001

Submission – 001

Here is my final images with captions for 001.

The day starts off with a safety briefing from Andy and an introduction of what's in store for the students.

The day starts off with a safety briefing from Andy and an introduction of what’s in store for the students.

The students are then bought outside to meet the instructors and see the cars they’d be driving for the first lesson of the day. Firstly, the students are taught how to perform donuts.

The students are then bought outside to meet the instructors and see the cars they’d be driving for the first lesson of the day. Firstly, the students are taught how to perform donuts.

After their first donut session, the students are assembled with Andy where a short debriefing happens to explain some of the skills that have just been shown as well as some extra tuition.

After their first donut session, the students are assembled with Andy where a short debriefing happens to explain some of the skills that have just been shown as well as some extra tuition.

The students are then taught more advanced techniques, such as the transition. Making the car change direction from one direction to the other in a controlled drift. The most important skill needed for drifting.

The students are then taught more advanced techniques, such as the transition. Making the car change direction from one direction to the other in a controlled drift. The most important skill needed for drifting.

Students are then assembled with Andy and talk about why the transition is such an important skill to learn. A Q&A ensues to help the students and answer any of their problems if they have any.

Students are then assembled with Andy and talk about why the transition is such an important skill to learn. A Q&A ensues to help the students and answer any of their problems if they have any.

Second session of the transition lesson, this time with a much longer course to navigate. Three cones to drift around this time.

Second session of the transition lesson, this time with a much longer course to navigate. Three cones to drift around this time.

The second transition session is done in groups of 5, the other students have a chance to watch a learn from the group on track.

The second transition session is done in groups of 5, the other students have a chance to watch a learn from the group on track.

Everyone who attended the drift academy is then given 5 high speed passenger laps around the long tight oval of Birmingham Wheels, driven by the professional instructors. Cars are driven in pairs in a tandem. This gives students an idea of the speed and proximity to the car in front needed for competition drifting. End of the day.

Everyone who attended the drift academy is then given 5 high speed passenger laps around the long tight oval of Birmingham Wheels, driven by the professional instructors. Cars are driven in pairs in a tandem. This gives students an idea of the speed and proximity to the car in front needed for competition drifting. End of the day.

Advertisements

Evaluation

Evaluation

AD5800 – On Assignment

 

On Assignment, I’ve really enjoyed this module, it’s opened my eyes to much more than what I could have imagined. I’ve always wanted to dive into video production – It’s actually the reason I got a DSLR in the first place ironically, I wanted to make motocross videos when I was 16. But never really understood or put much effort into it, well not enough. I know my way around video editing software thanks to a life of being sat on YouTube and playing games. Y’see I used to make video game videos and uploaded them onto YouTube. Things like Call of Duty, Forza, all First person shooter style games really. But after a year or two of editing videos I got quite a good knowledge base of Sony Vegas. Which helped pull me through editing the 002 assignment.

But firstly, lets take a look at 001. Initial ideas for me always starts out with cars. It’s like a drug, I cant get enough of shooting cars. I then had to think about the location, being that we could only photograph in a specific city. I initially chose Cardiff, as a challenge. I didn’t know anything about Cardiff, or wales in general for that fact. So I wanted to dive into the deep end and try to get a story. I soon realised that it would be foolish to try to do something in a place I don’t know a thing about, why make it even harder on myself. It was around this time that I started to think of other ideas, I started off thinking about community garden projects, photographing something with friendly people helping each other out of the goodness of their hearts. Then I decided not to, as they don’t have engines and burning tyres. I then started looking into things related to motorsport in Birmingham, I know Driftworks headquarters is based in Birmingham, but that’s more of a garage/shop rather than a suitable photostory. I also knew that Birmingham Wheels raceway was just around the corner.

