Working at Moto GP Comunitat Valenciana… (I)

… and not regretting anything. Last four days have been amazing, working at Moto GP Comunitat Valenciana hosted in Ricardo Tormo circuit. Adventure started on Thursday the 7th. Time to gain access to the Media Center, purchase an internet connection – 30 euros to have service the whole event – and choose a locker to keep my equipment safe. Main events that day were two press conferences with Moto 3 and Moto GP riders.

Moto GP Comunitat ValencianaCanon Eos 1d Mrk IV – 70-200mm f2.8 L USM – ISO 1250 – 1/640 – f2.8

Here you can see a map of the circuit , with the main track, pit lane, paddock, stands, camping and parking.


Friday was time to free practice in all of the three categories: Moto 3, Moto 2 and Moto GP. It was my first time to work  at Ricardo Tormo circuit so the free practices stage was a good moment to study the track, for access to accredited areas, media center, paddock and to get familiar with the event. Time to experiment with shots from several turns, analyze sunlight and shadows and take first pictures.

Moto GP Comunitat ValencianaCanon Eos 1d Mark IV – 400mm f2.8 IS L USM – ISO 640 – 1/2500 – f5.6

Above you can see Valentino Rossi, italian rider of the Yamaha Factory Racing team practicing on Friday. The shot was taken at turn number 13, near the lake. It’s a nice place to take pictures. The turn is the longest of the circuit and we are very close to riders. I have to confess, unless you are working with a 600mm f4 lens, and depending on the distance from the rider, you have to crop the pictures to fill the frame with the motorbike. In this case I cropped with a 1/2 factor. I spent all of Friday getting portraits of the riders on the track – kind of ‘stickers’- filling the frame with them. Doing it this way, Saturday and Sunday you can focus on the Qualifying stage and races, and the Agency has already the bikes and riders to illustrate the news for the weekend.

Padoock_girlsCanon Eos 5d Mark III – 70-200mm f2.8 L USM – ISO 320 – 1/800 – f4.5

And finally Saturday arrived, and with it… Paddock girls!! also known as ‘Umbrella Girls’ or ‘Grid Girls’. These ‘bimbos’ are part of Moto GP show. When you are walking along the paddock – the area where the team trucks and hospitalities are parked – you can see people with VIP passes or Paddock tickets taking pictures of themselves with the girls, or just chatting about them. I must admit the ‘Umbrella Girls’ are easy… to work. You just walk to them, ask for a picture and they pose for you with a big smile. Saturday, Canon CPS – Canon Professional Services –  lent me a Canon 5d Mark III, so I took the chance to shoot these girls with 21 megapixels in a full frame ‘body’ to take every single ‘detail’. Amazing camera by the way, but with a burst mode – 6 frames per second – and AF Focus a bit slow for a motor track.

Moto GP Comunitat ValencianaCanon Eos 1d Mark IV – 400mm f2.8 IS L USM – ISO 250 – 1/2000 – f6.3

After having a bit of fun shooting along the paddock, I went to the track to work on Qualifying Stages. I decided to try turn  13 shooting towards turn 14 – the exterior side – and getting the stands full of fans on the background.  Heat effect on the track and the descent give us a great frame for the shot.


Time to go now to the press conference after Qualifying stage and experiment with 400mm f2.8 IS USM L lens to portrait riders. Saturday ends and everyone – photographers, riders, team staff, journalists and circuit employees – enter a strange state of calm. A state of calm you can feel on Sunday morning mixed with anxiety, nerves and up-&-down runs in the media center. The night before the race, I was studying the track and planning shots for the three races: Moto 3, Moto 2 and Moto GP. Even on Sunday morning I couldn’t have a clear idea in my mind about how to shoot the races. I had a lot of doubts about what to shoot, distances to cover from one turn to the other, without missing anything. Finally, talking with Jose Jordan and Jaime Reina, AFP photographers, I decided to shot Moto 3 and Moto GP in the same way: first, the start from turn 1 – exterior side -, after two laps, go to an interior area in the circuit where I could cover turns 4, 5, 6 and 11 spending the most part of the race there until last three laps, time I used to go from where I was to the finish line, to get the winners passing it.

Moto GP Comunitat ValencianaCanon Eos 1d Mark IV – 400mm f2.8 IS L USM – ISO 640 – 1/1600 – f10

Moto GP Comunitat ValencianaCanon Eos 1d Mark IV – 400mm f2.8 IS L USM – ISO 500 – 1/3200 – f4

To be continued…