Thursday, 5 April 2012

Michael Schumacher on his way to a win at the Monaco Grand Prix 2001

michael schumacher la rascasse monaco ferrari
I had to make this photo my first proper blog post, it's my favourite Formula One shot I've taken over the years. In 2001, my wife and I visited the Monaco Grand Prix for all three days, and this shot was taken during the race, from the small grandstand on the outside of the track just after La Rascasse - Michael went on to win the race, which makes this photo especially memorable for me. The grandstand (and I use that term loosely) was more like a bit of scaffolding bolted together, with a platform for ticket holders to stand on, there were no seats. I reckon a health & safety check would have allowed a maximum of 40 people in there...it was more like 100 on race day. Incredibly cramped and difficult to get a decent view. That is until I realised that if you climbed down the back, you could sneak round the side, where there was a narrow alley between the platform and the catch fencing.

What is interesting about this photo, is that is from my "pre digital SLR" days - I took it with an Olympus C2040Z with an EagleEye 5X telephoto lens bolted on. The catch fencing mentioned above had big enough holes for me to poke the EagleEye through, but there was no way you could get a standard SLR lens through them. I stood there for most of the second half of the race, carefully panning handheld as best I could, anticipating when the drivers would come round La Rascasse, and ended up with some great shots from the day.
You can read more about the EagleEye here and will see that this combination actually produced a prize winning photo for me! The photo competition was run by McLaren, for readers of their fan club magazine Racing Line, and I won first prize of a Canon EOS D30 digital camera (RRP £1600.00 at the time) as well as a  Canon 24-70mm F2.8 lens to go with it, for a photo of David Coulthard in the rain during a British Grand Prix at Silverstone...again, taken with the Olympus C2040Z/EagleEye combo.

The Olympus C2040Z was a great little camera (I still have it) with an Extremely bright F1.8-2.6 lens, with a 3X optical zoom, and 2 megapixel sensor (hey, it was 2001!), but winning the Canon gear took my photography to a whole new level


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