There’s nothing quite like a race weekend, especially a historic one.
It’s a special experience to be trackside as hundreds others have in decades past, seeing the same machines fly by in anger. This is a topic I’ve talked a lot about in recent days, so I won’t beat a dead horse. At least, I’ll try not to.
Last weekend’s trip to Laguna Seca was also one of several in recent months, so I opted for a change of pace this time around. Because no matter what anyone says, you simply can’t do the same thing over and over. This weekend I’d live and die by a new film body.
For the day I’d primarily be using my recent purchase, a Canon EOS-1 V. This was Canon’s flagship model a decade-and-a-half ago, a body which I figured would be more than up to snuff when it came to racing. It’s crazy to think how much things have changed since then, but it means you can score a capable camera like this for next to nothing. No excuses, then.
For the first roll of the day I settled on an expired canister of Kodak Gold 200, the last of the aged stuff from my grandfather’s camera bag. I don’t think it was as old as the last one I pinched from him, but it was a good bit grainier and darker than I would expect of a fresh box of Gold 200. Regardless, without further ado…
Kodak Gold 200
In recent months I’ve become obsessed with the idea of experiencing vintage racing in the exact same way as a photographer from the ’80s or ’90s might have.
Technology, cars, tracks and landscapes change, but the incredible quality of film never will. I know I’m a bit late to the game being impressed with film, but it just shows it’s never too late to learn new tricks, even ones which are decades — centuries, even — old.
As equally as I am enamored by the offbeat quality of this analog medium, I will never fail to see the beauty of a paddock full of cantankerous old machinery in the early morning hours. The soft light and morning fog lingering around Laguna Seca just made the awesome turnout at the Trans Am SpeedFest all the better for me.
New or old, the number of man-hours poured into these cars is nothing short of amazing. Even when things go well, you still have to actually make it to the track, along with the car, a crew, and a trailer-full of spares when the inevitable finally happens.
Peeking around the paddock in the morning, I prepared myself (mostly my ears) for the loads of awesome old school cars which would be shortly screaming away on track. I can never quite place what it is that makes these older cars so much more enjoyable to me, but I’ll never miss the opportunity to reiterate how special they are.
Every time I head to a historic event I learn something new — many things, really. There are so many stories around the paddock during a weekend like this; these cars hide so much history.
The fact that these cars live on will always impress me, and I sincerely hope they never die.
Next up, the racing itself.