Jeff's Blog

To Infineon and Beyond!

by Jeffrey Dahl on Apr.09, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I got up at 7AM this morning.  I had packed most of my stuff last night so I didn’t have a whole lot to do before loading up my truck and heading out for the airport.  The traffic was very light on the drive to the airport and I arrived well ahead of my flight time.  I was also using a different company for parking on this trip so I needed to find their lot.  Thanks to the GPS on my iPhone I found it with no problem.  I was very surprised with how quickly I got through security this time too.  The last few flights I’ve had no problems at all.  I arrived at the gate an hour and a half early and settled in waiting for the flight.

I had a couple of new challenges when packing this time.  Because of a mandatory meeting for my “day job” that I need to attend this coming monday, I also needed to bring my work computer with me.  So I had to figure out how to pack and carry on two laptops.  I was able to put the Dell (work computer) in my photo backpack and my Macbook in the stretch pocket on my roller bag.  I also had to figure out how to pack my new belt component system, (it is going to get it’s initial tryout this weekend), because it really doesn’t lend itself to being a carry on item.  I was able to stuff the components on top of other gear in the roller bag.

It was a good flight.  It is becoming pretty routine for me since I have been doing my fair share of flying lately.  I arrived in Oakland in the early afternoon and picked up my rental car.  After leaving the airport I headed north toward the track.  I wanted to check in and get my credentials so I would be ready to go when I arrived at the track on Saturday morning.  After signing the waiver at the the gate, I headed to the media center and picked up my credentials.

I wanted to take a few shots of the practice sessions before heading north to my cousin’s house where I would be staying for the weekend.  This race is pretty low key so I was able to drive to turn 2 where I knew the lighting would be good for the afternoon.  Blue sky and sunshine today but the forecast for the rest of the weekend is for rain.  I shot for an hour or so and then packed up and headed north towards Healdsburg.

I’m looking forward to the weekend!

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Working on Galleries, Slowly!

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.31, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I’ve been working on galleries from the HMSA event that I attended a few weeks ago.  I have been posting the galleries as I finish them to nwspeedshots.com and Smugmug.  I decided to split the galleries into the run groups since it makes it easier for people to locate the images they are interested in.  It’s a bit more work, but I think it is worth it.   As always, I touch every image (crop, adjust, spot,…) before they get posted.

I have been very slow at getting my galleries done so far this year.  Unfortunately my “day job” and some family matters have been taking precedence over this work.  Hopefully I will be able to catch up soon.

This afternoon I called Pam at Victory Lane Magazine to check on my credentials for the CSRG Season Opener that I will be attending next week.  I always like to make sure things are in order before arriving at a track.  It’s so much easier than trying to scramble once I get there and is a lot less stressful.

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A Weekend Off

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.21, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I took the weekend off from shooting motorsports.  Noreen, the dogs, and I went to Yachats, one of our favorite places on the Oregon coast for some rest and relaxation.  It had been a while since we had been there and I was hoping to get some new landscape images for my portfolio.

From almost the moment we arrived I felt pretty out of touch with this style of photography.  Since I have been focusing so much on motorsports photography these last few years, I found it extremely hard to shoot landscapes again.  I felt so out of my element.  It is definitely a different style of photography and requires a lot different mindset.  It is true that “practice makes perfect” and I felt far from “perfect” this weekend.

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Details, Details

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.18, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I started going through the images on Tuesday evening. I’m not able to work on the images during the day since I have work at my “day job” and that is my first priority. That is why sometimes it takes a week or two to get my galleries up on all the sites. It can be frustrating but that is just the reality right now.

I first wanted to get a DVD together for submittal to Victory Lane magazine. I haven’t yet submitted images from the first two events of the year so I figured I would do it all at once and get it sent off to them before leaving for the coast this weekend. Victory Lanes likes shots with multiple cars in them. For cover shots, they want vertical format images. I’m trying to get better at these type of shots. I’ll get the DVD sent off in the morning before we head out.

I also got an image of myself sent off to HMSA so that they can make my credentials (hard card) for using at their events this year. I signed the waiver at Thunderhill, so they just needed an image to finish it up. I should get it by the time I get back next week.

Before heading off to bed, I made flight reservations for the HMSA event at Laguna Seca for the third weekend in April and rental car reservations for the event at the beginning of April at Infineon. So much to do, so little time.

