Some Sebring 360's from BCPix.com

Sebring tower and grid 360, March 2016 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


Pre-Race Grid, March 2016

Once again, the 12 Hours of Sebring has inspired my to return to my keyboard and peck out another photo blog entry. I don't know why Sebring tends to bring out the blogger in me but I do have couple of theories. First, it is such a unique and grueling event it my require a certain amount of reflection to digest what you've just been through.



Shooting the 2016 Sebring full field group shot #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


Early week, pre-race full field photo shoot (click on image for interactive 360 view)

More so than the 24 Hours of Daytona, but maybe not quite as much as Le Mans, the 12 Hour race at Sebring demands that a photographer servicing clients or providing editorial coverage of the event will be conscious and active for about 24 hours non-stop. Even the most ambitious photographer at the 24 Hours of Daytona can grab an hour or two of sleep and still get everything down. Le Mans, with its short period of total darkness really does not provide such an opportunity.

Setting up the 2016 Sebring group shot #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


Setting up the full field shot (click on image for interactive 360 view)

Also, for many photographers, the week or two after Sebring provides the first downtime for a full-time motorsports photographer since New Years, so it may be a good time to sit at a computer and reflect on the beginning of the year before embarking on the mid-year grind that runs pretty much through August and beyond.

In any event, this year's event provided a platform to work with my newest gadget, a 360 degree Ricoh Theta S camera.



In my 35 year career I've found that, at least for me, occasionally I need something to come along to pique my interest and keep the juices flowing. It might be a new camera, new film (back in the day) , the advent of digital photography, a new lens, a new technique or a new bit of software. Lately, the last 3 years or so, I dabbled in 360 degree panoramic photography. Until recently for me, this meant an expensive pan-head for a sturdy tripod, and taking 36 separate exposures then assembling the 360 scene on the computer.

Recently I discovered the Ricoh Theta S 360 degree camera, which has opened up a new whole new world of 360 degree subjects for me. So my 2016 Sebring blog entry features a few 360 degree scenes from this great race in Florida.



I find these images to be very revealing in that you can scroll through the entire scene, zooming in or out to check details within the scene or create artsy alternative views that you are otherwise unable to access.

IMSA autograph session, Sebring Raceway, March 2016 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


IMSA WeatherTech series autograph session (click on image for interactive 360 view)

While these types of photos can be overdone and get old quickly when thrust upon disinterested viewers, they can be very addictive viewing material to someone who's in the proper mood.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy them and, as always, any feedback is welcome.

Famous #SebringCows in the paddock at Sebring 2016 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


