I have to say, after the very impressive setup at the World Track Championships at Manchester in March, I'm a little disappointed with the facilities at Wembley. Yes, they're superficially similar - hot and cold running power, ethernet, tea and coffee - and there's a great view of the track, erm, pitch... from here, but for some reason it seems a little underwhelming.
There's a cold, wet, outdoor workstation with a similar setup, which I may use tomorrow - but probably not. And, unfortunately, there's limited access to the track for photographic purposes.
For safety reasons you can't get down on to trackside - when the cars whack the barriers they do tend to move them - and the barriers get in the way of the pictures, unless you can find the right spot. Today's not too bad as the public aren't in and we have pretty free access. Tomorrow, when it matters, is going to be a bit of a pain, I think. Especially given that I'm only really here to cover one, one lap race so I have to get it right. No pressure then.
Coming from a software development background (long time ago...), I know that changing one variable at a time as a sensible approach. And I'd vote for sensible every time. I just can't do it myself. So, as well as shooting in a large outdoor sports stadium for the first time, I'm also using two new lenses that I've effectively had no practice time with whatsoever (Nikkor 400mm and 14-24mm - of which, more later) and a Gary Fong Lightsphere II - again, never used it before... I am, as Jeremy Clarkson might say, a mental. Still, I'll probably only be using one of them at a time!
To ease the problems a little they started the practice session with some cute little Punto Abarths to let the drivers get used to the circuit and, while it clearly wasn't their intention, to allow me to practice shooting cars, which I haven't done for a long, long time. They were nice and slow and relatively predictable.
Of course, in the rain with the roof as shut as it would go, they've got headlights on, the stadium lights are on, everything's reflecting off the track and the metering's having a great time trying to figure out what the hell's going on. I can see me and Lightroom spending a lot of time together tomorrow evening!
Lessons learned so far. The 400mm focuses very, very quickly; 1/200 is fine for most of the shots to get a sharp car with blurred wheels and a slight blur to the background - at least, it is with the Puntos!
Press conference in 45 minutes. First chance to try out the Lightsphere. In the meantime, how slowly would you take one of these round what is, in effect, an ice rink...?