MotoGP In Focus

Tackling pit lane with a…smartphone.

For the last four years, MotoGP journalist David Emmett and I have spoken about this little idea I had, which involved using a smartphone, an Apple iPhone in this case, in a professional capacity to shoot an entire practice.

I wanted to see if using an iPhone was possible (in a practical sense) and, if so, what the outcome would be. I also wanted to know how those who saw me in pit lane using an iPhone, rather than the $20K-plus equipment I normally hump around, would react. I decided Sunday morning warm-up at Valencia, the last session of the year, was the perfect time for the experiment.

Following my mantra, “Fear is the enemy of creativity,” I headed to pit lane. I wanted to capture a typical cross section of images I would usually take during the 20-minute session. In the end, I was surprised by a number of things:

  1. Ease of which I could move. It was rather refreshing to be able to just "bounce" around.

  2. Great access. I set up the shot in my head, raised my iPhone, walked into a garage, took the shot, and left. No one even noticed me.

  3. Most people tire of having a big black lump shoved in their faces. With the iPhone, you can get just as close but, again, people do not notice, in part because I think most folks have been conditioned to think of smartphones as a photographic tool.

  4. Varied reactions. Some found my use of the iPhone amusing, while others took what I can only surmise was offense and actually tried to push me out of the way.

Ultimately, I captured a good selection of images—adjusted only for color and exposure—all of which are of a size that could be published in print but work perfectly for web. What a liberating experience!

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