Sebring Cows in the paddock, Sebring Raceway 2016

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2016 12 Hours of Sebring Race Results
Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 P S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, L.Derani Tequila Patron ESM Ligier/HPD 12h00m59.881s
2 P D.Cameron, E.Curran, S.Pruett Action Express Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 2.926s
3 P C.Fittipaldi, J.Barbosa, F.Albuquerque, S.Pruett Action Express Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 3.940s
4 P H.Hedman, N.Lapierre, N.Minassian DragonSpeed ORECA/Nissan 4.339s
5 P R.Dalziel, M.Goossens, R.H.-Reay Visit Florida Racing Corvette/Chevrolet 18.078s
6 P J.Bomarito, T.Nunez, S.Pigot Mazda Motorsports Lola/Mazda 29.735s
7 P J.Pew, O.Negri, O.Pla Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ligier/HPD Not running
8 P J.Miller, T.Long, B.Devlin, K.Ihara Mazda Motorsports Lola/Mazda 1 Lap
9 PC J.Bennett, C.Braun, M.Wilkins CORE Autosport ORECA/Chevrolet 2 Laps
10 PC T.K.-Smith, J.Gutierrez, R.Alon PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 2 Laps
11 GTLM O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler Corvette Racing Chevrolet 3 Laps
12 GTLM B.Auberlen, D.Werner, B.Spengler BMW Team RLL BMW 3 Laps
13 GTLM E.Bamber, F.Makowiecki, M.Christensen Porsche North America Porsche 3 Laps
14 GTLM G.Fisichella, T.Vilander, D.Rigon Risi Competizione Ferrari 3 Laps
15 GTLM R.Briscoe, R.Westbrook, S.Dixon Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford 3 Laps
16 GTLM L.Luhr, J.M.Edwards, K.Wittmer BMW Team RLL BMW 3 Laps
17 PC A.Popow, R.van der Zande, D.Hansson Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet 5 Laps
18 GTLM A.P.Guidi, D.Serra, A.Bertolini Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 5 Laps
19 PC C.Miller, M.Goikhberg, S.Simpson, K.Koch JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 6 Laps
20 PC J.French, K.Marcelli, J.Norman Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 7 Laps
21 P K.Legge, S.Rayhall, A.Meyrick Panoz DeltaWing Racing DeltaWing/Elan Not running
22 GTD C.Nielsen, A.Balzan, J.Segal Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 9 Laps
23 GTD B.Curtis, J.Klingmann, A.Freiberg Turner Motorsport BMW 9 Laps
24 GTD J.Potter, A.Lally, M.Seefried Magnus Racing Audi 9 Laps
25 GTD M.Farnbacher, A.Riberas, I.James Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 9 Laps
26 GTLM J.Hand, D.Muller, S.Bourdais Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford 9 Laps
27 GTD C.MacNeil, L.Keen, G.Jeannette Alex Job Racing Porsche 9 Laps
28 GTD B.Miller, B.Sellers, M.Snow Paul Miller Racing Audi 9 Laps
29 GTD M.Marsal, M.Palttala, J.Krohn Turner Motorsport BMW 9 Laps
30 GTD R.Liddell, A.Davis, C.De Phillippi Stevenson Motorsports Audi 9 Laps
31 GTD M.Cressoni, R.Giammaria, P.Mann Spirit of Race Ferrari 9 Laps
32 GTD P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 9 Laps
33 PC J.Mowlem, R.Lewis, M.Drumwright, D.Yount BAR1 Motorsports ORECA/Chevrolet 10 Laps
34 GTD S.Pumpelly, C.Lewis, A.Carter Change Racing Lamborghini 11 Laps
35 GTD B.Keating, J.Bleekemolen, M.Miller Riley Motorsports Dodge 11 Laps
36 GTD T.Pappas, N.Catsburg, P.Long, A.Pilgrim Black Swan Racing Porsche 12 Laps
37 GTD T.Borcheller, F.Konrad, C.Bruck, J.Webster Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini 12 Laps
38 GTD T.Krohn, N.Jonsson, P.Kaffer Flying Lizard Motorsports Lamborghini 18 Laps
39 P J.Pace, B.Defoor, D.Hinton, D.Schroeder Highway to Help Riley/BMW Not running
40 PC S.Johnston, M.Engel, M.Lyons Starworks Motorsport ORECA/Chevrolet Not running
41 GTLM A.Garcia, J.Magnussen, M.Rockenfeller Corvette Racing Chevrolet 36 Laps
42 P C.de Quesada, D.Morad, C.Lawrence, D.Farnbacher Alegra Motorsports Riley/BMW 43 Laps
43 P R.Taylor, J.Taylor, M.Angelelli, R.Barrichello Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette/Chevrolet Not running
44 GTD L.Aschenbach, M.Bell, D.von Moltke Stevenson Motorsports Audi Not running
45 GTD P.Lindsey, J.Bergmeister, M.McMurry, J.Heylen Park Place Motorsports Porsche Not running
46 GTLM P.Pilet, N.Tandy, K.Estre Porsche North America Porsche Not running
47 GTD T.Bell, B.Sweedler, R.Antinucci Change Racing Lamborghini Not running
48 GTD P.Ruberti, C.Sbirrazzuoli, F.Babini, L.Persiani Dream Racing Lamborghini Not running
49 GTD P.Ehret, C.Zochling, J.Krebs Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Not started

12 Hours of Sebring, one more time

March in Florida means only one thing to die-hard sports car racers: 12 Hours of Sebring! For photographers the annual half-day run under he Florida sun means chance to burn digital memory shooting in the beautiful light that only the cow pastures of mid-Florida in springtime can produce. Here's look back at a few favorites from last months shoot.



