Preparation for Motorsport Photography

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay Blog | Blog Post of Cheryl Tay 1 Comment

After sharing the challenges of motorsport photography and describing what the job is like, the next question I was asked was how I prepare before going for each shoot or each race event. This made me realise that I actually have an automatic mental checklist that I go through each time I pack my bags for a trip. I’m so used to packing these things that I don’t need to have any written list!

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The first thing to pack is of course my equipment, which includes my precious Canon 1DX and its set of accompanying lenses ranging from 14mm to 300mm, or sometimes 600mm. I also bring along a second camera body so I can mount two different lenses at the same time, or keep it as a backup.

Then there is the usual camera stuff like the memory cards, chargers, flash, batteries, filters, cleaning kit and very importantly, universal adapters to make sure that you get the power supply to recharge your batteries. Other than the huge Ninja Turtle-like backpack that I lug the bulk of my photographic equipment in, I bring along a sling bag that houses about two to three lenses for use when I move around the track.

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There are essentially two kinds of climate to pack for – cold or hot.

When I go to countries such as Indonesia, Thailand or Malaysia, I will bring along light t-shirts and shorts if permitted otherwise it’ll be long pants. On the other hand, when I go to countries during cold times like Australia in August, Japan in November or Germany in December, I will pack a whole lot of warm clothing.

7 layers on at World Time Attack Challenge

I’m not one who can take low temperatures well so I end up having to puff myself up like the Michelin Man in order to keep warm. I usually need to wear at least five to seven layers of clothing – from thermal wear to a fleece turtleneck to a t-shirt then a knitted sweater, a fur coat and a winter jacket. A windbreaker and a cardigan are on hand just in case I need more layers.

Fighting the fog at Super Taikyu

Above and beyond these, I put on a neck warmer or a scarf, as well as a pair of gloves and one of those disposable 24-hour heat pads in my pocket. Being so padded up during cold weather does cause some restriction of movement and I can’t help feeling like a huge snowman.

Too cold in Japan (2)

Then, regardless of cold or hot, one thing that I must always be prepared for is wet weather. Rain sleeves for the camera equipment, poncho or raincoat for myself and a waterproof cover for my backpack are on standby in case the skies decide to pour open its sorrows.

Fighting the fog at Super Taikyu (2)

Lastly, be it rain or shine, there is one constant that follows me throughout – my pink hat!

Fighting the fog at Super Taikyu (3)

*This was first published in REV.

Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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