Birmingham Wheels is a tiny oval racetrack which was built in the late 70s, as a venue for the community and youngsters to let off steam in a safe controlled environment. The same mentality exists today, with the same aim on objective to run a safe venue for the community. Birmingham wheels runs monthly banger and stock car races, cheap fast paced racing that appeals to the working class individual, as it’s cheap to get into, fun and highly competitive. I’m not stereotyping banger racing as a sport for the working class, but that’s generally the demographic of people who attend the races to spectate. The races are performed in quick succession, one after another in a very swift manor. There’s hardly any waiting around between races, as the next race is on in literally minutes. It keeps the spectators happy and drivers buzzing. Although as of recently Birmingham wheels has been the host of popular drifting academy Learn 2 Drift.

Learn 2 Drift is a small business that is rapidly taking off and run by BDC semi pro driver Andy Arnott and his team. They travel around the country at places like Santa Pod, Rockingham, Brands Hatch, Birmingham and Teesside Autrodome teaching people the fundamentals of how to drift. Customers pay £199 for a half day tuition session which I attended, the students will be taught how to doughnut, figure of 8’s, transitions and 3 high speed passenger laps – approximately 30 minutes of solid driving time. There are opportunities for extra tuition of course, alternatively there are also full day sessions which is roughly 105 minutes of driving time with much more advanced techniques taught for £385. The Learn 2 Drift business is rapidly booming thanks to the popularity and awareness of the drifting sport, as well as internet advertising on websites such as Groupon.

Photographing the day was pretty challenging simply because of one thing, the sun. Every angle I tried to get was obscured or ruined by the sun, the car is either in the bright sunshine, or deep in the dark shadows. So it was really difficult to get a good exposure, especially with the fast movements of the cars. I feel like I did okay, it wasn’t my best images, but it’s not tragic. I feel as if it’s just average photography on my part. I did struggle a little, im not going to lie. I tried to get creative and unique with framing, leading lines and reflections. I also tried to be unique in the way that I tried to use a wide variety of lenses. I didn’t want to stick to my 70-200 like I normally do. I usually get really lazy when it comes to drifting photography, I tend to just walk around with the 70-200 on as I can’t be bothered to change lenses, which is really damaging my photography, it’s a bad habit I need to get out of. Therefore with this day I decided to use the 17-40 whenever I wasn’t photographing the cars on track, for a wider perspective and to have variety in my shots.

I wanted to focus more on Andy teaching the students rather than just the cars whizzing around on track. Initially I wanted my story to focus on Andy, and how he’s bought his business up from scratch with an idea. But this didn’t happen as I didn’t get the shots I wanted. Well I didn’t get enough I should say. I got plenty of photographs of Andy actually teaching the students, but it doesn’t make an interesting story and is very very repetitive. Therefore I decided to look at the Learn 2 Drift academy in general, how it operates and the service it provides for the students.  There still is a lot of repetition in this series, as it’s all pretty similar in the subject matter. Cars going round a set course with people learning to drift.

Getting the access to photograph Andy and the Learn 2 Drift crew was fairly difficult, to which I am thankful for the online blog being a feature this year. But I’ll touch on that in a little while. I messaged Andy on Facebook with my intensions of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, I offered to give him the images as a thank you gesture. He replied a few days later saying it was fine for me to come along, but didn’t give any information on where they’d be or when they’d be there, until Saturday before around 2am. So I didn’t even know I was photographing until literally a few hours before I was meant to leave. Back onto how the blog affected me getting access to Andy… Andy must have googled his name or googled Learn 2 Drift to find my post on talking about how I know of Andy and when I first photographed him. He then shared it on Facebook and tagged me in it saying thank you for the nice words. He then private messaged me saying that it was okay for me to come down on Sunday to photograph. I feel that because of the blog and the words I wrote about Andy and his business, as well as writing down my ideas and intentions it gave Andy a more detailed idea of what I wanted to do. Which then in turn gave him a better understanding of what I was trying to achieve. For that, I am thankful that the blogs exist, because if it wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t have got the access and permission to photograph him and his team.

