At 3PM the cars roar away, waved on by guest race-starter, tennis legend Rafael Nadal, and the race is on. We watched the start from the hospitality suite to start with but soon ventured out to find good locations to shoot the cars in action.
Being a 24-hour race, you get plenty of time to explore the circuit, despite its 8.5 miles length, much longer than an average international standard racing venue, which includes sections on public roads.
Probably the most interesting challenge for photographers at Le Mans is dealing with the low light of dusk/dawn and, of course, night time. Even with high-end pro gear, getting sharp shots when there isn’t enough light is going to be very difficult, with the cars reaching more than 210 miles per hour.
Creative motion blur
Even when it gets too dark for pin-sharp shots you can get creative with motion blur to give a profound sense of speed.
It was even possible to pan and blur the background in the fading light.
For most smartphones, shooting at night time is a nightmare. Not so with the P20 Pro. I was able to use the Light Painting mode to record the lights of the cars as trails following the curves of the track and with relative ease.
Here’s a gallery of my shots of the cars on-circuit across the 24 hours.