Sunset at the Hairpin, Thursday night practice



Glowing Rotors





Happy Max



Race Morning



Joao Barbosa, Eyes of a Winner





Sunset ‘Vette



Bikini Contest


Driver Change




Pit Stop Practice



Winners

View my entire 2015
Sebring Gallery on bcpix.com


2015 Sebring 12 Hours - Images by Brian Cleary


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Full race results for the 2015 Sebring 12 Hours, round two of the 2015 United SportsCar Championship at the Sebring International Speedway

1. Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Bourdais USA Action Express Chevrolet DP 340 laps P
2. Taylor/Taylor/Angelelli USA Wayne Taylor Corvette DP 339 laps P
3. Westbrook/Valiante/Rockenfeller USA VisitFlorida Racing Riley Ford DP 339 laps P
4. Dixon/Hand/Pruett USA Chip Ganassi Riley Ford DP 339 laps P
5. Curran/Cameron/Papis USA Action Express Racing DP 338 laps P
6. Guasch/Kimber-S/Palmer USA PR1 Mathiasen Oreca 334 laps PC
7. Bennett/Braun/Wilkins/Gue USA CORE Autosport Oreca 334 laps PC
8. Krohn/Pla/Jonsson USA Krohn Ligier Judd 334 laps P
9. French/Mee/Daly USA Performance Tech Oreca 333 laps PC
10. Magnussen/Garcia/Briscoe USA Corvette Racing C7.R 330 laps GTLM
11. Kaffer/Fisichella/Bertolini ITA Risi Ferrari 458 Italia 330 laps GTLM
12. Henzler/Sellers/Long GER Falken Tire Porsche 991 RSR 329 laps GTLM
13. Edwards/Luhr/Klingmann GER BMW Team RLL 329 laps GTLM
14. Tandy/Pilet/Lietz GER Porsche NA 911 RSR 328 laps GTLM
15. James/Farnbacher/Riberas USA Alex Job Porsche 911 GT 318 laps GTD
16. Neilsen/Davison/Davis GBR TRG Aston Martin V12 Vantage 318 laps GTD
17. Turner/Lamy/Lauda/Dalla Lana GBR Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 318 laps GTLM
18. Sweedler/Bell/Lazzarol ITA Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia 318 laps GTD
19. Carter/Keating/Goossens/Lawrence USA Riley Dodge Viper SRT 317 laps GTD
20. Haase/Miller/v Moltke USA Paul Miller Audi R8 317 laps GTD
21. Bergmeister/Bamber/Makowiecki GER Porsche NA 911 RSR 317laps GTLM
22. Auberlen/Werner/Farfus/Spengler GER BMW Team RLL 317 laps GTLM
23. Snow/Heylen/Valverde USA Wright Porsche 911 GT 316 laps GTD
24. MacNeil/Keen/Davis USA Alex Job Porsche 911 GT 316 laps GTD
25. Priaulx/Paltalla/Marsal/Said USA Turner BMW Z4 315 laps GTD
26. Keating/Bleekemolen/Bleekemolen USA Riley Dodge Viper SRT 314 laps GTD
27. Pace/DeFoor/Hinton/Schroeder USA Highway to Help Riley BMW DP 309 laps P
28. Perazzini/Cioci/Aguas/Potolicchio ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 308 laps GTD
29. Miller/Golkhberg/Kraut/Mitchell USA JDC Miller Oreca 290 laps PC
30. Schultis/vd Zande/Hedlund USA Starworks Oreca 280 laps PC
31. Cumming/Junqueira/Menezes USA RSR Oreca 267 laps PC
32. Gavin/Milner/Pagenaud USA Corvette Racing C7.R 264 laps GTLM
33. Brown/Van Overbeek/Fogarty USA ESM HPD ARX-04b 211 laps P
34. Drunmwright/Drissi/Cheng/Plowman USA BAR1 Motorsport Oreca 194 laps PC
35. Potter/Lally/Seefried USA Magnus Porsche 911 GT 179 laps GTD
36. Sharp/Dalziel/Heinemeier-Hansson USA ESM HPD ARX-04b 162 laps P
37. Lindsey/Pumpelly/Norman USA Park Place Porsche 911 GT 155 laps GTD
38. Bomarito/Nunez/Tremblay/Hinchcliffe USA SpeedSource Mazda 111 laps P
39. Miller/Long/Devlin/Tremblay USA SpeedSource Mazda 104 laps P
40. Faulkner/Giermaziak/Skeen/Butcher USA GB Autosport Porsche 911 GT 97 laps GTD
41. Rojas/Meyrick/Legge USA DeltaWing Racing 60 laps P
42. Pew/Negri/Wilson USA Michael Shank Ligier Honda 46 laps P
43. Holzer/Thome/Thompson USA Flying Lizard Audi R8 23 laps GTD
44. Hartley/Mayer USA Starworks Riley DP 0 laps P
45. De Phillippi/Trebing USA Muehlner Porsche 911 GT 0 laps GTD