As a result of the really late notice, I couldn’t really manage my time appropriately. I didn’t even know if I was shooting the Learn 2 Drift squad until the day before, so I panicked and photographed the banger racing at Birmingham Wheels. Anthony and the rest of the class really liked the images from the banger and stock car race, but in my opinion there was no story there. It was just images of racing around an oval. I didn’t get anywhere near enough people shots as I’d have liked. The racing images were decent but the darkspots and noise from the sensor were hideous, as I was shooting on 3200 ISO, as the lighting was so bad. The floodlights were terrible at night. So until about a month before the deadline, I had no idea of what to photograph. I was pretty worried that I would have to change my idea yet again. But I’m glad the Learn 2 Drift thing worked out as it is a much stronger story.

I filled my 16GB card this day as I was shooting RAW all day, I normally would shoot JPEG Large, but as this was for university and I wanted a little extra leeway with my exposure, I chose to shoot RAW. Editing the images down was a hard job considering I took over 700 images. Firstly I went through and edited it down to half the images, basically rejecting all the ones that weren’t sharp or blurry. I then chose to do an edit of 20, show it to the class to get feedback then edit it down to the 8 images that was needed. I wanted to mix the images up and didn’t want car picture after car picture for the whole sequence. So I decided to do person shot, car shot, person shot car shot etc. I also wanted car shots to be very different from each other. I wanted to show that I actually did move around the track trying to get different angles as much as possible. I think I chose the strongest images, but everyone’s opinion is different.

Am I happy with the images? Like I said early and in the blog throughout, they’re okay, they’re not amazing and they’re not bad. They are very reparative, some would even say boring, but I tried my best to get something new and interesting rather than just the everyday fill the frame style that other photographers tend to adopt. I don’t like how they look on an online slideshow, they work much better as a flipbook on paper. Slideshows on wordpress simply kills it, which makes it look pretty bad in my opinion. I would have rather have made 10×8 prints or something rather than tiny online slideshow on wordpress.

I feel like I’ve spoken about 001 to death, onto the thing that I enjoyed the most, 002. I didn’t have an idea up until a few weeks ago. I was walking down Cheltenham high street when I was approached by three young men. They were missionaries from the Latter Day church in Cheltenham, they were Mormons. I don’t know a thing about Mormons and was intrigued to find out more about their beliefs and way of life. I wanted to know more about the three young men that I had just met, as one was from America, the other from Canada and the third from Cheltenham. I wanted to know their story and what led them to come to Cheltenham. I got in touch with the two foreign men, Elder Ross and Elder Shumway and asked If I could join them for Sunday service at their church to video interview them. They were more than happy to have me there and welcomed me in such a nice manor, they even gave me a nice tour of the church.

I’ve never shot a full real life documentary video like this before, so I could only go off things that I had watched previously, like other documentaries, YouTube and films. I knew the technical skills, such as the shutter speed had to be double that of your frame rate, but didn’t know much else like framing, movement or audio. I think it shows in the video. I wanted to keep some movement in the video, so I started to walk down the isle videoing the pews, leaning into the hymn book and panning up onto their faces for example. I really really enjoyed videoing them and it was such a great and reliving feeling watching the video playback when it was all done and uploaded. I felt much more sense of accomplishment from making the video than I do when capturing images. I feel that I have created something, something I am proud of, rather than an image I’ve just captured and quickly edited.

As I’ve spoken about in detail on the blog, I do have quite a lot of video editing experience from my time editing video game videos for YouTube. Which really did help when it came to editing the video for 002. I managed to edit it and upload it that night within about 4 hours after shooting it. It also helps as I know what resolution and frame rates I needed for the project track. I edited it on Sony Vegas Pro 10. The same software I edited all my video game videos.

I did have to go back and re edit some of the clips in the video, as in version 1 of the video, there was a clip or two with my tripod in the background. I also had to remove a shot that looked very similar to a shot a few clips before. I recorded 88 odd clips of details around the church, videos of the two guys socialising and other filler footage, so I had plenty to replace it with, but didn’t notice it until one of the class member suggested it. It also gave me an excuse to go back and play with the audio levels of the video. As there was an annoying hiss throughout the whole video from the shotgun mic levels not being correct. A mistake on my part.