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Back to Seattle

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.15, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

Our original plan was to leave the track after the race on Sunday and drive all the way back to Portland. That was probably a little bit too optimistic (even though I had it easy since Bob was doing the driving!). We made it as far as Medford last night and checked into the cheapest hotel we could find (a motel 6). I was able to go through a few images but since my master Lightroom catalog is on my desktop at home, it was only to just review them and to see what I had captured at the event. Fortunately I have a bit of time when I get home to go though them all.

We arrived at Bob apartment in the early afternoon. I transferred my gear to my truck, got on the freeway, and headed for home. I arrive home in the early evening happy to see Noreen and all our animals. Tomorrow the real work begins once again.

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Getting Back in Rhythm

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.14, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I slept well last night and woke up before the alarm went off.  That is pretty unusual for me.  I’m a night owl by nature but was pretty tired after the full day of shooting yesterday.  After checking out of the hotel, it was off to Starbucks like yesterday for the morning brew.

It was much easier this morning arriving at the track since I already had our credentials for the weekend.  Also having yesterday’s experience under my belt,  I had at least an idea of where I wanted to shoot for the day.  Since we got to the track pretty early, Bob and walked over by turn 14 to scope out some new shooting locations.  I decided to start my day shooting there.

I shot a few shots at the location we had scouted out but I really wasn’t getting the shots I wanted.  So I worked my way back around turn 14 to where I could capture the cars cresting over a rise and under the foot bridge.  I shot there all morning and got some interesting head on shots and some pans against the green hills.

For the afternoon, I crossed over to the other side of the track at turn 14.  I am always very cautious when crossing a track, even when it is “cold” (no cars on the track).  I waited for the corner worker to show up and asked permission to cross.  He said, “come on over”.  It is very important that I get an “ok” from a course worker before crossing since they know what is going on on the track (they are in radio contact).  Better safe than sorry.  I shot all afternoon in the field between turns 14 and 8.  The lighting was really good and I think I got a lot of good images.

After the last race was finished, we packed up the car and started heading north towards home.  It feels good to be getting back in the rhythm of shooting again.

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The Green Hills of Thunderhill

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.13, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

Woke up to a sunny, cool morning.  It’s definitely not summer yet.  After getting equipment organized and loaded in the car, it was across the parking lot to Starbucks for a coffee and scone.  They are everywhere, aren’t they!

We arrived at the track in plenty of time since it was only a few minutes drive from the hotel.  We stopped at the gate and signed the mandatory insurance waiver, then headed off to registration to get our credentials which this time was a pink hospital type wrist band.

This being the first time at this track I wanted to ask someone where the good locations were.  Other photographers have always been very friendly and helpful when it comes to this advice, and today was no exception.  With my new found knowledge, now I was ready to start shooting!

I spent the morning shooting head on shots with a long lens hoping to get some nice bunched up group shots.  The green rolling hills made for a great background.  I hear that later in the year the hills turn brown and aren’t nearly as photogenic.  But today they were perfect and saturated with nice morning light.

In the afternoon I moved up on a hill overlooking turn 1.  With the sun at my back, I thought it would be a good location to shoot from.  It was not very close to the track but I  figured that I could reach it with my long glass.  As it turned out, it really wasn’t the best location to shoot from.  It just didn’t match my style of shooting.  I got a few good images but nothing spectacular.  With the first set of races completed, I started heading back toward the pits to find some different locations to shoot from where the sun would be at my back.  On my way I noticed a cutout in the fence looking right down the front straightaway.  I had totally missed seeing it on the way up to the hill.  I shot there the rest of the the day and got some good head on and pan shots as they entered turn 1.

I am still a bit rusty from not shooting events during the winter.  I forgot to format my memory cards last night and it really messed me up.  I have a “system” I use for empty versus full cards.  Not formatting the cards really threw me off.  It just makes it harder to know I’ve downloaded all the images when I get back to the hotel.

With racing completed for the day, we loaded our gear and headed back into town for a bite to eat.  Then back to the hotel to the familiar routine of downloading images to both my Hyperdrive and laptop and getting ready for tomorrow.

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On the Road Again

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.12, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

Got up early this morning to drive down to Portland to meet Bob.  We are off to an HMSA event in Northern California this weekend.  After a 3 1/2 drive, I met Bob at his house and loaded my gear in his car.  I’m glad he is willing to drive.  We left his place around 1 PM got on Interstate 5 and began our nearly 500 mile journey to Willows, CA.