Back to Sebring

It’s been many , many years since I’ve covered the 12 Hours of Sebring, and seems like very little has changed in the years I’ve been away. The facility dates back to the early 1950’s and offers little in the way of modern conveniences and technology. But Sebring is not a venue that relies on these things. The ruggedness of the old airport road course and the toughness of the race itself are the foundation upon which the event was built and has endured. The fans of the 12 Hours of Sebring are among the most devoted in all of motorsports! The starkness of the race track and the surrounding area belie the richness of the photographic opportunities that lie within. Sebring is a race that rewards a hard working photographer with many great images but at the same time leaves him or her with the feeling that he’s left a lot on the table and forces him to immediately begin to look forward to next year. Here are a few of my favorites from the my coverage of the 2014 event:

A Porsche goes off-road during practice
Lots to see in pre-race

The pole-sitting Corvette DP on the grid



The green flag starts the race
An early caution as a Viper expires on track

Red Dust Racing



Pole-sitter pits at sunset
DeltaWing under Setting Sun
Classic Sebring Sunset

The winners celebrate with champagne



For more images of my 2014 Sebring experience visit my 2014 Sebring gallery on BCPix.com and, of course, be sure to check back next year!

Results of the 2014 12 Hours of Sebring

Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. P Pruett/Rojas/Franchitti Ganassi Riley-Ford 12h00m09.985s
2. P Sharp/Dalziel/Brabham Extreme Speed HPD +4.682s
3. P Barbosa/Fittipaldi/Bourdais Action Express Corvette DP +8.965s
4. P Pla/Brundle/Yacaman OAK Morgan-Nissan +11.994s
5. P Brown/van Overbeek/Pagenaud Extreme Speed HPD +17.027s
6. P Dixon/Kanaan/Karam Ganassi Riley-Ford +17.837s
7. P Angelelli/Taylor/Taylor Taylor Corvette DP +34.229s
8. P Frisselle/Frisselle/Fogarty Action Express Corvette DP +39.559s
9. P Pew/Negri/Wilson Shank Riley-Ford +40.568s
10. PC Bennett/Braun/Gue CORE FLM +3 laps
11. PC Ende/Junqueira/Heinemeier Hansson RSR FLM +3 laps
12. GTLM Long/Christensen/Bergmeister CORE Porsche +5 laps
13. GTLM Bell/Bomarito/Wittmer SRT Viper +5 laps
14. GTLM Auberlen/Priaulx/Hand RLL BMW +5 laps
15. GTLM Krohn/Jonsson/Bertolini Krohn Ferrari +5 laps
16. GTLM Henzler/Sellers/Holzer Falken Porsche +6 laps
17. GTLM Gavin/Milner/Liddell Corvette +6 laps
18. GTLM Farnbacher/Goossens/Hunter-Reay SRT Viper +7 laps
