As photographers, whether it be amateur or pro, we all have that one bit of equipment we would dearly love in our camera bag and for many of us (me included) more than one. Fortunately, as some equipment can be pricey, there are alternatives. With Calumet rental, having the right piece of equipment in your bag for a particular shoot is easier and more affordable than you might think.
Friday 03/07/15 (Practice Day)
A 6 am start and armed with my rented Canon EOS 1D-X, the new to Calumet rental 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS II USM and a 1.4x III extender having taken advantage of Calumet’s weekend offer of 3 days for the price of 2, I headed to Silverstone. Arriving at the circuit I made my way to the grandstand I wanted to sit in for the first free practice session. One of the great things about being at the grand prix all weekend, is the ability to sit where you like on the Friday and Saturday. I chose Becketts, a fast and sweeping section of the track where the cars can reach up to 190mph. I got my gear ready as the first session started at 10a.m. This lasts 90 minutes, so gives you plenty of time to get your settings for shooting correct.
I stayed at Becketts for a while to watch some of the support races, before heading to Luffield for second practice. One of the slower corners on the circuit, it gives you the chance to catch the cars from different angles.
While at Luffield, I witnessed 3 cars spinning off the track in front of me, including Roman Grosjean’s, whose car I pictured getting lifted off the circuit and a picture of the driver himself. One of the best things about these vantage points is that there is no fence in the way blocking your view of the track. Location knowledge before the big race on Sunday was becoming an important factor.
Saturday 04/07/15 (Qualifying Day)
On the Saturday, I arrived even earlier. I managed to get a seat on the International Pits Straight, a decision I did not regret. There were some more practice sessions and support races. Another tradition at the British Grand Prix is the appearance of the Red Arrows. One of the many times over the weekend I was very pleased I had rented the 1.4 extender.
I had spent the morning trying some new techniques, a low shutter speed (1/60 second) and tracking the car using the AI servo to give the classic picture of a blurry background. Having used that technique for the final practice session, it was time for qualifying. A tense qualifying session, with the Mercedes battling it out for pole, it was eventually Lewis Hamilton who won pole position. I was fortunate to be sat exactly opposite the place where he got out of his car and got some great shots of him celebrating his pole and the top three drivers posing for the photographers, all of these were taken from the main grandstand.
Sunday 05/07/15 (Race Day)
Race day was finally here, this is what the whole weekend had been building up to. It’s always worth bearing in mind that Silverstone is 3.66 miles in length and therefore, depending on where you’re sitting, it might be a long walk to get to your grandstand. Always make sure you leave plenty of time to get there (it can take up to 45 minutes) and make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes. I made it to my stand just in time to see the drivers’ track parade and the RAF Typhoon display before the start of the race.
We were treated to a thrilling Grand Prix and a British winner in Lewis Hamilton to top the whole weekend off!
Without the use of Calumet rental, the equipment that I own personally would have been insufficient to get any of the pictures I did. Calumet offers a service that I recommend to amateurs and pros alike.