IndyCar at COTA and in Black and White

Circuit of the Americas isn’t exactly in my backyard but it is close enough that we didn’t think twice about booking tickets to the race. In years past, though we haven’t gone in the past few years, we have gone to Texas Motor Speedway to watch the IndyCar races. Very different but also very fun!

Anyways I took a combination of color and black and white, although am sharing just my black and white images here. I’m waiting on some E-6 development first and honestly the color shots from February didn’t turn out so well.

I took my Bronica SQ back in February. Bringing the SQ to a race track was an odd experiment. I had hoped to get more pit/paddock photos but unlike TMS, COTA didn’t seem quite as accessible for close up car shots and things. The limitation in shutter speed, and to a lesser extent the waist level finder was fairly limiting for action shots. The WLF is amazingly fun but not great for rapid composition (at least for me). Using a prism viewfinder with the SQ might have been better, but would have made the camera heavy. Also I don’t have a great zoom lens with it. The results were lots of blurry track action, unfortunately.

So for this last weekend, I just brought my Nikon N80 35mm instead and the results are quite a bit better. I do miss the tone of medium format a bit and still think it would be great for getting up close to the cars in the paddock but for race action, yeah, just not the best fit. Gotta give some credit to Nikon glass as well!

At the end of the day I’m glad I decided to go with film. We’ll see how the color turns out once I get that developed but the black and white is timeless and different. I knew I couldn’t nail shots as epic as guys using $3k zooms with press passes but still wanted to be creative. I also didn’t want to watch the whole race through the back of a DSLR and bringing film made me shoot less, ultimately. And that was a good thing.

I’ve since printed a few of these in the darkroom and have to say, darkroom prints look just so damn good! Film by itself is fun but making your own prints with your own hands is just something special and a look that is hard to replicate.