Target audience, my target audience is for people very similar to me, people who don’t know much about Mormons or religion, that want to get more information on what a missionary is, what they believe and how they operate. I feel that my video clearly covers these points fairly well. I asked 10 people for feedback, and they all confirmed that the video clearly justifies those points raised.

Storyboard, I’ve never done one but I wanted it to be unique to the ones I googled to look at online. They all looked boring and very factual, I wanted to do a storyboard in a very artsy, detailed yet not boring way. I wrote down the vital information I needed to know such as the resolution, frame rates and bitrate, as well as equipment used, target audience and intentions of the video.

Overall I really enjoyed shooting the video, probably more than taking photos in this case. I felt like I was creating something special when recording the footage, rather than just snapping an image. I felt like I was part of the video, I made it. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I was editing the video as I actually put a lot of work and effort into creating something. The way I saw it was that I wanted to create something that I’d actually watch. I’ve spent countless hours on YouTube in my 19 years, so I have a lot of knowledge of videos and what does/doesn’t work. One of the main things I don’t like about this video is that it ends too abruptly. It sort of just cuts to black, I tried to slow this down by fading it out to black, but it wasn’t good enough. It still ends just as quick and there’s not much else I can do to keep in the 3 minute deadline.

Last but not least, 003 Narrative Landscape, my weakest part of this module. I decided to photograph the closure of the Cheltenham racecourse boot sale, as I saw the article in the Gloucestershire Echo with the announcement of the closure a few weeks ago. I was interested into why it was shutting down, as when I went there last year it was booming. I wanted to go down to the boot sale, interact with the vendors and get their views/opinions on why the racecourse is deciding to shut it down for good. Although I had to think about my “narrative” at the same time.

Most of the images I took were of people looking around the goods from the vendors. But where’s the “narrative”? Well in my mind the whole thing is a narrative of the landscape. The boot sale is only once a week normally, and once they shut it down it’s gone and forgotten about. There are some comments and views on the Gloucestershire Echo of people complaining and objecting, but other than that, there’s not much of a fight to keep it alive. The whole story is about the boot sale, capturing its last days, documenting what once was.

Scanning and printing was pretty dire, it took a hell of a long time to get the films scanned, as the film was so curved that it was pretty much impossible to get a clean scan. So I had to use the flatbed Epson scanners in Hardwick, then flatten the film. They scanned cleanly, but they aren’t the highest resolution, which shows in the final A3 prints. I printed with Matt, and the prints aren’t as good as I wanted them to be. The quality isn’t great up close. I also decided to put them with a white border around the whole outside of the image to separate them from the background

I faced quite a few problems and troubles from the Boot Sale, worst of all was my incompetence with the Mamiya 645 medium format camera, pretty much every other shot is hideously out of focus. I presume it’s just me not being used to the camera, but it looked perfectly fine in the viewfinder. I don’t know what went wrong, the only thing that I noticed was that the focus and aperture ring was really stiff. I doubt that had any effect on my photos though. It was 100% my fault. You can see how I talked about it on my blog. I talk about everything on the blog. Another problem that I faced which was again my own problem was that I wished that I bought my Olympus pocket sound recorder along, so I could get some quotes from the people I was talking to, as I spoke to 5 stall vendors and I didn’t get one of their names. So I had to resort to using the flyer that the manager was handing out at the boot sale to get all my quotes from. I wish I had taken it along and got some ambient noise at least, as every single person was talking about the closure coming up in a few weeks. It was very sad actually.

I don’t really like my narrative landscape images, I enjoyed using the Mamiya again, but didn’t like the photographs I produced. I just think they’re very similar and boring in a sense. I like the tones from the film I used, but other than that, they aren’t as good as I want them to be. I would also like them to be square format.

