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Fall Foliage and Fast Cars

2010 VIR Grand-Am October testing - Images by Brian Cleary

I’ve been carrying cameras to the racetrack for more than 30 years and will be the first to tell you that yes, there are worse ways to make a living. But after all these years I’ll also be the first to admit that sometimes the cars and tracks and photos all start to look the same. That’s why an occasional assignment like my recent trip to Virginia International Raceway to photograph the Grand-Am Rolex Series test session makes fro a pleasant diversion from the usual grind.

That’s because a trip to VIR in the fall means colorful backgrounds in the form of fall foliage as the local leaves change color. It’s a rare opportunity to incorporate beautiful scenery into the photos of fast cars that I taking.

Time break out the slightly shorter lenses and back off the action a little to include the multi-colored trees lining the straightaway, shoot the cars as they pass by the bright red barnyard-style building in the background and be sure to get shots of the cars racing under the old Oak Tree where it hangs out over the racetrack. I got an extra bonus at this test, we also had a mix of fog and rain at various times over the two days we were there, which allowed for an even greater variety of photos.

So remember on your next trip to the track to avoid the tunnel vision syndrome which encourages you zoom in tight on the cars and take a step back. Look carefully at your backgrounds and surroundings and work them into the photos when the opportunity presents itself.


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