Tag Archives: Championship

Reno Air Races

wpid8130-C59F4251.jpgThe National Championship Air Races recently took place at Reno NV.  This was my second year covering it and the 50th running of the races.  Before I go too much further, here is the link to the article I wrote for Global Aviation Resource so, if you want a rundown on how the event went, that is a good place to go.  It also has pictures but you don’t need to go there for them since I am about the share a bunch of them here too!

wpid8124-AU0E5304.jpgReno is a very interesting event to shoot.  The organizers go to a lot of effort to host the media representatives.  Given how many of us show up, this is no small feat.  They provide a center for us to base ourselves out of, breakfast and lunch each day (this year sponsored by Nikon), buses to take a selection of people out to the pylons each morning and afternoon, access to most places you could want to be and a team with golf carts who will run you to wherever you want to go (provided you can find them since they are kept busy!).

wpid8142-C59F5571.jpgThe parts of the show are very interesting in themselves.  Exploring the pits is a great thing to do.  The main pit area has the Unlimited racers and the T-6s.  The jets are at the far end of the field and always seem isolated to me.  However, more fun can be had walking through the hangars for the Sport, Bi-Plane and Formula One classes.  Here you will see small teams of people beavering away on their pride and joy.  With a lot less people coming through, you can get a lot more access to what they are doing.

wpid8116-C59F3670.jpgWhen it comes down to it though, the racing is what it is all about.  Shooting from the pits and the stands is fine and it gives a certain perspective on the races but shooting from the pylons is something else.  Being right inside the turn as aircraft zip by at high speed and low altitude is really impressive.  Sometimes you want to just stand and watch rather than see it all through a viewfinder.  However, the races are not long and, if you have a variety of shots that you are looking for, you have to get them quickly.

wpid8140-C59F5525-Edit.jpgMoreover, sometimes you need to get in the groove.  The slower types are easier to calibrate yourself for but the jets and the Unlimiteds are really motoring and you don’t have much time to get in practice.  You may want shots of everything but there are certain planes that you know are going to be required for coverage and whether you get them looking good, in good light and sharp in the brief windows available is a combination of practice and luck – plenty of the latter in my case!

wpid8136-AU0E6689.jpgIt is a fun event to be at and one that will leave you pretty exhausted.  Getting there early for the sunrise lighting and being around to get whatever opens up at the end of the day followed by downloading everything and cataloging it before cleaning your gear up – that dust gets everywhere – charging anything that needs charging and also remembering to eat and suddenly the sleep feels awfully short.  It’s only a few days though.  Is there somewhere else you would rather be?

Snocross in Short Sleeves

March in Wisconsin seems like a pretty good time to schedule a snowmobile race.  Unfortunately, that would mean that you didn’t know this year was going to be particularly mild all winter and especially so in March.  So it was that the final round of the AMSOil ISOC Snocross race was scheduled for the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva WI in mid-March.

Just because it was warm, didn’t mean there wouldn’t be racing though.  Congratulations to the organizers who made good use of their snow cannons to put a base of snow down on a basic course.  Apparently, it was a bit truncated compared to previous years but there was a course.  Moreover, the course managed to hold together as the air temperature made its way up to the high 70s (if not creeping into the 80s!).  I wondered whether this great job of combating the conditions extended to the clothing the racers wore.  I doubt too much snowmobile racing clothing is designed for the high 70s.  I suspect it is more about staying warm.  They were probably pretty toasty!








I hadn’t applied for media credentials for this event so was only shooting from the public areas.  With the course laid out the way it was, this really didn’t prove to be too limiting.  There were a few shots I would like to have got but it really didn’t make too much of a difference.  The action is close to the people most of the time and they come by pretty frequently so there is usually plenty to see.

I was pretty happy with the outcome to be honest.  It was a fun day out and I spent it with a good bunch of guys as well.  We would split up at times but end up back at similar locations before too long so it worked well.  One of those disappointing things about shooting an action sport like this is that you find yourself focusing on a particular rider and hear a groan from the crowd.  This is a sign that someone has wiped out quite dramatically but all you see is them getting up and retrieving their machine unless you get lucky – certainly luckier than the racer!

Now I just have to work out what the real name is for the machine.  I always thought they were snowmobiles but then I watched some stuff from Alaska that said the people in the know call them snowmachines.  The announcers at this event didn’t seem to be aware of that so I am just as in the dark as I was beforehand.  Anyone know the right term?