Overall I have enjoyed this module a lot, it’s opened my eyes to the world of video which I really love. I’ve enjoyed every part of the module to be honest, it’s been a good module to do for out first module for the first semester of second year. I enjoyed the video most of all honestly, I really wanted to do video production for a long time and this module has given me an incentive to actually get cracking at it. It’s my first time dong a video of this calibre and I feel like I’ve done well. I am proud of what i’ve achieved. However I do have one squabble with this module, the only blogs/evaluation confused me a lot. Even though I have done it, I don’t necessarily see the point of doing an evaluation of this sort for this module as I have evaluated my work throughout on the blog in just as much detail as I’ve said here. I enjoyed blogging more this module, but at some times I wished I had a sketchbook in front of me, especially for research purposes. I would have liked to scan and paste in book/magazine articles in a sketchbook manor, which you can’t really do on an online blog as it’s meant to be more professional. At least that’s how I feel about it. It’s online for the world to see, so it needs to be to a certain standard. In my opinion. I feel like I’ve done the best I can for this module, I have aimed for a high grade with the quality of my work as well as the supporting material. I think I’ve fallen in love with video production.

001 Research – Ian Blackett

There’s not much to research with this subject. I could obviously look at motorsport and drifting photographers in general, but that’s too broad in my opinion. No one really photographs the little drifting academy shools in a Documentary fashion. So I guess i’m going to have to.

First of all i’m going to look at Ian Blackett of Blackett Photography, Learn 2 Drift’s resident photographer that travels with the L2D crew around the country photographing. I met with Ian when I shot the academy day and had a really nice chat with him about cars, photography, his past and his business. Blackett is one of the only motorsport photographers that I know that is actually making a living of it without being supported by big businesses. He’s started from scratch and it’s his own independent business.

So how does he do it? It’s a really smart way he works, in the safety briefing at the start of the day he announces who he is and what he’s doing. He then says if anyone would like pictures for X amount for 30 digital or printed images, please see me over the to side after the briefing. This way all the students know who he is and that there’s an opportunity to have some photographs of the day. Once the students have signed up, he gives them a brightly coloured magnet to stick on the drivers door of the car with a number on. This is to identify who the driver is, as well as letting Ian know who has paid for photos from those who hasn’t- which allows Ian to only photograph the paying customers, saves memory, saves time and is a really smart way of organizing the photographs.

On the day, Ian was shooting with a Canon 1D Mk4 with a 100-300mm L lens. He also gave me some very good tips on what sort of settings he generally uses, panning, business and marketing advice and also told me to think about using Auto ISO. I’ve never really considered auto ISO for motorsport, but Ian recommended it to me, and it’s actually a really useful too. You can set your shutter speed and aperture and shoot away without having to worry about the changing light. Auto ISO sorts out the varying lighting seamlessly.

What else is there to know about Ian? He is also the resident photographer at Santa Pod since 2005. He photographs pretty much every event there year in year out. From drag racing to drifting he’s there photographing. Ian’s probably the hardest working photographer I know. He attends every drift event without fail, making money every week, from prints as well as digital downloads. The way Ian works on drift days is also really smart. He explained this to me at Birmingham. He aims to get around 50 pictures of each car from the day. He’d then edit it down on the day to about 35 of each car and then post on the Driftworks forum (biggest UK drifting forum) with the number plate of the car as well as the amount of images he has of it. The owner of the car then contacts Ian and paypals him £2.50 for a preview of the images and a free signature for the forum with Ians logo on as well as a logo of the track. The driver can then contact Ian about purchasing the rest of the images. He also has a van with an employee working on the laptop showing customers images of the day from the van. He also has printing capabilities inside the van. I think it’s a really smart way of working and gets around any problem of copyright quickly and efficiently.

Here’s an example from the Driftworks forum.

Untitled-1

and here’s an example of the images he takes, the ones with the signature image below the normal image is an example of what people pay £2.50 for.

Untitled-3 Untitled-2 Untitled-4 Untitled-5

I learnt alot from Ian, I even have bought images from him before. Here’s the image I bought of myself drifting.