19. GTLM Magnussen/Garcia/Briscoe Corvette +8 laps
20. GTLM Tandy/Lietz/Pilet CORE Porsche +9 laps
21. PC van der Zande/Bird/Fuentes/Cheng Starworks FLM +10 laps
22. PC Miller/Kraut/Simpson JDC/Miller FLM +11 laps
23. GTD Potter/Lally/Seefried Magnus Porsche +13 laps
24. GTD Sweedler/Bell/Mediani/Segal AIM Ferrari +13 laps
25. GTD James/Farnbacher/Riberas Alex Job Porsche +13 laps
26. GTD MacNeil/Keen/Frommenwiler Alex Job Porsche +13 laps
27. GTD Neiman/von Moltke/Albuquerque Flying Lizard Audi +13 laps
28. GTD Mies/Putman/Espenlaub Fall-Line Audi +13 laps
29. P Westbrook/Valiante/Rockenfeller Spirit Corvette DP +13 laps
30. P Tremblay/Long/Devlin SpeedSource Mazda +13 laps
31. GTLM Muller/Edwards/Werner RLL BMW +14 laps
32. GTD Cameron/Dalla Lana/Palttala/Lewis Turner BMW +14 laps
33. GTD Canache/Pumpelly/Latif/Winkelhock Flying Lizard Audi +15 laps
34. GTD Plumb/Snow/Heylen/Plumb Rum Bum Porsche +18 laps
35. GTD Faulkner/Faieta/Avenatti GB Porsche +19 laps
36. GTD Sofronas/Welch/Basseng GMG Audi +20 laps
37. PC Kimber-Smith/Marsal/Lux/Rayhall 8Star FLM +20 laps
38. GTD Miller/Haase/Bell Miller Audi +21 laps
39. GTD Griffin/Cioci/Rugolo/Gerber Spirit of Race Ferrari +21 laps
40. GTD Roda/Ruberti/Venturi Spirit of Race Ferrari +28 laps
41. P Curran/Said/Cosmo Marsh Corvette DP +42 laps*
42. GTD Dempsey/Davis/Foster/Siedler Dempsey Porsche +47 laps
43. GTD Davis/Riddle/Wilson TRG Aston Martin +49 laps
44. GTD Lindsey/Vess/Estre/Norman Park Place Porsche +56 laps
45. GTD Case/Marcelli/Balzan/Westphal Corsa Ferrari +57 laps*
46. PC Bielefield/Ducote/Plowman/Drissi BAR1 FLM +63 laps
47. GTD Block/Carter/Davison TRG Aston Martin +76 laps

* Not running at finish

P Graf/Luhr/Mardenborough Pickett ORECA-Nissan 204 laps
P Pace/DeFoor/Hinton Highway Riley-Dinan 200 laps
P Meyrick/Legge/Chaves DeltaWing 185 laps
GTD Bamber/Gimple/Melgrati Muhlner Porsche 154 laps*
PC Cumming/Tagliani/Mitchell RSR FLM 125 laps
GTD Engelhart/Ineichen/Konrad Dempsey Porsche 113 laps
PC Kearby/Hamilton/Kasemets BAR1 FLM 112 laps
P Miller/Nunez/Vautier SpeedSource Mazda 104 laps
PC Guasch/Montecalvo/Jeannette PR1/Mathiasen FLM 89 laps
PC Shears/Matos/Ostella Performance Tech FLM 88 laps
GTLM Bruni/Malucelli/Fisichella Risi Ferrari 62 laps
GTD Cisneros/Nielsen/Giermaziak NGT Porsche 61 laps
GTD Lindsey/Vess/Estre/Norman Park Place Porsche 34 laps
P Mayer/Kaffer/Saavedra/Popow Starworks Riley-Honda 26 laps
GTD Bleekemolen/Bleekemolen/Keating Riley SRT Viper 13 laps
GTD Bamber/Verdonck Muhlner Porsche 0 laps

