Following on from the sport theme of surfing yesterday we have the famous F1 photographer Darren Heath. I’m actually surprised that his favorite lens is a 50mm f/1.2, I would have thought it would have been something with a little more reach.
Tell us a little about yourself?
What inspired you to get started in photography? Fell in love with photography at the age of about 13/14. I already loved motor sport so combined the two. My mother has been an artist for many years and my uncle is the world’s premier superyacht designer so an artist bent is prevalent in the family.
What gear do you take to each shoot and what lens can you not live without?
I use two Canon EOS1-DS Mk3s and have the following lenses: 14, 15, 20, 24, 24 TS-E, 35, 50, 85, 90 TS-E, 135, 200, 600, 1.4x & 2x converters. I don’t take all the lenses to every race obviously, rather tailor my kit to the nature of the circuit. I do always have the 24, 50, 85, 200 and 600 lenses.
I guess my favourite lens right now is the 50mm F/1.2.
How do you market yourself and has social media been an important part?
As in all industries it’s imperative to get as much publicity as one can and certainly social media can help with that. I tweet through my account @F1Photographer and send a mail shot of pictures and race blog post each and every F1 event. Those wishing to subscribe can do so here: http://www.darrenheath.com/newsletter
I’ve been featured on TV shows and web interviews and love talking about both photography and Formula 1.
What’s your favourite photo that you’ve taken and does it have any significance?
I don’t really have a favourite photograph and am tempted to say that I haven’t taken it yet! One is constantly trying to improve so previous work serves as a learning process in the pursuit of ever better images. A shot I particularly like from this season is of a Toro Rosso F1 car throwing -up water spray during a practice start at the Canadian gp last year. It seems to me to have a certain peaceful feeling about it that belies the awesome power being unleashed through the spinning tyre.
Select a photo you have taken, explain how it was taken and how did you edit it?
The attached shot of Fernando Alonso rushing past two sunbathing beauties at Monaco last year was a joy to shoot! I was perched precariously above the sun deck and timing the shutter release as the car passes below. A certain amount of anticipation was required as one can’t see the car coming and of course the cooperation of the girls helped too! Editing was simply processing the Raw file in Bridge then working on the image with Photoshop.
What processing tool do you use and do you believe in the camera doing all the work or in post ?
I use Photoshop CS4. I try to shoot as much in camera as possible, both because it’s a good discipline and saves time. I spent many years shooting film which serves me (and all other senior snappers!) well in this digital age.
Whats your favourite photography accessory other than your camera?
A monopod. YOu try hand holding a 600mm lens for more than a minute or two!
Where do you prefer to post your photos online and why there?
My website. Where else?!
Do you ever get photographers block and if so what do you do to get inspired again?
Yes sometimes. Suzuka (Japan) last year during practice I just couldn’t get in the picture taking groove. You can spot when it happens because I start shouting at myself and throwing my gear about!
Is there anything you wish you had done when you first started in photography that would of made a difference?
Wouldn’t really change anything. As far as advice goes, find a style that stands out from the crowd, perfect your technique by practicing hard, only show your best work and on no account work for free.
Any advice for new photographers wanting to go pro?
If the desire is to shoot Formula 1 then stay well away from the top echelon of motor sport. One is far better served to shoot local rallies, club meets and sprint events. You’ll get close to the action and competitors will welcome your presence. Once a good standard of photography has been achieved start showing your work to prospective clients and employers.