mervfrench PHOTOGRAPHY


8000 Wild Kicking, Screaming, Horses All Trying To Get Out At The Same Time.

Posted by mervfrench on December 7, 2009

Now I’m not a rev head by any stretch of the imagination. Ok I don’t mind cars to a degree but don’t really get off on them.

I went to the drags on Saturday night,  the Top Fuelers show is in town, nothing new there , I’ve been a couple of times before over the years and seen them  from the stands but this was different ,  I was shooting them this time,  RIGHT  AT TRACKSIDE .

When these missiles take off it is quite frightening , the sound and shock waves go right thru your body like an electric charge and if one of these engines let go it would be rather scary , I’m not sure that you would have the reflex’s to duck or dive out of the way behind the concrete fence before you copped a piston in the head.. The vibrations were setting off car alarms in the car park … AWESOME .. is a word that springs to mind.

Trying to get a shot is not easy. You have to try and pick the time that they are going to  hit the gas when the cars are sitting there thumping and the horses are just ready to break out . With your camera up to your eye you can’t see the  tree ( the  starting light’s, a technical term  you learn  when your part of the in crowd ) so you are waiting waiting waiting .

Then you start to shake in anticipation as the milli seconds go by and you wonder when you are going to be shaken shit out of.  OK NOW,  hit the shutter button and hope for the best, the shots rattle off and then the light goes green, you don’t see it, they hit the throttle. Fuel and air is pumped into the engine at some incredible  rate and it responds like you wouldn’t believe , you shake , your chest is under pressure , you shit yourself , the camera goes in all directions, and you hope that at least one of the 35 shots you’ve fired off is a keeper, 4.6 seconds later the cars are  long gone , 400 metres away up at the finish line , it’s all over .

You get your breath back and think ” I’m still in one piece , man that was awesome stuff  , BRING THEM ON AGAIN ”

Some  shots are rather easy to get ………. it helps to relax you !!!!


35 Responses to “8000 Wild Kicking, Screaming, Horses All Trying To Get Out At The Same Time.”

  1. Peter Hodgson said

    I was wondering how you got on, Looks like you got a few goodies. What did you say to the girl to make her turn away and look at the ground ?, oh on second thoughts don’t tell us.

  2. So how many times did you touch cloth Merv??? It’s always hard doing motorsport when you’re that close to the track, I’ve been chased on the infield of a speedway track a couple times!!
    So was a good night? I personally haven’t been to the drags, but am keen to go.

    • mervfrench said

      I didn’t wipe at all Jamie, it’s really pretty clean as any crap is blown well over your head and probably 30 miles out to sea I’d say with force behind it.

      Fumes are a bit of a problem at times , you learn to hold your breath.

      Smoke from burnouts and noise are the enemy here.

      Yep , good night when there’s something like the top fuelers going, otherwise ??????

  3. Some good keepers Merv. The distortion and flames from the fumes in the first picture oozes power! Looks like it would have been a good night.

  4. truenorthmark said

    Good story and good shots Merv!

    Glad to see you also managed to capture an excellent wildlife shot as well with teh bird shot!!! 🙂

  5. KhenG said

    Great shots Merv… really like the first shot of the fires blaring!!!! Great timing.

    I second what Mark said 🙂

  6. dont worry guys , i was there to hold mervs hand on saturday night … as it was my first on trackside photos aswell at a top fuel meet , thanks to merv lending me his 70-200 f/2.8 for a little while , i managed to crank some awesome shots from my fairly new EOS 7D ( helps when you have 8fps to fire with ) … awesome weekend

    cheers again merv

  7. Which lens were you using Merv??

  8. Brian said

    Great stuff mate – those earplugs are wise investment hey 🙂

    I think you’ll like the funny car round as well .

  9. Christian said

    Not blokey enough for me Merv, a little too pedestrian for my liking!!! Nah just kidding that was awesome dude, great story and action, but sorry I like Daves Finches better. And Jamies wildlife shot from the super x were better too. Back to thee drawing board mate!!

    • mervfrench said

      Jeeeez….. you have gone off the boil since you cut your hair. 🙂

      I’ll tell Jackie you think she’s not up there.

      Ah well, if the doors at New Norcia float your boat , that’s cool with me !!!

      🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. Hmmmm I used to do this stuff for a living. Shooting the girls at the events that is. Maybe I should post some of my shots. I know what you mean Merv about being next to the barrier. I almost dropped my camera the first time.

  11. Hey Merv that first shot is awsome, I love the drags and have been down a few times to photograph them, How did you end up trackside.

  12. katieleigh said

    awesome shots!

  13. Donelle said

    Nice pics Merv, very cool!! Last time I went to the drags I was pregnant with my 2nd son and with all the noise he went ballistic in my belly! lol But Im more of a V8 Supercar girl myself!! lol

  14. Cool shots Merv

  15. truenorthmark said

    Mate I reckon the wildlife shot in the last image is your best work yet!

  16. truenorthmark said

    Now you’re talking…that is your mission son…and if you can get them in various stages of undress then you will truly be a legend!

  17. truenorthmark said

    Eh check out the dude on the left of the top shot. No ear muffs or plugs that you can see! He will be one of those dudes with hearing aids in a few years eh! 🙂

  18. Ngarie said

    these shots are fantastic

  19. mervfrench said

    thanks Ngarie, .


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