crankandpiston introduces the work of photographer Miguel Bosch, ardent motorsport fan and Nürburgring regular.[Not a valid template]
Guest Author – Miguel Bosch
The familiar engine sounds of racing cars; the sense of heritage; the sweet smell of rubber and oil, all in contrast with the serenity of Zandvoort or the mountain forests of the Eifel and Ardennes. There is nowhere I would rather be than at the racetrack.
Hi. My name is Miguel Bosch, and I’m a motorsport photographer.
Motorsport has been my passion since I was a boy. There was nothing I wouldn’t watch on TV, be it Formula 1, CART, Formula 3000 (now the GP2 series) or FIA GT. It didn’t matter. But it was only two years ago that I finally bought my own car – a blue 1993 Daihatsu Cuore, known to friends as the ‘Blitzmobile’ – and started visiting races. My first was the 6 Heures de Spa-Francorchamps in 2012, a round of the World Endurance Championship. Seeing the amazing machinery on display in the paddock and being put to work on-track, it seemed like a good moment to make the hefty financial leap from my heavily used compact camera to a proper DSLR.
Enthusiasm for motorsports and photography has always been there. The combination is new but playing around with my dad’s old Pentax SLR as an 11-year old has always stuck with me, and contributed towards me buying my own compact camera. I’m glad I gave into it since I developed a valuable new skill and found something I love doing. It’s what’s kept me going when life gets rough.
Of course the idea of shooting A-grade photos seemed a distant one in April last year, but I quickly got myself up to speed with the help of YouTube tutorials and the great examples that are published through online forums. Indeed, a lot of my inspiration comes from the community of Dutch, German, Belgian and British photographers on Flickr, many of whom shoot the same races as I do. I count myself very lucky to live in a part of Europe where classic circuits like Zandvoort, Spa-Francorchamps and the Nürburgring – all three among the top ten in the world in my opinion – are just a three-hour car journey away. And while I try not to copy anyone’s style, the Flickr community really shows what is possible to achieve at the race tracks I’m now spending so much time at. Trying to live up to their standards, these photos also push me to be more bold and experimental.
In total I have had only sixteen days of trackside shooting, and although I can feel myself improving, I still have a lot to learn. My biggest challenge is creativity. It’s all about trying things out, understanding the camera, challenging myself and working with what you have. Good preparation is a good start to any race event, and that’s important. Take the enormous Nürburgring for instance: it’s helpful knowing how to get around the track and understanding what kind of shots you’re looking for before you get there.
Perhaps the best advice I have been given is ‘always be prepared to be disappointed’ (and I’ve heard that from a lot of my contemporaries). When I get home after a long day and slide the SD card into the laptop, there will be many photos that go straight into the bin and only a small number that are left that are worth publishing at all. Some days are better than others, and of course some circuits and series lend themselves to good photography better than others.
The Nürburgring for instance is my favourite: you need to have been there to really understand why. The Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring (or VLN) is the last high level racing series that competes at the Nordschleife, and with world class GT3 cars, teams and drivers competing against historic race and production machines, it’s no wonder thousands of fans flock to the ‘Ring for what is essentially a local racing series. Plus, it didn’t take long for me to realise that GT/sportscar racing is so much better to watch than open wheel racing when you’re at a circuit. The recognisable cars, the more welcoming atmosphere in the paddock and the close racing is something you barely see in open wheel racing any more. The races are usually longer too, providing the chance to walk around and get shots in locations that are normally during sprint races that last a maximum of 60 minutes.
That being said, I do have a soft spot for Formula Renault – which I’ve been lucky enough to shoot on several occasions – since this requires a whole new technique and is helping me develop a new skill set. Reflections from the sun on single seaters for instance are not quite as emphatic as those that bounce off the windscreen of a GT car, and it’s a tough balancing act to get right. I’d love to do some more close-ups too, to show just how much each driver is working in the cockpit.
But there’s still a long way to go. Hopefully as you can see by my VLN collection above that my efforts are paying dividends. In the future I hope to make visits to Monza and of course the 24 Hours of Le Mans (and who knows, maybe even the Dubai 24 Hours). I’m sure the travel and the challenge of an unknown circuit will be well worth it.
In the meantime I have 26km of the Nordschleife to perfect. That might take some time, and I hope the Blitzmobile won’t begrudge a few more three-hour road trips.