Sunday, June 10, 2007

Race Day

To say that Sunday at the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland was considerably drier than Saturday would be an understatement. It did drizzle a bit in the morning, but nothing like Saturday's downpour.

The morning started with the big cars on track for a Champ Car warm-up session. I stayed completely dry under a truely waterproof rain poncho that I had purchased the previous evening, and kept my camera completely dry thanks to the addition of some gaffer's tape to help secure the Lightware rain cover.
The warm up session was followed by the weekend's second Atlantics race, which proved to be an exciting battle. The race was eventually won by Canadian rookie Kevin Lacroix.
But of course, I had come for the main event, the Champ Car Grand Prix of Portland. The race marked a number of firsts, including the first standing start for a Champ Car race. It also marked the second year in a row in which the race was run entirely under green—there were no yellow caution periods. (The start of last year's race was waved off, so the first lap was run under a yellow flag, but the remainder was all green flag racing.)
Justin Wilson took an early lead and appeared to be running away from the field. But after the first series of pit stops, Sebastien Bourdais began to catch him.
I headed to the pits to photograph the second round of pit stops from the pit wall.
By the third stint, Bourdais had built a sizable lead and remained ahead to the checkered flag. I took this photo several laps from the finish. Sebastian Bourdais is chasing Dan Clarke into turn number 2. Notice that the same image is being displayed on the Jumbotron screen.
I must admit to being totally unenthusiastic about another win for Bourdais. I was much more excited about the second and third place finishers. Justin Wilson came in second and rookie Robert Doornbos was third.
I've got one other thing to report about my weekend in Portland. I rented a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens for the weekend from I also borrowed a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM lens from my friend Jay Solomon. I had previously used the 70-200mm lens to shoot some of the CAD Camp events. I assumed (correctly, I might add) that the 70-200mm would be too short a focal length for most of my shooting situations at the race. I've been considering purchasing the 100-400mm lens, but was unsure about the push-pull zoom function (as opposed to the twist zoom of the 70-200 and other similar lenses that I've used in the past). I am happy to report that I found the push-pull operation of the 100-400 lens to be quite easy and in many ways preferred it for this type of shooting.

I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND I had reserved the lens several weeks in advance and called at the beginning of the week to confirm my rental and to provide payment information. The lens arrived as promised on Thursday, packed in a custom Pelican case inside a cardboard box. When I returned home after the race, I packed the lens back into its case and returned it using the pre-paid mailing label provided. The total cost of the rental, including insurance and shipping, was $90. This is a great way to try out lenses prior to purchase, or to get your hands on a specialty lens that you wouldn't otherwise buy. LensProtogo was a pleasure to deal with and I look forward to trying out other lenses in the future.

You can view a more extensive selection of photos on my Flickr site.
Click here to view as a slideshow.

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