It’s that time of the year again – time to make the annual pilgrimage to “The Mountain” for the great race – the Supercheap Auto Bathurst, but do you have your camera packed?
Our first Photography Tips and Tricks article from Sydney Motorsport Park was a big hit among our readers and so we’ve got motorsport photographers Keith McInnes and Rhys Vandersyde back to share their expertise on how and where to get the best pictures around Mt. Panorama!
Bathurst’s Mt. Panorama circuit is called that for a very specific reason, it has some of the most scenic views of the V8 Supercar calendar. So it’s not only a great venue to photograph your favourite race cars and drivers, but you can get some great landscape shots as well.
Rhys: Starting on the Pit Straight there are some great opportunities to get photos of the cars on the grid, and at speed down the straight from both sides of the track (if you are lucky enough to have corporate tickets). From the grand-stand side of the track, you can sit on top of the General Admission spectator hill (so you are shooting over the safety fence) down toward Hell Corner and get great shots of the cars down the Pit Straight, through Hell Corner and then heading up Mountain Straight. You are relatively close to the action here, so regardless of your camera and lens you should be able to get some great shots, especially in the afternoon as the sun drops.
Turn 1 Hell Corner
Keith: Standing on the inside of Turn 1 is a good spot to see the cars coming out of the pits. You can get close to the cars and the pit exit and you can pan cars as they start to head up the mountain straight. The outside of the Turn 1 exit, can be fairly crowded as people set up for the whole day, but you can get a few shots with a long lens through or over people.
Turns 5 and 6
Keith: The outside of Turns 5 and 6 offer some great opportunities as you are close to the circuit and in a fairly elevated position. Shooting down onto the cars here can give you some great speed shots. Use a long lens or even wide to capture the background, on the driver side here too.
Turn 7 into Reid Park
Keith: You get a great head on shot here with a long lens as you can get a great view with the town in the background. The cars get close to the wall on the exit and a fair number of accidents have happened here over the years.
Turns 8, 9 and 10 Sulman Park and McPhillamy Park complex
Keith: The next best place is to head up to is Sulman Park. Spectators will again set up here for the whole day and you will see some ‘interesting’ characters providing you with some good opportunities to photograph the fans. You can get still some great shots of the cars here but you will most likely be shooting from the back of the crowds as they are all along the fence lines.
Rhys: The McPhillamy Park complex over the top of the mountain is a fantastic place to watch the cars dancing their way over the (in)famous grate and lining up for the next run down the mountain. As you wander around this section of the track there are plenty places around the outside of the circuit that offer great shots of the cars cresting over the hill and if you’re lucky, you might even get a shot of an unlucky driver having a moment and ending up in the gravel trap at McPhillamy Park. Ideally you’d like to have some sort of long/zoom lens for this part of the circuit but you aren’t too far away from the track.
Keith: If you’ve a long lens this is a good place to shoot again head on as the cars run wide of McPhillamy Park and start to head down the mountain. As you’re more elevated you can shoot the tops of the cars here and you can get some great wide angle panorama photographs with the surrounding area to the north of the circuit below you.
The Esses Turns 11 through 17
Rhys: The next great spot to get a shot is the Esses. The spectator area is nice and close to the track and offers a great shot as the cars drop down over Skyline and weave their way through this series of corners known as the Esses. You’ll undoubtedly see some of the accredited media huddled under the tree here. It’s another spot where you should be able to get a great shot regardless of your camera and lens. Try this spot in the morning when the sun lines up nicely.
Keith: At Turn 13 there’s a small viewing area to stand where you can get some great head-on and rear-view shots of the cars. Turns 15, 15, 16 and 17 provide a number of places to photograph from. Some are closer than others but you can get good over-head shots down through the Esses as the cars make their way single file into Forest Elbow.
Turn 18 Forrest Elbow
Rhys: Forrest Elbow is another excellent spot to get photos. As the cars reach the bottom of the hill, it’s a great overtaking opportunity but also a place where drivers need to be 100% committed to get the best run down the long Conrod Straight. The spectator area here on the outside of the corner can provide you with superb shot of the cars as they dive down into the hill and dive down the inside. You can also wander back up the hill a bit and get shot of the cars from behind as they dive down the inside of each other.
Keith: A good spot to shoot from Forest Elbow is on the entry and exit as the cars line up to head down Conrod Straight. Brake lock ups are common here and you are again elevated above the racing line.
Turns 21 and 22 The Chase
Rhys: My favourite spot on the track, both as a photographer and spectator, is The Chase. There are spectator hills on both the inside and outside of The Chase and they offer some really amazing opportunities to get some high speed panning shots of the cars as they negotiate this series of corners. Always keep an eye out during the race here – every year there’s a car that comes unstuck here which can make for a spectacular photo if you happen to be there! It’s another one of those places where a long/zoom lens would come in handy.
Keith: Cars fly into this complex from top speed down Conrod Straight offering up some super shots on the outside of the corner as the cars brake heavily into the turns. It’s best in the morning until midday for light. As Rhys says a long lens is best here as you are a fair way back from the track and the spectator area is fairly busy. You can get down to the fence in some spots.
On the inside, there is a large earth mount to watch from which provides some good shots in the afternoon when the light is on that side of the track.
Turn 23 – Murray’s
Rhys: The last corner on the track and you’ll always find a decent crowd claiming their spots here all weekend, as it’s close to the action and you can get a variety of shots of the cars through the corner and back down the pit straight.
Keith: There’s great viewing here from the outside as the cars come down to the final corner.
It’s a good view up the grid here from the exit of the corner. Head on shots from around the exit of the corner on the earth mound again. A Paddock pass is great here as you can see into the back of the garages where the teams are busy all day.