Let's Get Horizontal


As I was setting up to shoot the checkered flag at the MOntreal 200 Grand-Am race this past weekend this though occurred to me: “ The vertical photo is a dying breed!”

As the cars raced toward the finish line, I instinctively started to turn my camera to shoot a vertical shot, which is what the shot really should be, to minimize empty space within the frame and to isolate the action which is taking place. Suddenly I remembered that this shot would go into the Grand-Am event photo gallery and most likely end up on Grand-Am’s homepage on their website, both of which call for photos that fit a pre-defined horizontal photo hole. I turned the camera back horizontally and fired away.

As a long time freelancer, I remember the days when you would shoot everything horizontally and vertically, depending on what your subject was. By shooting lots of vertical shots, the hope was that an editor would pick one up for the cover of his or her publication, which paid more money to the photographer. In those days my checkered flag would have been a horizontal shot, no questions asked.

But as our industry’s print segment has shrunk and the electronic segment has grown, more and more I find myself shooting to fill a pre-defined horizontal hole. Much of the decision making has even been removed from the process of cropping our images. For instance, I know that on the Gran-Am site, if I crop all my images to a horizontal 16:9 HD ration, they will all fit neatly and perfectly into the photo holes throughout the site. Where-as cropping used to be a free-form art, the electronic age has tended to reduce our options when it comes to cropping our images.

Over the last couple of years I’ve noted that my shooting has gone from probably about a 75% horizontal, 25% vertical mix to the point where I shoot almost exclusively horizontal shots. There are few thing more frustrating to both a photographer and I client than having the photographer produce a spectacular image that the client can not use because it is in the wrong format.

This development is neither good nor bad, it’s just the way things are and the photographers who accept these types of things will be the ones who will thrive as they press forward in the digital age.

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Photos to help rebuild history



After I started building my online photo archive several years ago, it wasn’t long before an unanticipated group of followers came to light and began e-mailing me with specific photo inquiries: scale model race car car builders are always on the lookout for photos of auto racing’s past to use as reference when they are assembling their projects.

Photos that show paint schemes, sponsors for specific events, decal positioning and size, etc. are invaluable in assuring the accuracy of a given finished model.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve filled several print orders for scale modelers and have incorporated a special print pricing structure with these clients in mind.

My print price schedule includes low-priced 4x6 and 5x7 prints for these folks who need accurate reference prints, but don’t want to break the bank when acquiring them.



The photo archives at bcpix.com include, but are not limited to the following: 1980’s NASCAR, Indy Car (IRL & CART), and the IMSA glory days of the GTP era. Of course I’m always updating my online catalogs as more images from the past are digitally archived!

The photo database is fully searchable, making it easy to find just the pictures you’re looking for.

Begin your search today by entering search terms in the box below:








If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail at: brian@bcpix.com



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The King and the Kid



The year was 1994. Richard (The King) Petty was a recently retired driver and fairly new full-time team owner. Jeff Gordon was a young, upcoming driver and not yet the iconic superstar the he is today.

About a year and a half earlier Richard Petty had wrapped up his driving career in Atlanta on the same day that Gordon had made his “big league” debut.

I was trolling the Winston Cup garage at Talladega in May 1994 looking for a picture when I noticed the two men sitting atop the work bench talking. Not wanting to intrude, I employed my best “fly-on-the-wall” technique, putting on a longer lens and lurking unnoticed int he corner of the garage, I snapped a few shots.

As often happens, the moment dissipated quickly, with the two stars wrapping up their conversation and going their separate ways. But this picture remains one of my favorites, as I feel it illustrates the changing of the guard that took place a generation ago when the Pettys, Peasons, Parsons and Allisons were vacating their spots atop the sport and the Jeff Gordon was moving in.

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Cale, Baby!