1123_10151731272059993_1586894327_n

001 Image Selection

A Day with Learn 2 Drift

 

“I spent a day with Andy Arnott, the owner of Learn 2 Drift; a drifting academy which teaches students the fundamental skills of drifting. People travel from across the country to join Learn 2 Drift on their school days. I wanted to photograph what goes on in a days teaching at Birmingham Wheels. Andy and his team travel across the country every week teaching people across England at places such as Brands Hatch, Birmingham Wheels, Skegness, Santa Pod, Teesside, and Rockingham.

This is a day with Learn 2 Drift.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

001 Research – Sophie Green

I was looking on the British Journal of Photography this evening to see a photograph of what looked like banger racing. I then googled the artists name (Sophie Green) and found her portfolio website. I was amazed at the quality of work shown and love the perspective of how she has photographed a banger race. She takes the insight of a spectator taking an inner look at the subtle details and spectators around the event with a very up close and personal attitude to it. She also chooses to focus on the people behind the drivers and starts to take a look at the spectators which helps justify what sort of crowd banger racing appeals to. I love the way her photographs are shot! Fairly wide, shallow depth of field and amazing lighting!

Here’s her website:  http://www.sophiegreenphotography.com/bangers-smash/

and here’s the BJP article: http://www.bjp-online.com/2014/10/ideastap-and-magnum-award-shortlist-announced/

R_7.jpg

I love how her images show the underground/working class nature associated with banger racing. By choosing subjects and details suitable, you can really get a feel and insight into the lives of the people who participate as well was spectate this type of motorsport.

R_6.jpg

I also love these detail shots of the food being served from the event, it’s such a small thing, but alternatively gives a very clear understanding to the demographic of the venue/spectators. People often say dont judge a book by it’s cover, that’s kind of what’s happening here. We’re judging the venue/sport/spectators on the quality of food being served at the event.

I love Sophies work, her “tomorrows people” portraits are outstanding! – As a result of seeing her work with the tomorrows people charity, I have just emailed 3 charities about the possibility of photographing. If i don’t get anywhere with being able to photograph, i’ll volunteer for a while, make friends and hopefully get to know them close enough so that I could come back and photograph them. In short, seeing her work has made my want to focus my efforts on working with charities.

First Shoot – Learn 2 Drift

11th November

I went down to Birmingham Wheels again on Sunday the 11th November for my first shoot with Learn 2 Drift. Thankfully they were teaching at Birmingham wheels again this month, so Andy sent me a facebook message the day before saying they’d be there.

Funny story about that actually, I was tagged in a post from Andy late Saturday night on Facebook. I click on the link to find it’s my uni work blog. He must have googled himself and found the blog address with me talking about how I found the Learn 2 Drift Team/School. Here’s what he tagged me in on Facebook.

Photo 11-11-2014 03 58 28 pm Photo 11-11-2014 03 58 37 pm

Andy also left a very nice comment on that post with the following:

Untitled-1

As you can see, I literally got the go ahead at like 2am Saturday night.

I went down on Sunday very early with a coffee in hand eager to photograph Andy and the drift school.

The day started off with an obligatory drivers/safety briefing in the office behind the track, where Andy would talk through the days proceedings as well as the safety briefing.

IMG_8901

IMG_8931

Then the drivers were taken to the cars and immediately started off the day learning how to do donuts. They started off with the instructors demonstrating what to do with them in the passenger seat. Then they would swap and the students would have a go at doing the basic doughnut.

IMG_8954

IMG_9077

After they had mastered the doughnut, the students would then be taught the basics of weight transfer by completing a small chicane section which would teach and show them the feeling of drifting the car from one side to the other – this is called a transition. Ofcource the instructors would demonstrate this first with the student in the passenger seat.

