The Wide World of Sports

When most photographers think of shooting sports, they think of 400mm glass on the 50 yard line. When I think of sports, I think about ultra-wide, ultra close. 

We previously discussed some of the psychological aspects of sporting events, and the social gravity of attention that results from public exhibitions. Those observations hold just as true at a race of horsepower, as at a race of horses.

Every October, tattooed and heavily bearded men (and a few women) gather in Wildwood, New Jersey, and take over a section of the beach with vintage cars and motorcycles, which they then race down the beach in a spirit of camaraderie and good fun. The event is called The Race of Gentlemen, and it's those gentlemen that interested me most.

It's easy to get distracted by the low hanging visual fruit of vintage motorbikes and Model A coupes along the Atlantic ocean. It's unusual to see so many gathered in one place, and there's a strong temptation to document these rarities in very rare races. For that kind of photography, a 400mm would help.

I opted instead to keep a 50mm as the longest lens out of my bag. For me, the most interesting part of an event like The Race of Gentlemen is not the racing of the vehicles, but the people who built them. And to capture that meant approaching the event like a portrait: going wide and capturing the larger context. 

I was blessed with the opportunity to cover the event as a journalist, which meant that I was able to get extremely close to many parts of the event. The majority of these images were shot with a 17-35mm Canon L series lens, which meant that for many of the shots I was within arm's reach of the moving machines. But to capture moments means being as close to them as possible—even if that means your ears ringing a bit from the thundering of horsepower. 

More images in Issue 3 of Exposure, and at Steve Huff Photo.

f/11 Issue No. 2: TROG

The second issue of f/11—The Magazine for the Photographers of Modern Life, featuring work from The Race of Gentlemen. This issue is 60 pages, with the black & white and color images richly printed on premium, 80# matte paper in a magazine format. 

The issues available directly through the website will be signed on the front cover.

This is a special order item!