* Running again at finish







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Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk


We moved into our current house back in April of 1997. About 2 blocks from the Halifax River near Daytona Beach, Florida, it wasn’t long before I began daily dog walks down to the river and discovered that you never know what you might see.

Over the years I’ve been accompanied by 2 different dogs, for a few years they overlapped and there were two dogs along for the stroll. Me and my canine friends have seen: rabbits, snakes, herons, egrets, manatees, porpoise, a gator, hurricanes, 100 degree heat, freezing, icy weather, space shuttle blast-offs, local people, tourists, dog-lovers, dog-haters, wind , rain, lightning, dark clouds, baking sun, cats, dogs, lizards, trees and flowers, majestic sailboats and grounded houseboats. Like I said, you never know what you’re going to come across on these daily outings.



So, over the years as digital photography was introduced and quality cameras became smaller and more portable, it finally dawned on me a year or two ago to carry a camera along on these walks. After all, I am a photographer by occupation! And, after 15 years, I’ve decided to start a little ongoing photo project: Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk. This gallery can be viewed by clicking here.

I’ve never bee one for organized ongoing projects, given my short attention span and lack of organizational skills, but my intent will be to add regularly to this collection, whenever I come across something that catches my eye. These pictures will be taken with everything from my iPhone, myCanon Elph 300 HS, my Panasonic Lumix GF1 and, on more ambitious days, one of my Canon EOS DSLR ’s.

So, with the assistance of my walking partner Willow and in memory of my late and sorely missed companion Layla, I present: Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk!



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Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk


We moved into our current house back in April of 1997. About 2 blocks from the Halifax River near Daytona Beach, Florida, it wasn’t long before I began daily dog walks down to the river and discovered that you never know what you might see.

Over the years I’ve been accompanied by 2 different dogs, for a few years they overlapped and there were two dogs along for the stroll. Me and my canine friends have seen: rabbits, snakes, herons, egrets, manatees, porpoise, a gator, hurricanes, 100 degree heat, freezing, icy weather, space shuttle blast-offs, local people, tourists, dog-lovers, dog-haters, wind , rain, lightning, dark clouds, baking sun, cats, dogs, lizards, trees and flowers, majestic sailboats and grounded houseboats. Like I said, you never know what you’re going to come across on these daily outings.



So, over the years as digital photography was introduced and quality cameras became smaller and more portable, it finally dawned on me a year or two ago to carry a camera along on these walks. After all, I am a photographer by occupation! And, after 15 years, I’ve decided to start a little ongoing photo project: Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk. This gallery can be viewed by clicking here.

I’ve never bee one for organized ongoing projects, given my short attention span and lack of organizational skills, but my intent will be to add regularly to this collection, whenever I come across something that catches my eye. These pictures will be taken with everything from my iPhone, myCanon Elph 300 HS, my Panasonic Lumix GF1 and, on more ambitious days, one of my Canon EOS DSLR ’s.

So, with the assistance of my walking partner Willow and in memory of my late and sorely missed companion Layla, I present: Scenes from the Daily Dog Walk!



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When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

A motorcycle racer takes a break to relieve himself at Daytona. Photo by Brian Cleary www.bcpix.com
I was covering a pro-am motorcycle event at Daytona International Speedway many years ago. Stationed out at the chicane, which is a pretty remote location on Daytona's road course, out of sight of the spectators and kind of a pain to get to for photographer, I was the only person in the area, other than a few corner workers out at their station.



