This piece was written by Taylor Wiseman, one of the 2015 YJP participants at COTA.
Point and Shoot. That was my idea of photography for a long time.
Only in recent years have I realized that photography is a much more difficult skill than I could ever imagine. More difficult, that is, if you want to make a really good photograph.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to work at COTA during the TUDOR United SportsCar race and the Lone Star Le Mans race.
I went in with the intention to write stories for the Risi Comp team but soon realized the amount of talented photographers I had around me.
I’ve always loved photography and the old cliché, “a pictures worth a thousand words’ speaks to me”, so, I decided to give photography a shot along with the writing.
The YJP program, CANON, COTA, and the WEC had all determined, in advance, that each of the student journalists should shoot some photography.
(Editor’s note: Taylor, and the other members of the 2015 YJP Team were supported in their photographic efforts by CANON. Three Professional Marketing Reps from CANON were involved in the program and they brought the latest in CANON’s DSLR equipment–CANON EOS 1D MK IV and CANON EOS 1D X digital single lens reflex cameras along with a wide assortment of lenses, accessories, batteries, chargers, etc–and also provided a lot of solid instruction to the team).
I was fortunate enough to work with a spectacular camera that really made things easier for me as a new photographer. As the day went on and I became more intrigued with the idea of taking a spectacular photo so I wanted to learn more about the camera and its functions.
I was in a room full of camera experts (that doesn’t happen everyday, y’all) so I got a few lessons on what makes a great picture, what the different settings mean and how to pan. I was set right?
First, the good news:
I was taking pictures at COTA a track that is 3.41 miles long, has an iconic tower that needs to be in a couple of shots, is a great track for sunset shots, and has lots of twists and turns.
But…..this track is serious business for photography and is also a bit overwhelming for a new photographer. Luckily photographers around the track were super friendly to me and helped me out if I had a question. The on-site/real-time coaching helped a lot.
Also, remember those photographer shuttles I talked about in an earlier story? The guys behind the wheel helped me out when picking which turn I should go to. They knew what turns were best for certain shots, and what turns were fun to try out to see what you’d capture.
All in all, my experience as a new photographer was great! It could have easily been overwhelming but everyone was so helpful, which made me relax and enjoy the moment.
When I got back to my computer and uploaded my pictures I was really surprised with some of the shots I was able to get. My photography skill level went from point, shoot and hope for the best to hey-look- at-that in one weekend. Again, thank you to all of the professional photographers that helped me out!
A little tid bit of information if you’re ever covering an event at COTA: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get stuck at Turn 20. The photographer shuttles don’t make their way out there often and it’s a 1.5 mile hike back to the media paddock.
Also, remember to have fun and live in the moment! That’s where the action is happening.