A much earlier mandatory photography meeting than the previous day, and a quick brief for today's assignment - shots in the paddocks, the areas where the race cars live and are worked on, when they're not on-track. As my previous paddock shots from various events at Mosport International Raceway were apparently part of the reason I was offered this gig in the first place, this seemed like a fair enough request. And I like looking at race cars up close.
But first... this morning, for the first time, the coveted numbered bibs were distributed - my ticket to trackside shooting, beyond the crowd control fence, and through the "holes" cut in the safety fencing, which, last year and from the public areas, looked like this:
Now, all good things don't last, and in fact my bib had to be returned fairly quickly so that someone else could use it - frustrating, since I had been looking forward to getting trackside for the World Challenge sportscar race later in the day. Sadly, it was not to be... but at least I did squeeze off a few shots of the Firestone Indy Lights practice session in the morning, including this one of British driver Pippa Mann, who would ultimately finish eighth in the race despite suffering a broken hand earlier in the weekend.
And from there, off to the paddocks, keeping in touch sporadically with team leader John via text message, for an enjoyable day of digging around for shots of fans enjoying themselves, and mechanics working on cars. On the way, I came across Indy Lights driver J.K. Vernay, who would go on to win Sunday's race.
The rest of the day involved diverse activities such as convincing Armed Forces personnel to pose with IndyCar driver Milka Duno - not so difficult, as it turned out,
chasing various Canadian Tire NASCAR teams around,
being distracted by the entertainment in the Bud Zone (and completely missing the NASCAR pre-race activities as a result - in my defence, I just blanked on the fact that there were two stages on that side of the track, one of which was for the podium ceremonies, the other being occupied by a rock band and copious numbers of Budweiser employees),
and finally shooting the NASCAR post-race ceremonies, as practice for the headliner, Sunday's IndyCar race. Quebec native Andrew Ranger won, in a Dodge, and managed a nice podium appearance despite somebody having put the chequered flag on the stick upside-down.
And then, back to the Media Centre for a frenzy of editing and submitting photos, and to realize that in my other assignments, namely shooting the NASCAR pre-race (which I missed), and getting the all-important "attractive waitress wearing a sponsor's uniform, pouring delicious sponsor products for happy fans as a race car covered in sponsor logos passes a sponsor billboard in the background" shot, I had, essentially, failed miserably.
So - a day of ups and downs, and building excitement for the coming main event. More, as usual, in the Saturday set.