The trip was mostly uneventful and I was fortunate to be able to sleep a bit in the car.  We ran into a little bit of snow on the passes in southern Oregon and northern California.  The only real hazard we encountered was from the highway department gravel trucks spewing rocks at Bob’s car.  Hopefully it didn’t do too much damage.

We arrived at the hotel in Willows late in the evening and checked in.  After taking our gear to the room, we met one of our photographer friends who was also staying at the hotel and talked for a bit.  Then it was back to the room to get prepared for tomorrow and for a good night’s sleep.

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First Gallery of the Year

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.07, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I posted the first of three galleries from last weekend’s event in Fontana.  When the images are ready to go I still have to add a watermark to each image.  Then I can create the actual gallery images.  Once that is done, I post a gallery on the nwspeedshots site, create a entry in the nwspeedshots blog, and upload all the images to Smugmug.  This being the first vintage event of 2010, I also needed to create the “carousel” page for 2010 vintage events on nwspeedshots.com.  I didn’t have the correct software to do it so I called Walt and he quickly built a page for me.

I will be leaving for Thunderhill Raceway Park in northern California tomorrow so I‘ll have to finish up the other galleries next week.   It is always a challenge to get the galleries completed and posted before the next event rolls around.  It is especially hard when travel days cut into the time available for editing.

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The Real Work Begins

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.07, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

Started going through the images from the weekend.  I shot 2,500 images during the event.  First I have to go thought all the images and mark the ones that are usable.  Then comes the hard part of going through all those images and narrowing them down further.  Eventually, I will get them down to a reasonable number of images for posting. Once I’ve selected the images I want I still have lots of work to do to them.  I touch every images before they get posted to various websites.

I’m hoping to have a least one gallery posted before next weekend.  It is always a challenge to get the work done before the next event comes around. (continue reading…)

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Heading Home

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.07, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I stepped outside of the hotel this morning to see a new dusting of snow in the mountains.  The forecast for today in the lowlands is for showers.

Arrived at the track a bit later than we did on Saturday.  No sign of rain.  It is high overcast with some blue sky in the distance.  The cool overcast weather actually suits my cameras better than warn sunny conditions.  Heat is the achilles heal of my cameras so I don’t mind these conditions.  The light is better too.  I tried to find some different spots to shoot from today.  It’s nice to get a good variety of shots from the event. (continue reading…)

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Santa! What Are You Doing Here?

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.05, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

The morning started out with continental breakfast at the hotel.  After walking across the parking lot and getting the necessary morning “fuel” at Starbucks, it was off to the track.  We arrived by 8 AM.  It felt good to be back in the ritual of getting the equipment ready for the days’ shooting. Once ready, it was off the the infield to find a good shooting location.  I shot there most of the morning.  I felt much more like my old self today and felt I was getting some good images.  Right before lunch I drove to the outside of the track to get some shots from the “photo cages”.  I discovered that the ones I went to were locked so I wasn’t able to shoot there.  So I had to move to a plan B.  I hiked up to the top the grandstand and using the 500mm shot down on the track hoping to get a unique perspective of the cars. (continue reading…)

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Day 1

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.05, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

I got up at 4 AM this morning.  Everything was packed so I didn’t have much to do. After taking a quick shower, I got dressed, loaded up the truck and headed for the airport.  The great thing about this time in the morning, no traffic!  I parked my car and was shuttled to the airport. Check in and security was fast this morning.  No double checks of my bags this time.

My flights were uneventful.  I was able to catch a nap on the second flight.  I arrived on time in Ontario.  My friend Bob was waiting at baggage claim.  His flight arrived about a half hour before mine.  We are here to shoot a vintage event for Victory Lane magazine. (continue reading…)

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Here We Go!

by Jeffrey Dahl on Mar.04, 2010, under Jeff's Blog

And so it begins!  The start of a new racing season is upon us.  I have high hopes for the the upcoming year as I’m planning on shooting a lot of events.  Many more that I have shot in years past.  Opportunities should not be squandered when presented to you.  So I will take advantage of them while I can.

I’ve been been getting ready all day. Organizing gear, doing laundry, packing my suitcase, charging batteries, etc.  It is always hard to pack at the beginning of the year when you have been out of the routine for a while.  I always pack way too many clothes.  The important things are the cameras and lenses!  Oh and memory cards too!  I just don’t want to forget any of those.  I also need to make sure I have all my paperwork.   Airline ticket, drivers license and such. (continue reading…)

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