Sunday, August 15, 2010

Honda Indy Toronto Diary - Sunday. Finally.

DSC02161 - Main Grandstand, Honda Indy Toronto

Yes, I know that the Honda Indy Toronto race was a month ago. It now seems longer, with all that's gone on since - not the least of which was sifting through 1,400 or so photos. Nevertheless, here's the final installment of my not-quite-realtime updates. Let's just call it "asynchronous communication", and move on, shall we?

If I may quote from the above link:

A sender can wait arbitrarily long between transmissions and the receiver must be ready to receive data when it arrives.

Sounds a bit like this blog, doesn't it?

Anyway - on to race day, Sunday, the Main Event.

Another early-morning photography meeting, but a different mood - this was Race Day. Today we had the head of Security give us a few words on access and staying safe. Today, we learned about the all-important "Race Mode" - during the marquee IndyCar and supporting Indy Lights races, there would no longer be pit lane access for any save a very limited number of photographers (among whose number I was naturally not counted - not that I'd been expecting it, being new to this, and not working for a major newswire, network, print publication, or the series). Today, there was a more serious feeling hanging in the air. For the professionals in the room, this day is bread and butter - good shots mean photo credits and payments today, tomorrow, and just maybe a little beyond.

And today, I was back in the all-important photo bib again - at least, one shared between three of us. We quickly sketched out a schedule so that I could shoot some of the Castrol Canadian Touring Car race from trackside, while the others could work different aspects of the day's events. The rule is clear - no bib, no access to the track.

DSC01998 - David Bensadoun, J.C. Côté

But first - the day's assignment. Documenting, for the race organizers, every single booth in "Thunder Alley" the infield vendor, fan activity and hospitality area. I won't torment you with these 150 or so photographs, but I will say that as an assignment, it was dead simple. Immobile booths in bright sunshine. Snappity-snap, done. Although I actually made several swings through it at different times during the day, to ensure that I got everything.

And then - on to the Touring Cars. I had a ton of fun shooting the race and the ensuing victory celebrations, including overall winner Sasha Anis getting a firesuit full of champagne, courtesy of his second- and third-place colleagues.

Sasha Anis, winner, Castrol Canadian Touring Cars, Streets of Toronto 2010

Hanging around for the Indy Lights pre-race activities turned out to be worthwhile, with a combined US-Canadian military honour guard, the presentation of an oversized charity cheque to the last race's pole winner, and new Saga lead singer Rob Moratti belting out the anthems.

DSC02056 - Rob Moratti, singing the anthems

Honestly, I had no idea they'd changed singers. He did a fine job.

And then - on to the IndyCar race. Despite some early frustrations, I did manage to get trackside for the later stages, waiting until the victory lap and then scampering over to Winner's Circle for the confetti, the fist pumping, the hugs and handshakes and champagne spray.

DSC02246 - Dario Franchitti leads the way

For the record, the aptly-named Will Power won, and after giving his car a big smooch, leaped up on top of it for the sponsor-logo-laden photo op of the day - that fist pump, with the first inklings of a confetti-cannon shower starting behind him, the ESPN TV crew nearby to document it all for broadcast. Magic moments indeed.

DSC02285 - Will Power - Victory!

And then, back to the Media Centre again - but this time, stopping off trackside for some shots just for me. I'd been waiting all weekend for the Trans-Am race, and, lurking inside a tight little photo hole on the inside of turn 1, I managed to catch the shot of the weekend - Blaise Csida's Corvette, blowing flames as it ripped around the corner. By then, most of the crowd had left, just a few of us quietly cheering on the die-hards in their big V8 muscle cars.

Blaise Csida, backfiring

And so back to the Media Centre, for the final quick edits, photo submission, handshakes all around, and home, the weekend lingering in a heap of 1,408 photographs, a pair of aching feet, a slight ringing in the right ear (thanks, Trans-Am drivers!), and some very, very good memories.

Weekend stats:
- 1,408 photographs, 191 "keepers" (13.5%, or about one in 7.5)
- maximum focal length 71.5 mm, minimum 14.3 mm
- minimum shutter speed 1/2,000th sec.
- one IndyCar driver posing because I asked
- two drunken fans posing even though I didn't ask
- five racing series (IndyCar, Indy Lights, World Challenge, Trans-Am, Canadian Touring Car)
- photos of three podium ceremonies, one pre-race ceremony, countless catch fences
- photos taken from at least five grandstands, five photo holes, two public hospitality areas, several paddocks, and one pre-race false grid
- two sore feet
- one ringing ear


Dodge Baena said...

I'm always looking forward to your blog entries. It's like I'm there where you are!

Richard Wintle said...

Thanks, EV. Glad to see you stopping by... :)