Pretty much all the interests in my life were handed down to me from my father, including my loves of auto racing and photography, both of which play a big role in my ability to make a living. When we relocated from Massachusetts to Daytona Beach , Florida in 1964, my dad immediately started taking me to all the races at the speedway. Over the next few years, we each developed our own favorite drivers. I became a huge Fred Lorenzen fan, the first driver to give me an autograph, while my dad evolved into a fan of the hard-charging Timmonsville, SC driver and curent NASACR Hall of Fame nominee Cale Yarborough, or “Cale Baby” as he called him. I had to admit his driver was not a bad choice.

Together we watched Cale win his first Daytona 500 in 1968 with the Wood Brothers, sandwiched between a pair of Firecracker 400 Daytona summer victories. We watched as he and Junior Johnson dominated the Winston Cup series in the 70’s and witnessed a total of 8 wins by Cale at Daytona through 1983. Yarborough, in fact, won the 1983 Daytona 500 after crashing his primary car on a 200 mph qualifying lap. It was the final Daytona 500 of my dad’s life, as he passed away in 1983. I continued to carry a soft spot in my heart for Cale over the remaining few years of his career as he kept on winning races in his hard charging style right up to his retirement. When the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2011 is announced on Wednesday, it would do itself proud to include Cale Yarborough, “Cale Baby!”

You can view a selection of Cale Yarborough photos on
www.bcpix.com at:

Cale Yarborough Photos on bcpix.com

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Photos from the 1996 Rolex 24 at Daytona up on bcpix.com


1996 Rolex 24 at Daytona IMSA race - Images by Brian Cleary

A gallery of 118 photographs from the 1996 24 Hours of Daytona has been added to the online photo archive at www.bcpix.com.

This was Wayne taylor’s first victory in the twice around the clock endurance classic and also marked the first time that Kevin Buckler appeared in the race. Sports car enthusiasts, motorsports editors and webmasters, and automotive scale modelers will be pleased to know that the photos are available for purchase and download for editorial use as well as personal use display and reference prints.

Of course , online browsers are always welcome to view the thousands of images posted at bcpix.com.

www.bcpix.com is the online home for the photographic archive of Florida-based freelance photographer Brian Cleary and offers thousands of images for immediate online viewing, purchase and download.

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Bobby Allison: Leader of the "Alabama Gang"



This is the first installment of my impressions of some of the newest nominees for NASCAR's Hall of Fame. As a kid growing up in the 60's and 70's , these are people who I viewed as a young NASCAR fan and, later, as a photojournalist covering the sport.

As I grew up following NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Florida in the 1960's I had no shortage of heros in the sport. There was Cale Yrborough, who was always a fovorite of my dad, there was Richard Petty, who almost everyone loved (I remember watching the grandstands empty at one late '60's Daytona 500 after Petty had blown his engine mid-way through the event), and then there was Bobby Allison, who I kind of viewed as a hard-working everyman. It was hard for me to root agaiinst Allison. I remember going to church with my family at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Daytona the morning of the 500 and seeing Bobby with his wife and kids attending mass before heading out to the speedway. That always left a bif impression on me. While he lost some fans through his famous fued with Richard Petty, I was always impressed in his determination to stand up for what he felt was right against event the biggest names int he sport.

As a young photographer I watched him work patiently, yet sternly with his young son as Davey prpared for his first ARCA race at Daytona (driving one of Bobby's old AMC Martadors, no less).

Later I watched Davey visit Bobby in victory lane after his father won races and, conversely, Bobby visit Davey after any of Davey's wins. You can't hide or fae genuine mutual respect between a father and son and I belive that tells a lot about a man.

One of the few Daytona 500's I missed since the mid-60's was the 1988 race when Bobby outraced Davey to victory lane and I've always felt badly about missing that race.

In my view, Bobby Allison is a man who belongs in the NASCAR Hall of Fame on many levels.

To view my ever-growing archive of Bobby Allison editorial stock photography, be sure to visit :


Bobby Allison photography on BCPix.com

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The kid in the red cap



Back in November of 1990, I was covering the NASCAR season finale at Atlanta International Raceway. As the day wound down, Dale Earnhardt Sr. had put together another great season and wound up clinching his 4th Winston Cup Crown.

