21 May Super Spies: Respect for the Media
Stephen Hudec | Canada
Helmet Culture Media was kind enough to get me a media pass for this past weekend’s Victoria Day Speedfest. This included a photo vest to allow me to get closer to the action than spectators are allowed, so I was able to get some photos that I have been dreaming of getting for a long time! For those, please check out the two galleries from the weekend, linked HERE and HERE!
Now, as everybody who reads my blog should know that I do this as a hobby and I intend to keep it that way. I enjoy my full-time engineering job too much to consider moving careers for something completely different. That being said, this weekend was a bit of an eye opener as I got a behind-the-scenes look that very few spectators gets to see.
After getting my media pass and parking permit at the front gate of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, I drove up the media centre to sign myself in. Upon entering the media room, I signed the waiver and proceeded to sit down at the Helmet Culture table.
At Mosport, the media room has dozens of tables with people from all over the media realm: SRO, IMSA and other race series, local newspapers and radio stations, and other websites and blogs globally. There are also TV monitors with live timing screens and the live broadcast being displayed. Finally, there was the long table at the end of the room with the backdrop and microphones set up for interviews.
Scattered across the room are DLSR cameras and lenses, gimbles, laptops, powerbars and portable PC setups belonging to the various media outlets. Next to each, is a member of said outlets slaving over their work, rushing to get it articles, or videos published whilst at the track. Or there are teams going over their assignments and what they want to cover for the day.
Of course next door is the broadcast booth, where the TV personalities are going full-tilt bring you the live action.
8am comes and everybody gathers around for the morning briefing: What is going on, which famous person is here doing various stuff, and finally the go/no-go areas for the photographers with the vests and the general rules for going into the restricted areas.
I get my photo vests, I get my instructions from the Helmet Culture Agents for what they desire and I’m off to the track to get my shots.
Now Mosport is a pretty track to shoot and there are a lot of good areas to shoot without needing to pay hundreds of dollars for a vest. I should know, that’s been my MO the last couple years doing this blog.
That being said there are a couple areas that are supreme spots for taking photos that I made a beeline to: The first was the bottom/outside of turn 2. Being at the bottom of turn 2, you can see the cars crest the hill under the bridge. It’s a pretty fun place to shoot.
The next area was being able to go halfway down the Andretti straight on driver’s left. Again, you can see the cars cresting the hill and it’s another picturesque opportunity.
Other areas to get good photos are closer to the walls at turn 2,3,5 and 8.
Another perk of going over the fence is being able to talk with the marshals between sessions. I suppose you could do that anyway, but being up in the marshal’s stand with them gives a nice little break from the sun as well.
After all that shooting, I come back for lunch and there are the guys covering the races stuffing their faces with food and working hard at the same time. Talks of deadlines and the races going on abound. It’s a non-stop affair.
The rest of the day is more or less the same, but with the afternoon’s races come post-race interviews and whatnot. My head was spinning just watching the choreography going on.
Of course, this was rinse and repeat the next day as well. You have to respect those guys that bring you all the content for all those races live. I’m sitting here writing this now after everything is over on my holiday (yay Victoria Day!). Even doing that is difficult when I don’t have to meet any sort of hard deadline.
Looking back on the weekend, it truly was something to behold. As somebody who does this for a hobby, to get a taste of what it would be like to do this for a living was a great thing to see. It also reaffirms to me that I want to keep doing this as a hobby.
Thanks again to the mysterious Helmet Culture for the amazing opportunity and I hope you all enjoyed this post!
I will be doing more posts about this weekend in the next week or so, so come back for those!
As always, if you liked this post, please follow @helmetculture and @cultureofracing on Instagram.
Stephen Hudec | Canada