Events - BTCC Oulton Park and Support Races

2.26 miles of undulating hills, banked corners and 120 mph straights all make Oulton Park one of the most exciting circuits on the BTCC calendar. Add a downpour to this combination and you have what promises to be an action packed day of racing.

This is my first time visiting the Cheshire based circuit and it certainly won't be my last. Circuit barriers are opened between races allowing footfall between the infield and outfield, resulting in nearly every part of the circuit being accessible.  Various parts of the circuit are banked which offer great vantage points to watch the days events unfold.

There's a little story behind this weekends events that I want to share. My best friend is soon to be wed, and as part of his pre-wed celebrations (and him being an absolute touring car nut) it was only right to try and organise something a little special. Using the power of social media I managed to get in touch with the Honda Racing BTCC team who were absolutely amazing in helping me organise a meet and greet with the legends themselves...Flash and Neal! Chris (the groom) and I were over the moon to meet our heroes and we would love to say a huge thank you to Honda Racing for making the whole day unforgettable. Here's a picture of Chris with the two drivers that now lead the BTCC Championship (Congratulations guys, keep it up!)

We both feel privileged as it was great to be in the garage during the hustle and bustle of a winning team as they set about prepping the race cars:

Qualifying and practice on the day before had been dry, but unpredictable as ever the British heavens decided to open. That meant all of the teams were busy discussing and changing suspension setups ready for race 1. We all already know that the British Touring Car Championship is a fantastic series, and today really enforced that for me. With the weather ever changing, different drivers were electing for different tyre setups making it a game of chances. Those who ran wets all around showed pace in the beginning, but quickly overheated their tyres as a dry line appeared resulting in a lack of grip.

Lea Wood made his debut return to the BTCC in the Honda Integra DC5 and certainly showed that he is a forced to be reckoned with after finishing 7th in the car's first outing. This photograph is shot at Lodge Corner looking down towards Deer Leap which offers a unique perspective thanks to it being elevated.

With the usual support races consisting of the Porsche Carrera Cup, Ginetta Supercup, Ginetta Juniors, Formula Renault and Renault Clio Cup there was never a shortage of action on track. Chris and I walked the entire circuit on the day, taking advantage of all the different locations I could shoot from. This means I've got a great variations in the types of shots captured, and makes Oulton Park one of my favourite circuits to shoot at (now I just need to get my hands on a media pass!). Here's a marmite shot (meaning you'll either love it or hate it) of Championship leader Tom Ingram passing the very wet crowds at Druids:

If you're interested in seeing a full gallery of 153 images from Oulton Park, please feel free to click this link.

Events - BTCC Brands Hatch Season Opener

This weekend Brands Hatch marked the start of the 2011 British Touring Car Championship, and with spring finally here is there a better way to start the season off?! This years record breaking line up took on the indy circuit in it's first three rounds, and gave a thrilling day's racing.

The British Touring Car Championship event is always a great day out, as not only do you get all the hype which comes with the BTCC, but the support races provide nail-bitingly close action all day long. Today we had the pleasure of watching the ever manic and crazy Renault Clio Cup, the stunning Ginetta G50's, the fast-paced Formula Renault and not to mention the Porsche 911 Carrera Cup which look and sound phenomenal!

Taking interesting photographs of the fast-paced action from a spectators position is never easy, and is why this year my partner and I wanted to do a slightly different take on the day's racing. Trying to find interesting viewpoints (albeit hard with thousands of visitors, chain link fences and various scaffolding for the TV cameras obscuring your view) all in order to frame the photographs differently, yet still capture the motion proved a challenge.

For a full gallery, please click here, and if you are interested in any of the photographs featured in the gallery (or have requests for specific cars) please do not hesitate to contact me. I am very interested in working with race teams for editorial or commerical work, so if anyone is interested, get in touch! Edit: Hannah's blog is now live and updated with photographs from Brands Hatch so be sure to check it out.

For part of 2011, I want to blog more about behind the scenes and how I work. The photograph below is taken of me at Brands Hatch by my wonderful other half, Hannah Couzens. Being a spectator on the day, it meant alot of walking around the circuit trying to find different vantage points/angles to capture something different from the norm. The Domke Little Bit Bigger bag is my on-location bag of choice for this type of work, allowing me to literally throw lenses in and out of the bag, quickly changing to ensure nothing is missed. It's rugged exterior means I can drop it at an instant, and not worry about my gear.

One thing which is often overlooked is the Domke range of accessories, and although I first turned my nose up at the thought of it, their Shoulder Pad which can be attached to any manufacture shoulder bag (contoured shape to sit comfortably on the shoulder) means it is incredibly comfortable even to lug the heavy bag around all day. Highly recommended!

Photoshoot - Most experienced car salesman?

When a PR agency contacted us and explained the story behind Don Burgess, quite possibly the most experienced car salesman still working today, it wasn't a hard decision to wether we'd provide the photography for it (even if we flew to South Africa the next day!). Arriving at the dealership for which Don worked, it wasn't long before we saw his key to success. His passion for the cars in which he sold shone through, and his ability to listen made it incredibly easy to see him as a 'friend' rather than a salesman. With Don complimenting me on my own method of transport, the Honda S2000 we were always bound to get along! :)

It was a pleasure photographing Don at Brayley Honda for his 75th birthday, even managing to sneak a few photographs of his pride and joy, the Jaguar inbetween PR shots. Don't ask us how or why, but Hannah Couzens even managed to get Don leaping in the boot of a CR-V for a fantastic shot, shame it never made it to publication!

The story has been published in various formats, few tearsheets below:

Originally published in "Car Dealer" Magazine and "Institute of The Motor Industry" Magazine