A quick look back at some of the biggest and most memorable events of 2013.
As my second full year of shooting for Dragphotos.com.au draws to a close it's crazy to think the amount of events, feature cars and photoshoots that I have attended. Not to mention the countless hours spent behind the computer in post processing after each event. This year was a massive turning point for me. As if the stress of covering mulitple events per weekend wasn't enough, I went back to basics and decided to teach myself to shoot film as I had only shot digital and learnt everything while using the best gear available while shooting for Dave. I was completely and utterly dumbfounded in what I saw upon picking up the 3 rolls of film I shot at the Winternationals. To my supprise I had not only been sucessfull but had some shots I was well and truly proud of. Below is the one of those shots. This particular image is of Bob Books at the 2013 Winternationals. This was shot on a $25 35mm camera that I had purchased on Gumtree the week before and shot on Kodak 400tx, my firt roll of film.
Australia Day Drift Festival kicked off this year and for me it was a last mintute decision to head down. With international driver Matt Powers judging the event and 16 of the best drifters in Australia headlining it was set to go off. The event was the first to be held on the South Circuit extension of Sydeny Motorsport Park that had been otherwise reserved for time attack and other grass roots style races. I was dumbfouned by the course. It's something we just dont get in Australia and in my opinion is the best drift track in Australia hands down.
I was back home the following weekend for Powerplay Queensland. This is a massive day for us as the sheer number of cars and full program means we nearly always have to be in two places at once. The buggy certainly makes life easier :)
Being in this job I have experienced some massive highs and sometimes forget just how lucky I am to travel to and from the best events in Australia while getting payed to do what I love. Powercruise in Sydney was the second time in as many weeks I had travelled to Sydney for an event and it never disapoints. I can remember standing in the belting down rain in a $2 poncho trying to shoot the crazy powerskids and slides some of the cars were getting along the back straight and I remember thinking there is no way I would be standing in this sort of rain for any other event. Powercruise for me has a special feel, a certain enegry you just dont find anywhere else.
After this event I decided to have a break away from photography for a few months as being somewhere every weekend was taking its toll. Subsquently I missed some of the best events of the year. Formula Drift Melbourne, Santos Super 3 and APSA Queensland. I felt the break is what I needed to make me appreciate what I have been able to do in the past and what I will be able to in the future.My first event back was the Cruising Nostalgia Drags. This event is a mixed bag for me but its a event I enjoy and really get into once I'm at the track. Unfortunately the event was rained out.
The Winternationals is always massive and this being my second year shooting, I had a fair idea of what to expect. On average Dave and I walk around 13kms a day at events but at the Winternationals you could easily double it. From various shots needed for press releases and other media, it feels like a massive task and we are constantly on the go. This is the weekend, as I said above, that I squeezed in some time to start shooting film. Unfortunately this year's nationals was rained out. I think we were robbed of some serious racing as the weekend was shaping up to well and truly deliver.
After a little break up north it was off to Stanthorpe for the round 4 of Staduim Drift which is easily the best drift track in Queensland and a close second to the South circuit at Sydney Motorsport Park for the best in the nation in my opinion. This track just seems to deliver and with awesome vantage points to shoot from it just makes for a great day shooting. It's a shame this track has such tight restrictions and its future is uncertain with new council regulations. I just hope we get to travel there next year.
The V8 Supercars at Queensland Raceway is always a good relaxed weekend as we have a small amount of work to do and the rest of the day is ours. Somehow we always end up shooting for most of the day anyway. It's always good to test your skills against some of the big names in photography in the V8 Supercar circles.
The mother of all Powercruises was next with the 3 day event in Queensland. This year the event was just insane with the addition of Gup's new two seat top fueler. The crowd and atmosphere was electric with what could have been the first ever top fueler fat lap done around the pits. The hype surrounding the event was massive and with some of the best burnouts and powerskids to date, no one was left dissapointed.
Still recovering from Powercruise, I got to choose between GM Mania at Willowbank and the 6 Banger Nationals at Warwick Dragway. Not minding a good drive I decided to head out to Warwick for the day, I love how laid back this track is and just the general vibe of the place. It feels friendly and relaxed which is something you just don't get at most tracks. Some of the very best 6 cylinder cars from all around Australia decended on Warwick for this event and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
With the last 3 weeks jam packed with some of the biggest events of the year they dont stop coming with Jamboree Brisbane. A personal favorite and in my top 3 events I look forward to along with World Time Attack and APSA Sydney. Ray just has this event dialed and there is nothing like the sound of screaming 20Bs and 2Js, big 2 step flames and some seriously quick passes not to mention the bikini comp and verious other side shows that make this event so successful. I just remember this event being a blur.
Luckly I had a few weeks after Jamboree to rest up in far north Queensland before coming back and covering my favorite event of the year, World Time Attack Challenge. This event is just simply out of control with drivers, teams and cars coming from all around the world to try their luck against the locals. With Australia leaving the Internationals licking thier wounds last year, You just had a feeling the whole event would just be bigger and better this year. I wasn't disapointed as nearly every car had new mods and some of them getting full builds in the year between events.I was also able to blow the dust off the film body and shoot 3 rolls of film at this event. The side show to WTAC is the Techtaloy Internaional Drift Challenge with drivers like Mad Mike from NZ, Tsutomu “THE TERMINATOR” Fujio from Japan and the man I was most excited to meet, Daigo Saito from Japan. With the drifting moved to the south Circuit it made for some crazy backward entrys and super close battles. If you have ever considered going to this event and haven't you owe it to yourself to make the treck.
The week after WTAC I was called and told I had received a ticket to go to Bowdens closed collection and shoot it for Australian Street Car Magazine. This is one of the best racing car collections I have ever seen and done for all the right reasons. The Bowdens have done this so some of these iconic cars are kept in Australia and their history is remembered and passed on. I could not believe that Dan Bowden could walk through the 80+ cars and tell us each of every cars achievements when, where and how they had come across it and why it was important to Australia's short racing history. I do a lot of cool things but it was amazing to see this collection first hand and be asked to do it justice in photos was humbling.
My final event for the year was one I had been excited about for a while, the Australian Pro Street Finals, Factory Extreme Finals and the Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Car Debut at Western Sydney Dragway. On paper I was not sure how all of this could fit in one day. Sadly it rained on the Saturday moving the whole event back to the Sunday. With the event schedule shortened to one qualifier it left no room for error with some teams throwing massive setups and leaving on the bumper bar and others playing it safe. This event was a great way to end the year and meeting NHRA legend Ron Capps is certainly a highlight, not only of the year but of my short career. The Outlaw nitro funny car event has broken off from APSA and done a solo event in Adelade and the is also one rumoured for Willowbank some time next year. I'm already looking forward to it.
This is just the tip of the ice berg with countless Test and Tunes, Private Hires, photoshoots and Time Attack days scattered between each of these big events. With this year's events wrapped up, I would just like to thank Dave for his continued support of me and sending me Austrlaia wide and also Internationaly in the new year. I could not have done any of what I have achieved this year with out his support. And also a big thank you to my girlfriend Sarah for being supportive of what I do and for putting up with me being away almost every weekend. I can't wait to start shooting again in the new year with the first event on my calendar the 4s and Rotary Nationals in New Zealand.
Catch you all next year! :)