One of my passions in life is F1. From the glitz and glamor of the sport to the semi-automatic seamless shift sequential gearboxes, its great. So it makes sense to research into the nature of photographing such sport. With hundreds of photographers covering each race weekend you tend to get quite a lot of the same generic shots. However one photographer seems to break the mould when it comes to F1 photography.
Darren Heath is one of the top F1 photographers shooting today. His approach to taking photographs of F1 is still fresh, even after 22 years of doing it. One of the first times I came into contact with Darren’s photographs was through the BBCs website. The F1 Big Picture was a page which was updated every race with one of Darren’s photographs, each one as stunning as the next. A video introducing Darren Heath:
This next extract was taken from the BBC where he was describing one of his photographs.
“In the world of photographing Formula 1 the composition of a photograph is – as in all forms of the art – king. Whilst obvious attention is given to the big-in-the-frame action shot it’s often a good idea to shoot a tad lower using the visual stimulus of the surrounding landscape to compose a picture that can have almost equal amounts of drama. When framing such a shot it is of paramount importance to have in mind the rule of thirds. As all professional lens men should know, the rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. By adhering to this simple yet often ignored technique, rather than simply centring the subject, one’s resulting pictures will have more drama, energy and interest. With the rule etched in my mind from an early age, I see almost everything through an imaginary grid.”
Heath seems to highly rate the rule of thirds which is practically the same as the Golden Ratio. One interesting part of the quote was found in the last sentence. Heath talks like he uses the Golden Ratio subconsciously when taking photos. When he says “rule [was] etched in my mind from an early age” may suggest that Heath was in fact born with the Golden Ratio already embedded in his mind.
Heaths use of the Golden Ratio is one of his key strengths as a photographer. Gaining this compositional skill within his photography would be very hard considering these cars can reach 200mph+. Conquering this technique maybe one of the reasons Heath has become a common name in F1 photography.