For my Birthday, my wife kindly bought me tickets to the Blancpain GT Series at Brands Hatch. This was an event I was seriously looking forward to, having always been a GT fan, and also being at a circuit I had never visited before. The days before hand were filled with internet research trying to find the best locations for both unobstructed access to the cars and hopefully some great close racing, along with ensuring everything was charged, clean and ready to go.
The day involved a very early start as we had decided to drive down from Norfolk for the day rather than staying over. To make the most of the day, I was intending to be at the circuit when the gates opened especially as the pit walk was scheduled for the beginning of the day. The early pit walk was an absolute blessing, as we had to queue for around 45 minute before hand and I couldn’t help but notice the number of camera backpacks. It wasn’t long before conversation started and I began to get tips on were best to, or rather where best not to, be from a photography point of view. Doing the pit walk so early also meant there was a smaller crowd than normal, allowing Harry & I to get most of the drivers’ autographs and to see the cars up close before the racing began – I started the day with a very pleased son.
I was spoiled for choice with GT cars from all the top manufacturers – Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mercedes, McLaren, Bentley, Nissan & BMW. And to to it off, there was a supercar display with proud owners bringing along their road going versions of these superb machines.
As a rare treat, I took 2 cameras with me, my normal Nikon outfit along with a Canon EOS 450D – It made things a lot easier not needing to change lenses all the time, especially as the Canon had a 500mm zoom. The Canon got a lot of use as I wasn’t able to get as close to the circuit edge as I am used to from my trips to Snetterton. Having used the 500mm zoom a few times now I must say that this is now on the top of my wish list, especially with Nikon recently releasing a new AF-S 200-500mm zoom.
Another new experience for this trip was dealing with the track side fences. Unfortunately most of the bends are surrounded with chain link fences, which, although it is possible to shoot through these I found that the images looked good on camera, but when looking at them full size afterwards, it is possible to make out the pattern of the fence, looking like a watermark on the image. I did manage to find some areas with less restricted views, but it seems that the regulars at Brands Hatch get around this in a very simple way by bringing portable steps with them to get enough additional height to shoot over the fences.
Even the Great British weather did its part for this trip, staying dry and bright all day allowing for some great on track action. Hopefully you’ll agree that I managed to get some good shots of the cars in action.