Drag Racing Photography: Don’t Overlook the Pits

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

yellow roadsterThe pit area at a drag race is the biggest car show that you’ll ever attend and many of the cars that you will see are works of art. When I saw this yellow and blue hot rod beneath a yellow canopy, I knew I had to make this photograph.

How I made this shot: It was captured with a Canon EOS 50D and the then current version of Tamron’s AF18-200mm lens set at 18mm. The current version is the 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di III VC lens. That lens gave a nice wide angle perspective that’s usually not possible with zoom lenses that have a 300mm maximum focal length. Exposure was in Program mode at 1/400 sec at f/13 with ISO 400. A minus 1/3rd stop exposure compensation was used to punch up the colors.









In the Pits

This hot orange pickup truck (below) was especially fast and drop dead gorgeous to look at, but don’t poke your lens under a racer’s canopy without saying “Hi” and asking permission to make photographs. You can even offer to e-mail the driver one or more of the images.

How I made this shot: Image was made with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II with EF 75-300mm IS zoom set at 240mm. Exposure in Aperture Priority mode was 1/640 sec at f/11 with ISO 200.

While a paid admission gets you into the pits at drag races, it won’t always get you close to the track. Make a friend and maybe you can get invited to the races as a member of the pit crew,  giving you better and closer access to the track.



In How I Photograph Cars, there’s also lots of information on photographing motorsports from sports car racing to drag racing including safety tips when working around fast racecars. You’ll go behind the scenes as I photographs a small car collection for a client and look at not just the challenge of photographing a group of cars but the logistics involved in making the shot happen.