Vintage Car Racing Photography

The Art of Vintage Car Racing Photography

Image 12. Porsche 935

Porsche 935
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn 5
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500mm with a polarizing filter.
  • Racked out to 200mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125 second
  • Aperture: f6.7
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Turn five with early afternoon light. Bright colors but no shape or just a little shape from the light. The best about turn five until the late afternoon light is you can stand under the oaks in the shade—an important consideration in August. Camera placement goes from just a nudge high as this image shows to higher by moving camera placement left and slightly lower camera placement to the right.


Image 13. Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn 5
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500mm with a polarizing filter
  • Racked out to: 310mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter Speed: 1/180 second
  • Aperture: f10
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

The same turn, turn five. The camera placement is lower, and the 5:10 PM warm sun is beginning to set off to the camera left and slightly behind the car. Like most tracks in the west, Laguna has sunlight that warms substantially as it sets in the summer. It is a real contrast between the fog/overcast light of some days and the warm setting light of other days. Look for ways to optimize your image with the available light.


Image 14. 962 Porsche

962 Porsche
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn 5
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500mm
  • Racked out to 200mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter Speed: 1/180 second
  • Aperture: f10
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

A wider crop to give an idea of the location. Just off to camera left behind the second 962 is a collection of the infamous laguna Porta Potties. One remains partially visible in the image. Warm 5:20 PM light off to camera left. The shadows and high lights give shape to the 962. The slower shutter speed holds the nose sharp with growing blur towards the rear. The second 962 has even more blur from his movement camera right to left as I am panning left to right. A polarizing filter to clear the highlights off the windshield intensifies the car’s red, along with the background and pavement.


Image 15. Lancia D50 F1

Lancia D50 F1
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn 5
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500mm with a polarizing filter
  • Racked out to: 200mm
  • ISO: 450
  • Shutter Speed: 1/250 second
  • Aperture: f11
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

This next image is a reason to stand out in Laguna’s sun, fog, or rain all day waiting for the magic. A Lancia D50 drifting through Laguna’s turn five then accelerating up the thill towards turn six is magic.

I wanted some background blur combined with heavy sharp car detail with rotating wheels and tires. Captured a few minutes past 4PM. Too early for dramatic warm light.


Image 16. Porsche 962

Porsche 962
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn 5
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500mm with a polarizing filter
  • Racked out to: 400mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter Speed: 1/250 second
  • Aperture: f9
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Three 962 Porsches stack up in turn five. Keep looking for turns that will let you capture multiple cars from nose to tail with a bit of shape. Shadows from the afternoon sun lend shape to the cars.


Image 17. Sadler Mk IV

Sadler Mk IV
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn two
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500mm with a polarizing filter
  • Racked out to 500mm
  • ISO: 6400
  • Shutter Speed: 1/750 second
  • Aperture: f16
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

Know the track and know the cars. Where and when possible, scout the track and find a corner that will accent the car. Laguna’s turn two accents this Sadler Mk4 three-wheeling as the driver shifts into third.  And of course, I am looking to see the driver’s face. Overcast and fog help as the drivers often do not wear a dark helmet shield or sunglasses, highlighting their eyes.


Image 18. MARCH F1

MARCH F1
Track: Laguna Seca
  • Location: Turn five
  • Camera: Nikon
  • Lens: f3.5/5.6 200/500 mm with a polarizing filter
  • Racked out to 200mm
  • ISO: 450
  • Shutter Speed: 1/320 second
  • Aperture: f9
  • Monopod: yes

Image Notes:

I am the Masters Series photographer for US West Coast events. Here I wanted to show the intense up-close racing of these F1 cars. Captured later in the day just as the sun starts to drop behind the hills to the southwest end of the track. Again the driver’s eyes make the image.