These events were a day-long succession of short sprint races filled with club racers who were not well known and whose skills were not on a level with the great racers who compete annually in the Daytona 200, so the racing wasn't always stellar.

These circumstances can combine to lull a photographer into a trance-like hypnotic state. It was in just such a stupor that I sat as I waited for the start of the next race. At these races, the riders circle the track once in there "sighting" or warm-up lap before returning to pit road the line up and start the race.




I watch as the group of riders approached my position on their warmup lap. Suddenly one bike slowed to a stop at the entrance to the chicane. The rider got off and leaned his motorcycle against the wall. Thinking that he must have some sort of mechanical problem, I was hoping that this would not delay the start of the race by too much. Then, I watched in interest as the rider turned to the wall and appeared to be unzipping his leathers. With his back to me, I watched as a stream of liquid appeared on the wall and ran down onto the racetrack (see photo above). Relieved, the rider re-zipped his suit, climbed back onto his bike and sped off to join the other riders on the grid for the start of the race.

I looked around the remote location and realized that I was the only witness to the unusual pit stop. I laughed to myself.



My amusement turned to amazement as the same recently relieved motorcycle rider smoked the field and won the race going away! Some people jokingly say that you should always bet on the dog in a dog race who relieves himself on the way to the starting gate, as that dog will be just a little bit lighter, and I guess the same theory must apply to motorcycle racing.

View Motorcycyle Racing photography on BCPix.com

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Testing . . .testing . . .

A pack of primer painted NASCAR racers at Winter testing, Daytona, January 2008. Photo by Brian Cleary www.bcpix.com
For the working freelancer who covers big-time motorsports for a living, the off-season is not much of a vacation. You'd think that the time between the final checkered flag of the fall and the first green flag of the new season would be a time a sitting around the house watching TV with the kids and catching up on domestic chores. More and more, this is not the case.



First of all there's annual tour of the awards banquets. In 2007 I covered the following banquets: Grand American Road Racing Rolex Series (Las Vegas, September), Grand American Koni Challenge Series (Las Vegas, November) NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (Hollywood, FL, November), NASCAR Busch Series (Orlando, December) and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (New York City, December). So, after all of that, after my tuxedo was hung up for the winter and I gave up my standing spot in the long term parking lot at the airport in anticipation of a leisurely off-season, here came the annual parade of primer painted race cars into town for the ritual of winter testing.

Fortunately, this testing all takes place in Daytona Beach, where I live, so the assignments aren't as grueling as the year-long grind of chasing the racers from track to track. Still, as many race fans know, the drivers don't really look forward to these test session, which involve endless laps around the track punctuated by periods of standing around as crewmen work on the race cars, with very little excitement involved. It's not much better for the media and photographers, as the cars aren't painted, the driver's uniforms aren't updated for the new year, and the photos are of little use to anyone, other than just documentation of the test sessions for the track and teams.




First, in December, the prototype and GT sports cars of the Grand American Road Racing Series rolled into town for the first of their 2 test sessions. I work as the series photographer for Grand Am, so I'm required to be there. It's a fun assignment and a chance to see my friends in the series in a less stressful setting than the usual race weekend. It's also a chance to see the new teams and cars in their first warmup for the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, which runs in late January.

The ARCA cars roll into Daytona for their annual pre-Christmas test, followed by a few actual days off for Christmas and New Years.

On January 4 of this year, the Grand Am cars returned to Daytona for their final test before the Rolex, now just 3 weeks away.



