A Different Look

NHRA top fuel dragster driver T.J. Zizzo during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

I decided to have some fun with my latest set of images from the NHRA Route 66 Nationals drag race, shot last weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois. In addition to experimenting with lighting night racing sessions with several photographic strobe units (helping to accentuate the contrast between the white smoke from the race cars and dark night sky), I also converted the color images to black and white for display here on the blog.

I had the black and white conversion idea on my mind while I was at the race, so during my shoot, I made sure to look for graphic elements with a variety of lines and shapes that would stand on their own without color being present, as well as my ever-favorite areas of high contrast. It’s rare that racing images are presented in black and white, so keeping black and white in mind while looking through the camera forced me to look beyond the color layer that normally draws me in – I’m a color saturation junkie, in case you haven’t noticed. While some of these images have a little more pizazz in color, I feel that the majority of them work better with the color stripped away. What do you think?

An overall view of the starting line during NHRA qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

NHRA pro stock drivers Erica Enders (left) and Greg Anderson during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Race officials walk in front of a banner, part of a set piece for a stage, prior to driver introductions.


NHRA top fuel dragster driver Spencer Massey greets fans during driver introductions prior to the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Detail view of the front end of the car of NHRA top fuel dragster driver Chris Karamesines during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Crew members and NHRA officials surrounded by smoke at the starting line during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

NHRA top fuel dragster drivers Larry Dixon (left) and Antron Brown during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

The sun sets behind the grandstands during the NHRA Route 66 Nationals qualifying at Route 66 Raceway.

NHRA funny car driver Melanie Troxel during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.  Cross-lighting the starting area with strobes allowed the drivers’ helmets and faces to become visible in the otherwise dark car interiors during the night session.

The car of NHRA pro stock driver Greg Anderson in the staging area during qualifying for the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

NHRA top fuel dragster driver Del Worsham during the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. I love how this starting line image shows not only that the two front wheels of the car are totally off the ground, but also, the rear tires are wildly deformed under the immense horsepower of this brutal machine.

NHRA top fuel dragster driver Del Worsham celebrates after winning his class at the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

NHRA top fuel dragster driver Del Worsham gets a hug from his nine-year-old daughter Kate after winning his class at the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway.

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Sports by Guy Rhodes on July 15th, 2011.

2 Responses to “A Different Look”

  1. Love what you did with the black and white in these. It gives the images the best of old school feel and modern NHRA.

    If attending the 66 Nationals for the first time and shooting with a 100-400 mm lens on full frame where would you suggest sitting on the reserved side? I will be ordering tickets next week.

    Thanks in advance.
    Mike

  2. Guy Rhodes says:

    Thanks, Mike. Sorry I’m just getting back to you. From the stands at Route 66, I had good luck shooting from the top corner of the grand stands furthest from the starting line. You’ll have the cars side by side when they come past you.

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