Last weekend I had the greatly unexpected pleasure of being able to shoot the Indianapolis Redbull MotoGP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  I say being able to shoot, but I really mean I was assigned to shoot, which really in the end was a double edged sword.  I say that because Shannon and I were supposed to be at the race with a few friends of mine from out of town, but at the last minute another photographer here at Indystar got reassigned, and I was asked to take his place.  It was an exciting opportunity and I couldn’t really say no, even though I ended up shooting like any other fan would:  From the Stands.

(Nikon D3s, 800ISO, Nikon AFS 200-400F4VR with a TC14eII@550mm.  1/3200th@F6.3)

That shot was early in the race, before Casey Stoner absolutely mopped the field by almost 4 seconds ahead of 2nd place by the end.  In that shot he’s in 3rd, followed by his teammate Dani Pedrosa.  Pedrosa was actually who came in 2nd; subsequently by 4 seconds.

SO, as I said; I had stands only access.  This isn’t the first GP I’ve shot, so I understood why without question.  The MotoGP is kind of like Formula 1 in that you have to credential for it over seas, unlike the Brickyard 400 or the Indy 500 races which I have attended which are credentialed via the Speedway.  Since I received word that I was shooting this race on the Friday before I knew that I’d have stands only access, which was fine since as I mentioned before; we had friends visiting to go to the race.  Really it was the best of both worlds as I was given a limited access which translated into a limited ability to move around freely to cover the race.  Unfortunately Shannon didn’t make it to the race, but our visiting friends were able to sit near me while moving with me every time I had to change positions.  Really it was kind of a win/win except that I wasn’t given the premium vantage point that I would have preferred.  Either way I saw this as a very solid opportunity to rent a lens that I’d always wanted to try; the Nikon 200-400F4VR.

(Nikon D3s, 800ISO, Nikon AFS 200-400F4VR@360mm.  1/3200th@F6.3)

That shot there is a good indicator of the access/shots I was able to get.  The Ducati Section was apparently a very LARGE fan of Nicky Hayden (Red Ducati Bike in the middle left of the frame).  Unfortunately this shot was wide enough through my lens that if you look closely you can start to see the fence in it.  I spent most of the race shooting through the fence, which using shallow depth of field and basic camera physics is possible; but you can never be rid of it completely unless you don’t have it between you and the race. There were also things that happened where I was unobstructed form the fence though.

(Nikon D3s, 1250ISO, Nikon AFS 200-400F4VR with TC14eII@550mm.  1/3200th@F9)

That’s Award Winning Redbull Stunt Pilot Geoff Aaron performing his stunt show before the MotoGP this year.  I’m not gunna lie, it was pretty awesome.  That’s one of the things that I love about Redbull events.  Redbull definitely takes this recession by the horns and when nobody else wants to spend money, they do.  They make their events what their events need to be, and that’s something outstandingly cool that you just can’t miss.  I’ve shot any number of Redbull related events the last few years and each one has been very cool in their own rights, and I look forward to opportunities to shoot more in the future.  Makes me a little jealous of my friend Nick who shoots for them full time.  Honestly though, if I could make one change to the course of the day, it would be that the GP had more bikes in it like the Moto2 Race did beforehand.  So cool seeing all those bikes on the track at once.

(Nikon D3s, 800ISO, Nikon AFS 200-400F4VR with TC14eII@550mm.  1/3200th@F6.3)

Those racers are nuts!  I can’t imagine traveling around the track at any great speed all in a corner like that!  I suppose I can’t imagine riding a motorcycle at 200mph for a living either, but that’s all besides the point.  You should check out the Indianapolis Star Photo Gallery to see the total race weekend coverage.  Not gunna lie, I’m a big disappointed as to how few of my shots made it into the GP gallery, but like I said; I was relegated to shooting from the stands due to a short notice credential.

(Nikon D3o0, 400ISO, Nikon AFS 200-400F4VR with TC14eII @360mm.  1/2500th@F5.6)

Shot that on the way back to the Pagoda.  Shot a few more at an even tighter focal length with the D300 I had for the day, but this was one of the few that I felt turned out at all.  Hardly got back to here in time to even see this happening as I was pretty far off to the side for the race, and my instructions were to stay there until after the winner (Casey Stoner, middle) got off of his Bike on the Jumbotron.  I thought I had gotten high enough to be above the fence for this shot, but from the looks of it maybe not.  Maybe I was just excited that I had made it back in time to see it.  Oh well, there’s always another year.  Maybe next time I’ll have a little bit better notice and have actual Media access instead of just shooting with the fans.  More Soon.