Le Mans Photographer Guest Post – Jamey Price
Jamey is based in Charlotte North Carolina based and has to be one of the busiest photographers I know, he is always traveling to various Motorsport and Automotive events, not only in America but overseas as well. He covers F1, IMSA and Lamborghini Squadra Corse events.
Jamey has actually appeared on my blog before as guest blogger, back in 2012 he wrote a piece about covering the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, you can read that post here.
So now over to Jamey
Le Mans is so special. For those of us who call it our jobs to travel the world chasing race cars, there is nothing else like it. There are a few that get close, but the caliber of racing, the machinery, the track itself, the fans, the conditions, everything makes Le Mans one of those places that still gives your chills down your spine. It’s dangerous. It’s exciting. It’s historic and it’s back breaking work. But I love every minute I spend there.
What number trip was this for you to Lemans? This was my third trip to Le Mans as a photographer. I also went once as a fan in 2012. It’s probably my favorite race on the planet.
What gear do you take to Lemans? I bring my full kit of racing equipment. Two Nikon professional bodies a D4 and D4s, a 500mm f4, 70-200mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 14-24mm f2.8, a 24mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.8 and a full wallet of Lexar XQD memory cards.
Who were you shooting for a Lemans? This was my second year working for James Moy who is the team photographer for Toyota’s LMP1 Hybrid team.
When does your week begin at Lemans? Le Mans is tough because James and I come straight from the Canadian Grand Prix. So I leave Sunday night after the F1 race and head straight to Paris. We begin “work” on Tuesday morning and don’t really stop until Sunday night!
What is your favorite part of Lemans? I think race morning. Morning warm up is just special. You have an anticipation of the LONG day ahead and it’s just an exciting time.
How does race day start for you? Race day starts in the garage saying good morning to the mechanics and taking a few snaps of them working on the cars before the cars head out for morning warm up.
How do you stay awake during race day ? It’s hard. I usually sleep for about 45 minutes during the race. Normally around 9-10am but this year, after the two Toyota’s retired and the third was so far behind that it wasn’t really in the race anymore, I slept for about an hour and a half from 3-4:30 am. It was a depressing feeling knowing how hard we had all worked, and how competitive the Toyotas were, to really not be in the race anymore.
How do you approach your race day ? I approach race day like any race. To tell a story. To tell the story of Le Mans 2017. This year we had stunning light and it was an easy job to run around this massive course chasing the gorgeous light.
Pitlane coverage looks to be challenging to cover, with you having to wear a race suit and helmet and limited access to garages, how do you approach it ? Pitlane is challenging. Le Mans is always humid, but this year, it was hot too. So it was hard work. You do a stint of about an hour or hour and a half in the pits so that you’re guaranteed at least one pit stop. As far as garage access goes, it’s not as bad as it seems. There is a red “pit lane” marking on the floor of the garage. And the garages at Le Mans are very small, so you don’t need much lens to see into the back of them. You can do cool wide photos of the cars being worked on, or pull out the 70-200 and do candids of drivers or details of the cars. But working for Toyota, James and I have unlimited access to the garage and the drivers and mechanics. It’s very special and I know how fortunate I am to have that access.
What was your favorite shot from this year’s event ? I think my favorite shot was from sunset this year. It was before it all “went bad” for Toyota so I was still pretty hyped about the way the cars were running. the 7 and 9 were competitive and the 8 had spent some time in the garage which put it well back in the order, but it was still out there. It felt like everything was going smoothly and I was enjoying pointing my lens straight into the setting sun capturing the cars as they raced down the Mulsanne. It was just a perfect evening.
You can find me on social media