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Round One: Streets of Long Beach | Formula Drift 2015 | Thoughts on Media: An Eye Opener

Written by Rebecca Nguyen

Photography by Matthew Fink with a guest contribution from Kyle Lewis

[dropcap style=”style1″]A[/dropcap]pproved.  It is a strong word and an achievement.

For us media folk, that is the golden word to another opportunity. Access to events and areas that are not open to the public requires consistent and quality work. Events like Formula Drift acknowledge the power of the outside media and how much it can benefit their events and what they can provide to maximize production. Our Lead Photographer at Car Street Journal, Hans Marquez, had a great experience at Round One: Streets of Long Beach and says “Personally, the best experience I’ve had so far was being able to shoot next to the best in the industry, such as Larry Chen!”

IMG_4304-1_wmWith a designated media room stocked with complimentary water, snacks, coffee, media only elevated seating overlooking the first turn, and close proximity access to the track, pre-approved media outlets were set up for success.  Round One of Formula Drift was maxed out on approved media at a total of 200 persons, four of which were CSJ staff.  The amount of effort put into giving outside media staff the tools necessary to successfully cover the event was astounding.

The first day of this two day event was spent witnessing the unloading process for vendors and drivers, practice rounds in the early morning, and then the qualifying in the afternoon.

Open practice isn’t only for the drivers. On the side of media, we go through our own trial and errors.  From determining which lens and camera settings to use, along with finding the best shooting location, we spent the first day dialing everything in for the main event.

IMG_4187-1_wmIn between practice sessions and the qualifying runs CSJ would run back to our media tent to edit, write and evaluate what we’ve experienced so far.  For a seasoned Motorsports photographer, the necessary time for “practice” shots is much less due to the amount of experience.

According to Kyle Lewis, a photographer for Turbo by Garrett, “Formula Drift offers a variety of fun experiences for photographers. The cars are outrageous, the racing action is flamboyant, and the people are the reason why you never know what you might see at every event, and every new season.”

The gap between the inexperienced and experienced seemed to only be visible through equipment lugged around for hours, in direct sunlight around every inch of the track and complete event space.  From Nikon to Canon, full frame and not, the variety of equipment used was hard to keep track of.

IMG_4275-1_wmDuring the media meeting at Formula Drift Long Beach, one point of topic was what type of equipment was to be allowed for track usage and reminded media staff to not use their cell phones to submit a large portion of their coverage.

There seemed to be a mutual understanding amongst the media staff.  No one was trying to stand above the other.  In comparison to the flashy personalities of the drivers, the photographers are hidden behind their lenses while the journalists are scribbling in their notebooks. It’s unnecessary to stand out as a photographer, the work you produce will speak everything that needs to be said.

It is necessary to be thorough and productive at events like Round One: Streets of Long Beach of the Formula Drift series, that are reoccurring and require media to go through a screening process. The CSJ staff were required to submit previously published work that was evaluated before approval. Live coverage is also an important aspect of getting approved to attend these events.  If you can’t maintain a steady flow of live coverage, there is no need for you to attend the event and can make do with the press releases sent out.  Attending these events is a great opportunity that is continuously worked for.

“One bit of advice I would offer to any photographer trying to make it in Formula Drift,” Kyle Lewis said, “is just to not give up, it will take time and tenacity to gain recognition in this industry, you will give away a lot of photos before you get paid for one. But just be there for everything you can, catch those moments, and your time will come.”


Photo information provided by Kyle Lewis:

Nikon D300S

Nikon 70-200 f/2.8

Focal Length: 200mm

F-Stop: f/22

Exposure time: 1/100 second

ISO: 160
Photo information provided by Kyle Lewis:
Nikon D300S

Nikon 70-200 f/2.8

Focal Length: 70mm

F-Stop: f/20

Exposure time: 1/80 second

ISO: 160

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