IMG_9097

IMG_9293

IMG_9319

IMG_9351

IMG_9391

Finally the students would be a passnger in 5 high speed passenger laps, where the instructors would take the cars out in pairs and aim to drift in proximity of the car in front. This is called tandem in the drifting world. This is to simulate the type of drifting seen in the British Drift Championships. It would also give the students an insight into what drifting actually is like when paired up with another car. Fast, adrenaline pumping fun.

IMG_9219      IMG_9559 IMG_9621 IMG_9649

I maxed out my 16gb card by the end of the first session, straight after this group finished, another was sent in to the briefing room to get signed up. I only stayed for one session and had to head off. I said goodbye to Andy, and Ian, the professional photographer there who i got talking to who gave me a lot of useful tips. Especially in regards to my nightclub photography. He gave me alot of useful ideas and printers and ways to make money. Awesome bloke to talk to. I’ve actually bought some images off him in the past from Drifting.

Also. here’s the appropriate Risk Assessment which i filled out the day of the event.

Risk Assesment 01

Risk Assesment 02

I know motorsport is dangerous and there are many problems that could arise, but i’ve been around motorsport and have been photographing around tracks since my early teens. So in a sense, i’ve become a custom to it and have always abided by the rules. They’re pretty straight forward, dont get in the way and always keep an eye on whats going on. If you’re moving around the track, do so in a safe maner far enough away from the live circuit that you’re not a walking target. It’s pretty simple. But for sakes of this assignment, here’s a brief Assessment written up using the UOG link.

On another note, I am also fully PLI insured up to £5m . So in the case of me being in an accident whilst photographing, I am fully covered besides kit.

Banger Racing at Birmingham Wheels – 26th October

I traveled over to Birmingham to go to photograph some banger/f1 stock car racing on a freezing cold Saturday evening, a few hours before work. I wanted to photograph the banger racing as my previous idea of photographing the Learn 2 Drift team has kind of fell through, with no more chances to photograph them in Birmingham. Therefore I wanted to just turn up to an event and photograph it, to get a taste if what the Birmingham Wheels track was like. Turns out very dark, dingy and run down.

IMG_4865

The event was from 5pm-11pm, which meant the night time lighting would have to be on. Which turned out to be awful. Black spots almost everywhere, yellow casts and uneven lighting across the whole track. Which makes i extremely hard to photograph, let alone pan.

IMG_5327

I found that the stock car racing was actually alot of fun to watch. Fairly high speed and bumper to bumper action with the occasional love tap. I didn’t expect them to reach such high speed either.

IMG_5251

The crowds in the stands were a mix of young kids watching with their family, drivers, working class men and older men who seemed to have grown up watching and driving stock cars over the years. It brings me back to my childhood, as my dad would take me to watch banger racing once a month at Arena Essex. My uncle used to do banger racing also, there’s tons of photos and videos of him racing around at home from when he was around my age back in 1994 or so.

IMG_4820

IMG_5324

IMG_5347

I dont know where this project is going. I’ve lost track of what I want to do. Speaking to Anthony, he suggested to make contact with some of the drivers and photograph them as they setup, prepare to race and packing up. So i’m going to have a look around on some forums and try to find drivers willing to participate.

Here’s a few more pictures of the bangers.

IMG_4970

IMG_5031

IMG_5039

IMG_5051

IMG_5369

IMG_5397

Mid Module panic

So, things aren’t going very good at the moment, I’ve asked Andy on Facebook last week if it was okay to come and photograph his team. He was really happy and okay with it initially and was more than happy for me to photograph his business and team. Andy fb

Although lately, the conversation of me coming down to Birmingham has slowed quite alot recently. I’ve stayed in contact with him and have tried to ask when he’ll next be in Birmingham, but I only receive one word answers or no answers in some cases. So im kind of panicing. It’s getting further into the module and time is running out, I need to shoot something and find a decent story. I could probably stick with this idea, but it will be left super late to the deadline. Which I do not want to do.

So I may take a trip down to Birmingham Wheels Raceway this Saturday to photograph the ‘Halloween Spooktacular’ which involves Banger racing and BriSCA F1 Stock Cars which look like this.

