Niki Lauda at Watkins Glen – 1972

“Whenever I see something that challenges me, I take it on.”—Niki Lauda

The 1972 United States Grand Prix was held on October 8, 1972 at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course in Watkins Glen, New York. Jackie Stewart, having just lost his World Champion’s crown to Emerson Fittipaldi, dominated the entire weekend with pole, win and fastest lap and completed a sweep of the North American races. It was the twenty-second victory of the Scot’s career and his fourth in 1972.

My image of Niki Lauda (above) who did not finish the event, was originally shot on color slide film with one of my old Nikon F camera using the old technique called panning. You can always stake out a location use a fast shutter speed and stop the car—dead—on the track, but that makes it look as if it were parked, not doing 160mph. So use the race’s practice time to practice panning. Keep both eyes open so you can see the car coming and frame the car before snapping the shutter. Follow the car until it’s where you want in the viewfinder, tripping the shutter as you continuously pan the camera. Don’t stop after you click the shutter! Follow through maintaining a smooth motion so the camera isn’t jerked at the end of the exposure to ruin the effect.

The above photograph was scanned by ScanMyPhotos who offers a wonderfully seamless process for digitizing images that have been dormant for many years and bringing them back to life.