Behind the Lens - Capturing Sebring with Matt Best
Tue, 2017-03-28 06:00
Taking photos at Sebring is unlike anything else I capture for The BLOCK. Rain or shine, these drivers are on track pushing their race cars to the limit. That means, rain or shine, the photographers and videographers are trackside capturing the race. The weather conditions in Florida can be unpredictable at best. The mornings are chillingly cold, and the afternoons blistering hot; and I’ve got to be ready for it all.
Unlike last year when I got wet, very wet, this year the weather was good to us. I was able to work under a clear sky for the entire 12 hour race. And while I’m out and about, the most common question people ask is, “What gear do you use?” My answer is always the same. Gear is a vital tool, but it’s not everything. Some of my favorite images have been shot on a small-megapixel camera or smartphone. Regardless, why not give the people what they want?
What I’m workin’ with:
Canon 5D MKIII
Canon 24-70 2.8L II
Canon 70-200 2.8L II
Canon 100-400 4.5L II
77MM Circular Polarizer
82MM Circular Polarizer
BlackRapid RS Double Strap
Pelican Air 1605
Sebring is a great racetrack for taking images because it offers truly exciting racing, and with a media credential, I can get very close to the action. The cars are bouncing around with sparks flying while praying for grip as they speed across the old tattered airport runway. The racing surface changes frequently at Sebring whereas other tracks usually offer perfectly paved surfaces. This isn’t a bad thing, however, because the drivers love the challenge even though they will admit it is very physically demanding. Tommy Milner, Corvette Racing driver, spoke about the conditions at Sebring with us last year.
It’s a challenge for the photographers as well, considering we’re constantly exploring every inch of the 3.74-mile track to find the perfect vantage point for our next shot. That’s not exactly easy to do for a 12 hour time frame, but it can be alleviated a bit if you’re fortunate enough to have access to a golf cart. Honestly though, it’s sometimes better to walk because it’s all too easy to miss a spot you’d like to take photos from if you speed past it on a cart. Walking will slow you down, but it may just open your eyes to a great photo location.
Now, Sebring is captured and finished, the No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R won and it’s time to set my sights on the next race to capture; the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina. While I love drag racing and can’t wait for that event, there’s just no substitute for the feeling of taking photos at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and I’m counting the days until I get to go back.
I hope you enjoy looking at these photos and if you’d like to see all of The BLOCK’s coverage from Sebring, you can click here.