I was photographing the festivities in Victory Lane when I noticed that Dale Earnhardt, and his wife Teresa, with their young daughter Taylor Nicole in her arms, were in the center of the group. Everyone laughed as Taylor Nicole held up her index finger indicating that her dad was #1. I framed the small group and fired away, to preserve the image for posterity. The only thing that bothered me was that there was a boy in a bright red Winston Cup cap standing right in front of the Earnhardt group. He was just tall enough that the red cap stuck up and disrupted the composition of the shot. Oh well, I thought, not much I can do about it. I'll shoot the scene as it is and than do my best to crop the boy out later. And this is just what I did for years.

Then, about 2 years ago, I was going through some old negatives and came across that shot. Once again I though about how the red cap threw the whole photo off. I looked at the one frame that I had shot which included the boy's face and was stopped in my tracks. The boy who I'd been cropping out of the photos for years was none other than a 16-year-old Dale Earnhardt Jr.! At the time I had taken the photo I was not even aware that Dale Earnhardt even had a son, and now that he's one of the most famous sports figures alive, I have a photo of him and his dad celebrating a triumph in the past.

I guess it pays to review your old photos from time to time.

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Triumph to Tragedy


As NASA's Space Shuttle program continues to wind down, I'm reminded of a launch I covered for AFP back in January 2003. It was kind of a routine launch, with Space Shuttle Columbia scheduled to carry seven astronauts into orbit. The crew included Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla. David Brown, Laurel Clark and , notably, the first-ever Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.

I decided to drive down to Jetty Park in Cocoa Beach, just south of Kennedy Space Center and see what was going on down there. Looking around, I saw the usual mix of beachgoers, fishermen, spce geeks and sightseers on the beach and jetty. Then, just moments before the launch, a group of 3 men caught my eye: Orthodox Jews Nachman Segal, Dov Kok, and Neftaly Hertzel were standing on the boardwalk waiting to view the launch. I introduced myself and the three men told me that they had travelled from South Florida to watch the first Israeli astronaut begin his historic journey in to outer space. The re was nothing profound in their presence at the launch, just there simple pride and there desire to be there as their countryman entered his name on the roll of space travelers form the planet Earth.

I asked if they would mind if I photographed them watching the launch and they said that would be fine. The launch was no more spectacular than any other launch and the photos were not particularly outstanding. As the space shuttle disappeared from view, we said our goodbyes and went of on our separate ways.

A couple of weeks later I was sitting in an office at Daytona International Speedway preparing to photograph the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona auto race when I heard the tragic news that the Space Shuttle Columbia had disintegrated on it's return to Earth, with the entire crew perishing in the accident. My thoughts went to the three men whose paths I had crossed on the beach in Cocoa a few weeks earlier and tried to imagine what their thoughts might be following the pride they had felt a few weeks earlier.

I also realized again that life carries no guarantees. Today's triumphs are for today. Enjoy them for what they are and always be prepared for what life might have in store around the next corner.

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Was that a finger I saw?



I've often found in photography career that, just like in sports, it's sometimes better to be lucky than good. This was the case for me at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as I covered the Brickyard 400 in August of 2003.

I had worked my way to the outside of the enormous speedway and was shooting from a small photo hole midway between turns 3 and 4. It was a tough shot because the hole in the fence was very small, and the cars were moving very fast and passing very close to the wall. I countered by falling back on my old strategy: SHOOT HEAVILY (you're bound to get one or two in focus).

So as I stood there pounding away on my shutter button and peering at the speed-blurred race cars through my viewfinder, something caught my eye. What was that protruding from the window of the black car that had just sped through my viewfinder? I guessed that the driver my have been waving out the window, thanking a fellow driver for letting him pass, and made a mental note to check when I returned to the media center.

Once I got back to my computer, I sat down and proceeded to flip through my race photos. When I got to the turn shots in question, I looked sadly as I rifled through one out-focus-picture after another, when suddenly, the above photo appeared on my laptop screen. Sharp as a tack and funny as hell. The black car with something hanging out the window had been Jamie McMurray, who was having a great day, playfully flipping off his team mate Sterling Marlin as he put a lap on him! One picture speaks a thousand words

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