And now for something a little different. I’m so terribly sorry it’s not yet another article about the latest camera body but it might offer a visual break and much needed respite from the torrential salivation that most of the photography community seem to be afflicted by lately (their absolute prerogative, of course). I was recently invited by friends in mid-Wales to join them at a local demolition derby race and I must say it was a thrilling affair.
Vehicles that looked like something The A-Team constructed after being locked inside a shed careened endlessly round a dirt track in a riot of colour and noise. I could harp on about how a swirling hurricane of mud and dust sprayed the fixated crowds; how mangled fenders and twisted bumpers flew off and wheels detached; and how cars rolled over and landed upside down, only for the drivers to crawl out unscathed (basically like an episode of The A-Team). But hopefully the images here will go some way to convey the excitement.
You’ve had a hefty dose of gear stuff lately so I’ll simply say I used a mirrorless kit to capture these and yes, amazingly, with contrast detection autofocus. Such heresy should not be allowed in the face of the latest autofocus systems but there we are. While the rest of the world seems preoccupied with the newest magnesium and polycarbonate bodies I was lucky enough to be accompanied to Wales by a perfectly svelte female body that even offered to caddy my camera bag for me. Oh, it wasn’t heavy, of course, but when a beautiful woman offers her help Alpha Whiskey doesn’t refuse.
These images were all shot in shutter priority at around 1/500s, reducing to around 1/80s for panning shots. I processed them in Lightroom, making adjustments mainly for contrast. Some of the images were desaturated either slightly or all the way to emphasise the whirlwinds of mud, itself often as much a character in the story as the cars. You may not like the processing, of course, but Alpha Whiskey is happy with it so that’s all that matters.
Anyway, I want to thank my dear friends for their hospitality and invitation to this event and I want to thank Wales again for being such a beautiful place to visit and drive around. A busy schedule meant I hadn’t been shooting much lately and this was a perfect way to pick it back up. For those few who might visit this article, thank you for doing so and if you wish to see more vehicular carnage you can do so at my blog, from where this article was conveniently lifted. Bye.
OK so wheres a shot of the perfectly svelte female caddy? Isn’t that part of the your experience at the track?
We need encouragement that there really are photographer groupies!
Well. From my point of view, I’d rather see shots of his own private body parts. Then maybe, just maybe, I could find some use for these.
Revered author, please share.
– yours truly, in hope that these are at least equally fascinating as the derby shots
I concur. I too was hoping for at least one shot of his assistant.
Fun shots AW! They don’t all have to be museum quality photos. Sometimes it’s just fun to shoot “stuff.” Whatever it is.
Great pictures Alpha! Especially the use of desaturation to emphasise the dust-cloud that banger-racing is.
Your shots remind me of a sequence I took 25 years ago for my GCSE photography coursework. I choose a similar treatment, then using T400cn colour-processed B&W film, printed on colour paper for the sepia effect. If you asked the lab to balance for sepia, the results could be good. Thereafter, enlarging the best negs onto soft (low-contrast) B&W papers and backing on cream card, gave a similar dusty atmosphere. Somehow I managed to get some decent shots with my basic F-301 and Vivitar S1 28-105/2.8. Well, at least my Grade A said so!
Of course, the most important thing was that the light was good and the racing intense. I still remember seeing blokes climb out of cars which appeared to have been completely squished!
Excellent images … looks like it was loads of fun.. however I do agree with Rostovich that some comments do appear snide… your blog post on the other hand is great.. it gives a better idea of the eqpt used and how it was processed minus any negative comments..I have always read your articles with great interest and felt a little let down by this post.. cheers
Sharif, great images. And certainly a sharp contrast to travel photography. Very nicely done and I’m with you on the Gear Gawking. Although I just purchased a new mirrorless system, it replaced a 2003 very heavy DSLR. So I don’t feel guilty. Your articles are always my first read when they appear. And your editorial comments are always enlightening and better yet, very entertaining. Thanks!
I just came in the back door left open through destruction derbies, and I’ve only been a photog, pro and amateeur for 53 years, and I’m loving it. Poor composition, quality, et al — not that I can see. Love it. Thanks.
Nicely done photos that convey the mayhem and energy that people attending the races are there to see. Well composed and processed to show the action and frenetic nature of the races. As you said – “a thrilling affair”.
VSCO Film Preset used?
Very interesting pics, this looks like fun!
You like to make snide remarks against gear and then post pictures with poor composition, poor quality and poor processing. And no EXIF data, so what’s the point exactly?
Maybe if you had better gear you could take better photos, though I doubt it.
Maybe have some humility before posting pics from your amateurish blog.
Or maybe you can show off your portfolio and your glorious images taken with the latest camera and say how awesome your images look compared to these! Hmm…I guess that’s just not going to happen in the world of Internet anonymity and troll-like behaviour.
Sharif, these are excellent images! Amazing what you can achieve with a little mirrorless setup nowadays. Keep up the good work!
Right on, Jacob.
Maybe have some humility before posting your amateurish comment.
Z Rostovich…. Amateurish??? The only amateur here is you and your amateurish comments. Humility… why don’t you have some humility. Practice what you preach or keep your poor, snide comments to yourself.
Sharif, excellent capture of some crazy action photos. Helter skelter cars going in all directions, dirt, mud, car parts and debris flying all over. We have a track about 30 miles from where I live also. Nice job capturing the action.
Wow, that’s rude. Apart from the EXIF data, you are way off point here.