Photos Of The Year 2010>> Paddy Mcgrath – Pt.ii

Picking up where I left off in part one, we return back to the 2010 ADAC Nürburgring 24HR where the #76 Team Need for Speed car has just crossed the start / finish line to begin it’s last lap.

Canon EOS 5D MKII, 70mm, 1/80, F9, ISO100
Team NFS BMW Z4, ADAC Nürburgring 24HR, Germany. The spectator stands had significantly filled out for the last dash to the finish line. Although I could of gone with a colour image, I felt the black and white conversion worked really well. By using a wide field of view it helped to show off the size of the venue. As the car was going pretty quick at this section, I could use a marginally higher shutter speed to capture the same motion compared to if the car was going slower.

Canon EOS 5D MKII, 47mm, 1/500, F5, ISO400
The Wicklow Gap, Wicklow, Republic of Ireland. One of my favorite stories of 2010 was exploring the different routes for our roadways themed month. This was my first time ever driving the Wicklow Gap and the views were absolutely breathtaking. To insure each image taken on this trip was consistently framed, I mounted the camera to the passenger seat head rest and used a wired remote to trigger the camera. It also meant I could enjoy the drive without fumbling around with the camera every few moments.

Canon EOS 5D MKII, 47mm, 1/250, F5, ISO400
The Sally Gap, Wicklow, Republic of Ireland. Once you have crossed the Wicklow Gap you have several options for your return journey. You can take the main road back, double back across the Wicklow Gap again or make a five minute journey north and take the Sally Gap back across the other side of the mountain. The setup was identical to the Wickow Gap image above but I dropped the shutter speed slightly to try show a little bit of motion at the bottom of the frame. I also used a circular polarizer to minimize reflections on the windscreen.

Canon EOS 5D MKII, 300mm, 1/125, F9, ISO400
Prodrift Series Ireland, Punchestown, Republic of Ireland. This image was actually shot as a Team Nexen promotional image to accompany the feature I shot on the 1JZ S15. Because of this, you need to really highlight the cars in the image, much more so than if it was just an event coverage snap. The background of the image was quite distracting, even though it was blurred somewhat by the panning motion. To really help the cars pop, I blurred the background even further in post and masked the original cars back in. I wouldn’t bother doing this for event images but when you swap into the more commercial side of photography, you need to take advantage of the tools at your disposal.

Canon EOS 5D MKII, 47mm, 1/60, F6.3, ISO400
Team Nexen, Punchestown, Republic of Ireland. I needed to get quite high for this shot and my tripod at it’s highest configuration just wasn’t enough. Using a step ladder, I climbed onto the top of my van and shot the images from the roof. I had some great help from Martin Cunningham who postioned the lights for me as each car had to be lit separately. I shoot with off-camera flashes which have a very direct and concentrated light shape. This isn’t really ideal so when they are deployed I know I’ll need to shoot some unlit frames to help with the post work.

Canon EOS 1D-MKII N, 300mm, 1/160, F4, ISO100
Irish Touring Car Championship, Mondello Park, Co.Kildare, Republic of Ireland. 2010 was the first year of the newly founded ITCC and what a success it was. The field of entries was mostly former Irish time attack cars who were growing tired of racing the clock and instead wanted to trade some paint. Although the 4WD cars pretty much ran away with it in 2010, for 2011 the ITCC will be banning 4WD entrants and introducing new tire width to weight limitations which should even up the competition. Sat in the grass on the outside of turn one, It was a pretty simple shot of waiting until they all poured into turn one together to try and capture the size and variety of the field.

Canon EOS 5D MKII, 50mm, 1/100, F11, ISO200
Nigel Colfer’s 180-JZ, New Ross, Co.Wexford, Republic of Ireland. I hate black cars. I mean, I really hate black cars. Black being the absence of light should mean that it’s a bit of a challenge to shoot, which it is. For whatever reason, the matte finish on Nigel’s car along with the graphics and bright wheels actually made it a breeze to photograph. It also helps that this is one of the cleanest cars on the Prodrift Series grid.

Canon EOS 1D MKII N, 300mm, 1/1250, F4, ISO200, +.33EV
Modified Live, Brands Hatch, Kent, United Kingdom. This was my first visit to Brands Hatch where I had a press pass to shoot. It was also my introduction to GT1 racing with the Sumo Power GT1 GT-Rs putting on some demonstration laps. I planted my ass on the outside of Druids hairpin so I had the perfect vantage point to watch as the cars appeared over the crest of Hailwood Hill. Wide aperture to throw the background out of focus and the accompanying fast shutter to freeze the action.

Canon EOS 1D MKII N, 300mm, 1/125, F13, ISO400, -.33EV
Modified Live, Brands Hatch, Kent, United Kingdom. Still at Brands Hatch but for the EDC section of the event. The EDC layout uses the MacLaren and Clark Curve section of the track. Brands Hatch has these great elevation changes all around the track which makes photographing any event here an absolute joy. Similar to the GT-R GT1 image, this time I based myself at the bottom of the hill and waited for the cars to appear over the top of the crest. The hot weather created this great heat haze on the tar which makes the car look like it’s almost melting into the track surface. 1/125 was enough to show motion in the wheels whilst keeping the image as sharp as possible.There wouldn’t be much point in using a super slow shutter from this angle as there isn’t really a whole lot of left to right movement of the car in the frame.

Canon EOS 1D MKII N, 300mm, 1/125, F4.5, ISO200
JDM Allstars, Donington Alpine Course, United Kingdom. Quite some time ago I put a question to some drifters. I wanted to know what, for them at least, captured drifting perfectly in an image. They pretty much all came back with the same answer which was a head on image, opposite lock wound on and lots of smoke. It’s a simple formula that sometimes can be quite difficult to catch but when you get it right it always just pops straight off the back of the camera.

Canon EOS 1D MKII N, 70mm, 1/80, F6.3, ISO100, +1 EV
JDM Allstars, Donington Alpine Course, United Kingdom. Same car, same spot and a completely different image. By pulling back on the focal length I was able to capture the immediate foreground and incorporate it into the shot. A slower shutter helps increase the sense of movement and whilst the exposure isn’t great it still conveys a feeling of ‘being there’.

For the next post I’ll be starting with images from the wonderful Paul Ricard Circuit.

Paddy McGrath



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Wallpapers please! Very, very nice photos! Good camera and photographer!


That last photo, it's awesome. I really really want a wallpaper of that. I haven't used a pic that somebody besides me took as a wallpaper in years. I'd use yours.


A lot of amazing shots!!


excellent as always Paddy


Your such a beast Paddy! You, Dino, and Casey are my favorite photographers on SH! Keep it up!


Yes, Wallpapers would be great.

But not all Shots are amazing.


I've been thinking about getting a decent camera for a while now. This just made me sure I should get one! Thanks for the inspiration Paddy!


Hello, you couldn't give the rlink to a theme about Wicklow Gap?

Probably I have passed it.


really appreciate the photo parameters.



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Sorry about the delay in getting back to these, it has been a pretty wild month here. Continuing on from