24
Dec

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A few months ago I went all out with remotes while covering the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) in Lake Elsinore but I was feeling too lazy this time so I instead tried to get a decent variety of images without trying too hard. Keep reading to see what I came up with.

The race was after the season had ended so instead of points towards a championship it was all about money, and lots of it. Races during the season only paid 6 grand to the winner, this race paid a whopping 30k to win! With that much money on the line it was sure to be an action packed event.

The weekend was split into two days with practice and qualifying occurring Friday and racing on Saturday.

For Friday I figured I would move around a little bit to get some variety and depending on where the action took place, I would choose my position for the races on Saturday.

As a newbie to off road racing one of the main things to be mindful of when shooting this sport is dirt and mud flying from the rear tires of the trucks as they turn.

Below is a good example of why you don’t want to stand too close on the outside of a turn. A split second after that photo all the debris made its way to me, ouch!

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 200iso, f4, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

One of the cool things about this sport is the chaos of multiple trucks on the tight track always heading at different angles through the turns.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 200iso, f4, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Below, distracting advertising signs clutter up my background as unlimited lite Jimmy Stephensen takes a jump during qualifying for the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup at the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

By shooting with a 400mm lens I was able to get shots that would compress the vehicles into the backgrounds over a mile away.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Below, a racer gets a little crossed up as he takes a jump during qualifying.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

The race was initially scheduled to run the week prior but due to heavy rains it was postponed a week later. With that in mind I took some time during the day to try and find some puddles I could incorporate into my shots to try and get some interesting reflections to my photos.

Below is how stupid I look as I lay down in the dirt at the edge of a puddle off the course.

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Photo by Richard Quattrocchi

In theory it was a good spot but I quickly found out that the puddle was too far off the course thus making it nearly worthless.

Below, I am almost getting some reflections as a truck takes a turn but the berm covering half the truck killed the chances of getting a successful image.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

Flying dirt in focus with out of focus trucks in background can sometimes make for an interesting photo, below.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Below, during qualifying unlimited four driver Carl Renezeder had a hard nose first landing (below)…….

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/8000th, Aperture Priority

…..that would cause some pretty extensive damage to the front suspension.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority

Back to the reflection attempt.

The only way for the shot to make sense was to shoot wider (below) but the shots still weren’t what I had hoped for.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

After giving up on that spot I moved to a different location to try and line up in a spot to get two trucks in the air going different directions.

While walking to the spot I noticed a low flying helicopter going past the track and quickly threw up the camera to shoot the below photo of unlimited lite driver Brian Deegan challenging the helicopter for aerospace.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 100iso, f4, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Once I set up in the spot to have two jumps lined up I set the focus for the jump in background and then it was a matter of patience to wait for two trucks to be airborne in that exact spot at the same time.

Below, unlimited lite driver (19) Corey Sisler flies through the air as another truck leaps in the foreground.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 100iso, f4, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Below, unlimited lite driver (82) Chris Brandt takes a jump as (46) Todd Cuffaro jumps in the foreground.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 100iso, f4, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Through the course of a race, qualifying or even practice, after a few laps pieces of bodywork begin shredding off the vehicles. It can make for fun photos to capture those pieces as they fly from the trucks, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 100iso, f4, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

I found another puddle to work with on the side of the course along the backstretch and was confident this would work for what I wanted.

Below is a pretty wide view to show you the full scene visible from the spot.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

To really get the type shot I wanted I would need a few drivers in the frame, luckily I would get that in the below photo as unlimited buggy drivers raced through during qualifying.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

After reviewing some of the photos on the camera I realized that even without the water in the foreground it was a pretty spot to shoot with dark backgrounds and nice rim lighting so I shot a lot tighter to get in closer as buggies took the jump, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

Between races I went to the staging area and shot through the passenger side window on the truck of driver Kyle LeDuc (below) to get a cool shot as he sat strapped in his truck waiting to attack the course.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

Using the same puddle from a few shots ago I simply lined up in a different spot to get a view of the big table top jump to produce the below photo as super lite driver Brandon Bailey takes the jump.

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Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

That wrapped up a decent day of practice and qualifying, on to race day!

Before the main events they would have a few last chance qualifying races in which the top few finishers would be eligible for the main races.