After that there is a string of NASCAR tests, each 3 days long: The first group of NASCAR Sprint Cup cars goes first, then comes the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series followed by the second group of Sprint Cup cars(the above photo shows the cars of Scott Riggs, 66, Michael Waltrip, 55, and Sam Hornish, 77 in action at this test session) and finally the NASCAR Nationwide Series. As that session ends, I'll finally settle to the couch to really get into the off-season and then I'll realize that the Grand Am cars are just 3 days away from rolling into town for the following weekend's Rolex 24 Hour race. Oh well, here we go again. Maybe I'll have time to catch my breath next December!

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Half-A-Lifetime taking pictures

It's official. I recently to turned 50 and I was 25 when I got my A.S. degree in photography from Daytona Beach Community College. I've been making a living in photography ever since then, so then next time I think "Damn, it seems like I spend half my life lugging these cameras around", I actually have spent half my life lugging these cameras around. Well, not these particular cameras, but cameras in general.



In fact, the cameras I use today were science fiction fantasy when I started my career. Many other things have changed since I earned my first dollar taking pictures:

To start with, back in the day, we had to carry around a large supply of film and fumble with the camera after every 36 exposures whether it was freezing cold out, pouring rain, blowing dust or whatever. Today we can shoot hundreds or even thousands of pictures without opening the camera, depending on the photo resolution and memory card size.

In the old days when the shooting was done, you usually found yourself elbow deep in chemicals, breathing fixer, fumbling in the dark to actually see the results of your efforts. Nowadays the day ends hunched over a laptop computer with cramping hands as you try to stay a step ahead of editors and clients anxiously awaiting your photos. If you want to see any particular photograph, just glance at the back of your camera seconds after you've taken it.




Years ago we'd be frantically twisting the focus ring on our lens back and forth trying to keep a moving subject in focus, while today we are often just as frantically mashing a button on our camera and cursing the autofocus system for being too slow.

If you are familiar with wire service work you might remember the days when sending a photo over the wire was similar to a kindergarten art class project involving scissors, tape, and glue. You'd "soup" your film, make a print, bang out a caption on a Brother typewriter, paste it to the print and clamp the whole creation to a revolving drum transmitter to send the print over phone lines a picture desk, usually in Washington or New York. An adept photographer today could send a hundred fresh photos via e-mail or FTP in the time it took us to send one picture years ago.

I remember thinking that when the digital age arrived, our lives would get easier, but that hasn't been the case. Editors and clients today want more pictures and they want them faster. As technology advances, so does our work load, but, as I like to remind myself, there are worse ways to make a living.



Anyway, those are just a few of my memories from the "old days" (which weren't really that long ago) and I welcome and look forward to hearing any of yours!

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Bowling in Florida

Eddie George carries the ball in the Florida Citrus Bowl.  Phot by Brian Cleary www.bcpix.com
For the working freelance sports photographer in Florida, New Year's Day can mean only one thing: Bowl Time!

This year there are 5 major bowl games in the state including the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, the Capital One Bowl in Orlando and the Orange Bowl in Miami.



For the ambitious freelancer with connections, these games provide opportunities on several fronts. First, its a chance to start the year off on the right foot, with a decent payday on the very first day of the year, there is also the opportunity to get good play in the media if you can capture good shots from these high profile, high energy events, you also get the chance to fill your files with photos of potential future NFL superstars (the above photo shows Ohio State running back Eddie George in action at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando in January 1995), and finally you get to see some good, fun college football firsthand, from the sidelines rather than planted on your couch in front of the TV.




One of my favorite College bowl days stories comes from a photographer I know who lives nears Tampa. One year, as he tells it, he arose early New Year's Day and drove to the old Tampa Stadium to shoot the first quarter of the Hall of Fame Bowl. In a driving rain storm, the photographer jumped into his car and took off up I-4 to shoot a portion of the final quarter of Orlando's Citrus Bowl from an opening under the grandstands. Then it was back in the car, over to I-95 and north to Jacksonville where he worked that evening's Gator Bowl!

For the Florida freelancer, New Year's Eve is often a night of moderate celebration and early bedtime followed by the first working day of the New Year.

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