2018 Petit Le Mans - IMSA Racing with D500

Joined
Jul 25, 2017
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959
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
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Ian
Hey everyone. I'm a big motorsports fan, and earlier this month I headed down to the town of Braselton, GA outside of Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans. For those who don't know, it's a 10-hour sports car race where multiple classes of cars run for 10 straight hours in a bid to win the last race of the season (and if the season's gone well, the championship).

This was the first race I've really traveled far with my Nikon gear, and while heavy, I'm glad I brought it. The equipment I took included:
  • Two gripped D500's
  • Sigma ART 35mm f/1.4
  • Nikon 17-55 f/2.8
  • Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR II
  • Nikon 300 f/2.8 VR
  • Nikon TC-14E III
  • Filters (ND & CPL)
I fit all of the gear in a recently purchased SKB 2011-7 hard-sided case that complies with all major US airline carry-on size restrictions (no comment on the weight with it fully loaded :oops:).

To be quite frank, the D500 performed remarkably well. Handling, frame rate, image quality, all superb IMO. The ONLY time that I felt a bit "meh" about tit was when I was shooting at ISO 12,800 in basically the pitch black, maybe ISO 6400. But short of shooting with a D5-type camera, I really don't think anything else could do a whole lot better. Anyways, enough talking. Here are some of my favorite images captured during the race weekend.

1. A 1/10s pan of the number 912 Porsche 911 GTE exiting turn 7 and beginning its run down the long back straight.
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2. The #62 Risi Ferrari 488 GTE. Big wing, bigger shadow.
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3. The distinctive tail lights of the Ford GT. Even when the car is in the shadow, you still know exactly what car it is.
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4. The #4 Corvette Racing C7.R, running a bit wide through turn 5.
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5. The #33 Mercedes AMG GT3 crossing the finish line and continuing down the front straight towards turn 1.
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6. The #55 Mazda Team Joest prototype making it way through the final turn.
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7. The #911 Porsche 911 GTE using the curbs to put in a fast lap.
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8. The #62 Risi Ferrari streaking up the hill between turns 1 & 2.
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9. Eventual GTD/GT3 class winner Weather racing in their 488 Ferrari.
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10. The #85 JDC Miller prototype, putting on a show for the fans standing track-side at the spectator fence.
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11. The Prototype season championship winners, Whelen Racing coming down through esses during golden hour.
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12. The two Mercedes entries running together on track to help the #33 clinch the endurance championship in its class.
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13. While we love shooting the cars during sunset, the drivers hate it as the sun is directly in their eyes.
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14. Risi's Ferrari 488 GTE running down through the esses.
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15. The Acura NSX GT3 of Michael Shank Racing, lit by the beautiful setting sun. The lighting at this time was really incredible.
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16. Eventual GTE/GTLM class winner, the #911 Porsche in its classic throwback livery.
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17. Wide hips, and an orange sky.
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18. D500 at ISO 6400. Needed to further push the exposure in post, but noise cleans up well with DXO's PRIME NR.
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19. ISO 12,800. Yes, it's noisy, but short of getting a D5-type camera, it's not going to get much better. Also, I RARELY shoot in conditions like these. It really was almost pitch black out with the naked eye.
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20. Makin' sparks. Again at ISO 12,800 and pushed further in post.
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Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
959
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Real Name
Ian
Wow! Great Set. I travel to Lime Rock Park a couple times a year, so I know what you were up against to get shots like that. Bravo!
Thank you Roger. LRP is a great track. It's unfortunate that it's always under threat from the locals (who built their houses near the track) as they complain about the "noise" :rolleyes:

Nice work, was unable to make it out this year, it’s a great venue and a wonderful track.
Thanks John, but you missed a good one this year! Great weather, and a race that literally came down to the last lap. Hope you can make it next year!

Great series.
#15 should be featured...

Thank you for showing
Klaus
Thank you Klaus. Yes, I'm a big fan of #15 as well.

Just F A N T A S T I C, you should extremely happy & proud of all of these shots... (y).
Thank you Wally. It was a great weekend, and it's nice to see that the images captured that.
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
959
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Real Name
Ian
Wow! Fantastic job. You nailed it in those panning shots even at 1/10s
Thank you Eduardo. Not many keepers at 1/10s, but it creates a unique and distinctive look.

awesome set. many faves should be posted in the gallery. hopefully you got some sales to the teams/drivers!
Thank you John. No sales, but I plan on using images from the weekend in a motorsports portfolio on the website I'll create over winter to showcase my talents and passion for motorsport photography, and hopefully will pick up some paying clients next season.

Thank you
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
191
Location
United States
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Matt
Nice job OP! I was there all day, you captured it very well. Just looking at the images I can almost smell the race fuel and rubber again.

Doesn't appear that you captured these from normal spectator areas, did you have media credentials?
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2017
Messages
959
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Real Name
Ian
Nice job OP! I was there all day, you captured it very well. Just looking at the images I can almost smell the race fuel and rubber again.

Doesn't appear that you captured these from normal spectator areas, did you have media credentials?
Thanks Matt. Nope, all of these images were shot from general spectator areas with a D500 and either a 70-200 VR II or 300/2.8 VR. Road Atlanta is pretty spectacular in terms of photo access for general admission.
 
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