It’s a very low end level style of Motorsport with a sort of “grassroots” and banger style to it. Many drivers are working class heros with a full times job, no sponsors, no support and all out of pocket, just for the fun of taking part in Motorsport. Often these classes of Motorsport are used as gateways into other, more popular forms of Motorsports. Like a ladder system in a way. You start with bangers, then end up racing around Silverstone in a GT2 race car. At least that’s the dream.

I’m going to go to Birmingham Wheels Raceway to photograph this Halloween event this Saturday, just in case my L2D idea falls through and it gives me an excuse to photograph racing which is awesome. Here’s the timetable for the next 3 weeks at Birmingham Wheels.

BW Timetable

http://www.spedeworth.co.uk/incarace/venue.php?name=Birmingham

I’m going to call the track office on 0121 771 0725 to try to arrange track side access, so I can shoot on the infeild and not be restricted to behind the barriers. I’ve done it before at drift events, but my Public Liability Insurance ran out in March, which is often needed to photograph Motorsports events.

How did I find Learn 2 Drift?

I’ve known of Andy Arnott, the owner of the ever growing Learn 2 Drift business since I started photographing drifting in the early days in the British Drift Championships and Practice Days. I’ve seen and photographed him drive along side his team which used to be known as Slide School Drift Academy – which later was renamed to Learn 2 Drift (L2D) throughout 2012/2013/2014.

 

The first time I ever saw Andy drive was at Awesomefest 2o11, at Mallory Park. Awesomefest is hard to describe, but the name pretty much states it all. A 3 days event packed of drifting, BMX, live music, motocross, night time drifting and a ton of modified cars. There had never been an event to such a large scale before. Awesomefest was bonkers, I only went for the Saturday with my dad, but it was unreal. The day was mixed between a general track/drift day with high speed passenger runs in the full completion spec cars used in the BDC. The Vibe alongside the Motocross track going, BMX’ers in the air and live DJ sets throughout the day was outstanding. Unfortunately Awesomefest was a one off occurrence as they never got permission to re do the event the following year. Sadly, I dont think an event that big will ever hit the UK again. This was also the first time I saw Andy drive, in the same S14 shell he’s driving today.

5992393572_5e5b2ed1b3_o

5992632908_ae70ab1fa9_o

 

I then decided to add Andy on Facebook, as much of the drifting community begins with the simple notion of a friend request. Its rare to find a drifter with no one drift related on their Facebook, it’s our way of socializing. Then BDC took place at Norfolk Arena in June 2012, where Andy and his L2D team would compete. This would be the second time I would see/photograph Andy drifting. Here is an image from that event of Andy along with his driver Jamie Kenyon.

7332165562_46f0914905_k

British Drift Championship 2012 - Round 2 Norfolk Arena

 

The team/cars have gone through many extravagant vynl jobs over the years.

The next time I would see Andy/Jamie would be at BDC Round 1 at Lydden Hill in April 2014. With yet another eye catching paint job.

8658554713_b635e65a27_o 8658585867_95cd32c487_o 8659905390_147079666d_o

That was the last time I photographed Andy/L2D. Although I do still have him on Facebook and we have chatted a few times.

 

Recently my very good friend Callum Craddy has become an instructor at the L2D team, teaching the pupils the basics of how to drift. I’ve known Callum  for years and is the main reason i’m able to get access for this project. Callum has also recently started to compete in the BDC as part of the L2D team. He has a media channel on YouTube to which he uploads all of his GoPro footage of his times with the L2D team. Here are three videos I think are worth a watch.

 

 

 

This is one of Callums more well made video of a drift practice day at Teesside.

 

I intend to photograph the L2D team on one of their teaching days at Birmingham Wheels Raceway and try to capture the teamwork spirit and banter that goes on during their time. I also want to try to capture and promote the L2D business, as it’s growing rapidly with the help of special Groupon Deals which can be found online with the added popularity and interest of the ever growing sport that is drifting.