drivers in a practice session. Although I could only shoot from pit lane, rather than through the trackside photo holes, I got a few shots that I'm happy with. Here's a rather pretty Porsche Cayman S, skipping into pit lane:
And that was that. Back to the media centre for frantic editing and submission of my photos to my team leader John, who passed the "keepers" on to the race organizers and their PR company, along with hundreds of others from my fellow team members. More photographs, if you can bear to look at them, in the Friday set.