Palm Trees, Sunshine, and Tire Smoke From a 8.1-Liter Turbo LS-Powered BRZ

Is there anything more you need than that?

Here’s one from the time I was a Formula Drift photographer, my second and final year having access to the series. This is where I caught my stride, got confident with panning, using different focal lengths, and getting creative with framing. Early days, but this is a shot I come back to often.

  • Car(s): Dai Yoshihara’s FD Subaru BRZ (it has an 8.1 liter turbo LS engine)
  • Location: Long Beach Grand Prix Circuit, Long Beach, CA
  • Photog: Chris Rosales (IG + Twit @Chrishasacamera)
  • Camera: Canon 5D Mark III w/ 16-35mm f/2.8L

I just bought my first decent gear, and basically drained my bank account for it. I found a well-used Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 16-35mm L lens to let myself grow into some better gear. I was quite proud of it. Even then, I still rented some other lenses for the 2017 Formula D Long Beach round, but this shot is the result of my then-new combo.

You see, most motorsports shots you’ll see are shot with massive telephoto lenses in excess of 300mm. Basically, the bigger the mm number the more zoom you get from the lens. This is necessary for a few reasons, most of them being the distance most photo-holes are from the actual cars and track.

The luxury of a street circuit like Long Beach, is your proximity to the cars. It’s a few feet at minimum, and most of the time it’s just a concrete wall that’s protecting you from several thousand pound missiles hurling into you. That opens up some opportunities for creative framing and lens usage, so I tossed my very wide 16-35mm lens on my full-frame 5D, threw the shutter speed way down, and found a nice wide frame.

If I have one criticism for my past-self: get lower, damnit!

Here’s the result! As big as we could get it:

Palm Trees, Sunshine, and Tire Smoke From a 8.1-Liter Turbo LS-Powered BRZ
Chris Rosales

Chris RosalesChris has owned 12 cars of questionable quality, is an experienced motorsports photographer, and a good all-around wrench. When he isn’t tinkering with his car in his home garage, you can catch Chris in the canyons around SoCal. He also hopelessly hankers for Euros, but he honestly knows he should get something Japanese, eventually. Contact the author here.