The World of Outlaw Late Model Series came to Weedsport Speedway in Upstate New York on June 23rd. A few weeks earlier I photographed the wedding of one of the series’ top drivers, Tim McCreadie, so this was a perfect opportunity to spend an evening with him at the track to get some behind the scenes footage with some new Sigma lenses.
My main focus was to put Sigma’s 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport to the test on the track, along with using the versatility of the Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4 Contemporary lens for some of the pit action. Once the sun went down, I switched over to the Sigma 120-300 F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens for the feature race.
Having full access to the pits and the press tower, I was able to shoot from perspectives not always available to the fans. The 17-70 Contemporary lens was the perfect companion lens to the 150-600 Sport for the up close and personal shots in the pits. I love wide angle lenses to tell parts of the story that telephotos just don’t do justice. At the wide end, the 17-70 was just wide enough on my crop sensor D300 to give me the look that I wanted, stretching the low perspective of McCreadie’s Sweetners Plus Late Model. At F2.8 on the wide side, the lens continued to be an asset as the sun went down and the pit lights came on. It would have been absolutely perfect if the lens had built in mosquito repellent to keep them off my hands.
The Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro (OS)* HSM | C was a great companion to the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport for capturing dramatic wide angle images in the pits at the World of Outlaw Late Model race at Weedsport Speedway in Weedsport, NY.
Having the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport lens in the pits was great for capturing the tight shots of the drivers interacting with each other and their crew members. On the track, the 150-600mm was perfect. I’ve photographed dozens of DIRT races from the infield in the past and never felt comfortable with the cars flying past me at 100+ mile per hour. Using a lens with such a strong focal length allowed me to shoot from vantage points that allowed me to concentrate on the photos without fearing for my life. I had no issues covering the three-eigths mile clay oval from end to end with this lens from either the press tower above turns 3 and 4, the grandstands at the start of the front straight away, or down along the pit entrance to get the action coming toward me as the cars slid their way through the turns.
On the track, the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport performed extremely well with focus tracking, panning and optical stabilization, even when the air filled with dust from the clay oval at Weedsport Speedway in Weedsport, NY.
Early in the event, the track is still tacky sending chunks of mud flying everywhere, which made for some cool images in the late afternoon light. By the time the feature event took place, the field of 24 800-horsepower Late Models turned the cool, early Summer air in to a dust storm so thick I could barely see the far end of the track. At this point I had switched from the 150-600 to the faster 120-300 F2.8 Sport lens. I sacrificed a little reach for the faster shutter speed.
I didn’t dare change lenses track side for fear of coating my sensor with pulverized race track. The dust proof characteristic of both telephoto lenses performed flawlessly however. Once back at the studio I was able to blast the lenses with my DataVac Electric Duster with no ill effects.
Regardless of which telephoto I used, they both performed extremely well with regard to focus tracking, panning and image stabilization. Shooting with a good monopod is recommended for these lenses which also helps to pan with the cars on a level plane.
Whether your shooting a DIRT Series race at your local track, or the next NASCAR event at Daytona, the Sigma 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sport is a great addition to any camera bag. If you’re fortunate enough to have pit access, the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro (OS)* HSM Contemporary lens is great compliment to your telephoto to help tell your story.