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Rally 05-07-2012 10:02 PM

Has anyone photographed at Laguna Seca?
It seems like a track where even the press/pro photographer locations are far from the track? Has anyone shot there? Is this an accurate assumption?

Any idea what lenses are best for this track. I'm trying to decided whether I should snag a tele-converter before heading up there.

iDiaz 05-07-2012 10:31 PM

What lenses do you have? There's trackside access pretty much everywhere (unlike Long Beach), and if you have a photo pass you have access to openings in the fencing. For action shots I would suggest a 70-200, but I don't think a teleconverter will be necessary unless you really wanna get in tight from far away. Places where a teleconverter would come in handy are cars coming up the straight before the corkscrew, and maybe tight shots of the last corner. Rahal Straight and turn 11 in this map:

The easier photo spots are:

- Hill above Turn 1-2: Front straight (including start/finish line), turn 1, turn 2.
- Exit of Andretti Hairpin (turn 2): Turn 1 corner exit, turn 2, turn 3.
- Turn 4 grandstands: Straight between turn 3 and turn 4, turn 4, corner entry of turn 5.
- Turn 5: Awesome view of corner entry battles into turn 5, and the rest of turn 5. Access to this area is sometimes restricted by guarded car corrals, but usually they're okay with you coming through.
- Hike around the hill counterclockwise: Straight between turn 5 and turn 6, turn 6 (tele comes in handy here). Climb to corkscrew becomes obscured by fences, but photogs may have access.
- Corkscrew: Lots of vantage points here. Long tele for super tight high res shots, otherwise 16-85mm works for web res shots due to crop. There's a big viewing area from the top of the hill where you can see nearly all of the track, so a long tele would work well here, or a stitched pano (like this).
- Rainey Curve footpath: Entry is clear. Mid-corner is somewhat obscured by bridge. Exit is clear. Turn 10 visibility is a little complicated by the banking of the corner, but it's visible from a few angles. Good brake battles into this corner.
- Front straight grandstands: Front straight (including start/finish line from), pit row, and exit of turn 11. Lots of battles out of 11 since it's basically the most important corner of the track. Great pitcrew action.

Here's some stuff I shot a few months after getting my camera (so excuse any crappiness):

Those were with a 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 (so some of the action shots are cropped down pretty hard, see full size for actual dimensions), with a little bit of 50mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/2.0 in there somewhere.

Erik has shot it with his 70-200mm f/2.8 as well, so we've got a lot of shots there between the two of us. Here's his MRLS set:

If you have the freedom to do so, kick it with us during the race and we'll walk the whole circuit and point out the good vantage points.

RFIbanez 05-08-2012 04:01 AM

I've photographed there for Motor Trend. Like Ivan said, there's plenty of openings in the fences for photographers with the proper passes. My favorite spot was on the other side of the corkscrew across from where the spectators sit.

justintime 05-08-2012 05:23 AM

yea the other side of the corkscrew was where my mom took all her pics mostly. its also one of the slowest parts of the track so its easier to setup.

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