NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction

When the availability opened up to purchase memberships to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in late 2009 I jumped on the opportunity as the benefits seemed to outweigh the costs. Being a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, one of my benefits of the level of membership I have purchased is I receive tickets to the Induction Ceremony.

The Induction Ceremony is televised live on the Speed Network and there is coverage on ESPN and local networks, so there is a host of local celebrities as well as some known nationally. I arrived with my A99 and my Minolta 200mm f/2.8 High Speed APO G as well as the 85mm f/1.4 ZA and I did my best paparazzo impression. Among the Inductees was Rusty Wallace (below on his phone), who was working hard for ESPN on the biggest day of his post-career before the actual ceremony.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 800, 1/60s

Many of the current race car drivers as well as retired drivers were at the ceremony, either in the audience, or to speak at the ceremony. Below is Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 Five-Hour Energy Toyota.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/2.8, ISO 1600, 1/125s

One of the drivers speaking on stage was Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford. He would not stop for a pose as he was on his way to rehearsal, but was gracious enough to smile for me.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/3.5, ISO 1600, 1/40s

I am happy with the shot above even though it wasn’t as sharp as I would like, with the shutter speed low and the moving subject. Fortunately, Michael Waltrip, owner of the #15, #55, and #56 Toyotas (and driver of the #30 Toyota in this year’s Daytona 500) was not moving when he posed for me.

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SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/3.2, ISO 2000, 1/100s

The Induction Ceremony was held in the Charlotte Convention Center and the lighting was for a television stage, including steam machines and lights and all sorts of things making the behavior of Auto White Balance become unpredictable and metering was difficult as well. Autofocus was not predictable with the colored strobe lights and the steam machines. I shot most of the ceremony itself in manual focus and using Auto ISO from 100 to 3200. Most of the shots in the auditorium had strange light. Needless to say, I had a lot of post-processing work to do.

This is Trevor Bayne, 2011 Daytona 500 winner and driver of the #21 Motorcraft Ford (and #6 Cargill Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series).

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SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/3.2, ISO 3200, 1/80s

And here’s Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron’s Toyota.

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SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/100s

I got a number of candid shots, in general. In this one Mark Martin was having a conversation with Rusty Wallace, just before his formal induction.

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SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/2.2, ISO 3200, 1/100s

This is “The King”, Hall of Famer Richard Petty, winner of seven series Championships and 200 races. Albeit a tad blurry, but the subject is not lost in my lack of correct settings. I tried to be a bit aggressive with ISO and got too low a shutter speed.

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SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/3.2, ISO 800, 1/10s

This is Hall of Famer Junior Johnson, probably posing for someone else.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4.5, ISO 1600, 1/125s

Once the ceremony kicked off, I was constrained to my assigned seat, where I looked to get a couple of shots you wouldn’t see if you were watching the ceremony on TV. This is Trevor Bayne backstage with Brad Keselowski, 2012 Sprint Cup Champion and driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/2.8, ISO 3200, 1/250s

This gives you an idea of the adverse lighting situation I was dealing with. This is Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett among greenish-yellow and red strobes with steam machines.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/2.8, ISO 3200, 1/30s

My view of the main stage from my seat was a profile view. The light was a little better for metering purposes as long as I spot metered from the center. This is Jeff Gordon, 4 time Champion and driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 800, 1/250s

The podium was my only adversary in getting this final shot, which is the view of the television broadcast alongside the video camera that was shooting. This was an interview after Rusty Wallace’s acceptance speech.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200 f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 3200, 1/250s

In all, I had a good time and I am still figuring out how much I actually learned about shooting in adverse lighting.

BTW, I know I still owe the conclusion of the book shelf test. I hope to finish it this weekend.

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