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Travis Rhoads wrote:
do you have someone with you as a spotter, or just enough experience to "feel" another car coming down the pits?
No spotter. They limit who can shoot over the wall to those with a "orange vest" designation. However, that only qualifies you for shooting from the island. There are only a handful of guys allowed to shoot in the pit box during the race. So spotters would only add more bodies to the restricted space.
The key to covering your *ss is to try and always face downstream toward pit-in. Even if you're only crossing over to the island. Walk at an angle that provides you with a sightline of traffic coming into the pits. Try to never turn your back.
If a team is in for a full stop, you come over the wall with the guy carrying the pit board. You then take your shots of the car coming to a stop... then fueling and/or driver change. Then when the car goes up, you follow the tire changers around the car on the side away from the car. They will start with the front and then move to the rear. This path minimizes your time spent looking the "wrong" way. As the rear tire guys are done, you should be moving back toward the wall at the rear of the car shooting the car pulling away from the pit. This should make sure you are not in the path of the car when the driver is told to GO, GO, GO. At that point the driver is responding to audible instructions and probably not looking for photographers.
The biggest hazards lie within the pit stall you're working. Hoses around your feet, flying tires or crew members on the move. Typically, if you're in someones way, the good guys will firmly grab your shoulders and take you out of their way. It's surprisingly unoffensive and easily understood. No one wants to affect the outcome of a team's day.