Drag Racing Photography: Don’t Overlook the Pits

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. It was captured with a Canon EOS 20D and Tamron’s AF18-200mm lens set at 18mm giving 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 1/400th of a second at f/13 with the camera at ISO 400. A minus 1/3rd stop exposure compensation was used to punch up the colors.










In the PitsThis 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. 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 1/640th of a second at f/11 with the camera set at 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.

You can find more tips about photographing cars in Joe’s eBook “15 Tips for Better Car Photos.”