Below, unlimited four driver Travis Coyne (5) leads Chris Brandt (82), Justin Davis (85) and Jeff Geiser (44) during the last chance qualifying race prior to the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup at the Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Below, unlimited light driver Corey Sisler leads a pack of drivers as his door panel flies off.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 400iso, f4, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

Once the qualifying races where complete it was time for the main events.

Any questions as to whether the racing would be hot and heavy were answered on the first lap of the first race when unlimited lite driver Jacob Person (below) overdrove the berm in turn four and rolled several times. All I could see was dirt, mud and flying debris as he rolled.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 400iso, f4, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

Not to be outdone, a few laps later two trucks collided in the air on the table top jump sending one off the side of the jump into a series of cartwheels!

While the dirt blocked the bottom half of the flipping truck in most of the images (below) you still get a good idea of the accident.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

During the races with more than 20 trucks on the track at one time pretty much everywhere you aimed a camera you would get flying vehicles going through the frame.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

I set up at a jump to take advantage of some pretty backlight and good backgrounds to get the below shot as unlimited lite driver Chris Brandt leads Rob Naughton through the air.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority

Much to my surprise (and the event managements) a pretty big crowd filled the grandstands for the main events, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Always looking for something different, I noticed two spotters sitting on a berm along the backstretch and focused on them and shot as a truck flew past them in the foreground, below.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

Taking jumps at speed in a truck can’t be easy but imagine how hard it is to do on three wheels as unlimited lite driver Chris Brandt takes a jump with a blown rear tire, below.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

On the furthest part of the course from me I shot the below photo showing the chaos of multiple trucks flying through the air over one of the jumps.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

Below, unlimited two driver Rob Naughton leads a pack of drivers over a jump. The light for the shot was killer plus the entire frame being filled with trucks and the glimmer of sunlight off his helmet made it one of my favorites.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/6400th, Aperture Priority

The last race of the day had 28 trucks in it, below is less than half of the field as they raced down the backstretch.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/2500th, Aperture Priority

Driving his crashed truck, unlimited two driver Greg Adler (below) takes a jump down the backstretch.

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Nikon D700, 400mm, 100iso, f2.8, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

I once again messed around at the spot lined up with the two jumps to get the below photo as unlimited two driver Evan Evans (left) takes a jump as unlimited two driver Tim Herbst jumps in the background.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

A dejected Kyle LeDuc (below) stands by his truck after breaking during the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/800th, Aperture Priority

Through all the competition and carnage it would be driver Carl Renezeder (below) who would take home the big check and bragging rights by winning the pro four category.

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Nikon D700, 80-200mm with 1.4 convertor, 250iso, f4, 1/3200th, Aperture Priority

While I got some cool photos, I didn’t get any wild crash shots like the last time I shot LOORRS however my partner in crime Jennifer would nail the crash shot of the weekend with the below photo she shot on the last lap of the last race of the weekend.

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Photo by Jennifer Stewart

To see some of Jennifers shots from the weekend and to purchase prints click here

To go through my gallery of images from the weekend all available for purchase please click here.

That wraps up yet another fun shoot, can’t wait till next year!


 
Posted in California, Me, Off Road Racing, Racing, Sports   | 3 Comments

3 responses to “Off Roaders battle for Big Bucks in Elsinore”

  1. Pille says:

    Great shots again – and I really love that light! *sigh* Could you send some sunshine this way? We’ve had a dreary winter so far and it’s no fun to shoot when the only color is dark gray…

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Bob Taylor says:

    Mark

    My name is Bob Taylor From the land down under (Aust) i am totaly inspired by your
    work . I am a Motorsport and Action Sport photographer taking up the challenge
    where ever i can .I am also published in Australian Classic Car and was recently
    published in Vintage Racecar ( U.S pub DEC isue ) in a feature article on a MG K3 made the cover as well.
    I have been a regular on your site for some time ever since your images from the BAD Boat
    crash ,spectacular images the one we all pray for to be there at the right place ,right time .
    I want to wish you all the best for the New Year and if you have a couple of free minutes
    i would like to invite you and your fans to visit my site (www.freewebs.com/bobtee.)
    its called Up Tight In Close .

    Cheers
    Bob Taylor

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