As I'm writing this, I'm in the media room at Barber Motorsports Park. I'm here to photograph a Motorsports chaplain for an article I wrote about him and while I'm here, I also have been able to get some decent photos of the practices.
I should be incredibly thankful. I mean, how many photographers my age ever get these kinds of opportunities? A few months ago, I wasn't able to be in the media room, but I was able to shoot trackside for an Indy race - and one spot I shot from was about 10-15 feet from the cars as they passed at approximately 150 mph.
But yet I'm disappointed. This weekend has had horrible rain. Friday (practice day) was wet but it only sprinkled some - no torrential rain.
Yesterday (Saturday) the real rain started. I shot a foot race in the morning and even though I took most of my photos from the car, I still got soaked. I ended up using my poncho as a barrier to protect the electronics in my door (the locks and window controls). Eventually, the poncho fell into a puddle and got soaked, inside and out. Between that and the fact that the rain was supposed to keep up through the afternoon, we opted out for day two of the racing weekend.
Not going Saturday afternoon meant that there was less of a chance that I would get the specific photo I had hoped to use in my article. You see, for a big race like this, the chaplain prays with the riders before each race. He made arrangements for me to go out and take pics of him doing so - on the track where the riders line up for the race start. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime activity... and the rain has prevented it for every race so far today, except the one I missed because of a miscommunication with him about where to meet.
Because he doesn't have time to pray with the riders for "quick starts" and those aren't changed until close to the time for the race, I can't go anywhere else and shoot - there's not enough time. So today I haven't been able to shoot the action OR get the photo I wanted.
I'm so upset and I really shouldn't be... It's amazing that I had a chance to "live" in the media center at Barber Racetrack for a big race weekend; it's really cool that I already was able to watch a press conference after a race; I did get some good photos and it's not like a needed more than a couple for my portfolio; and I was able to get a photo that I can use for the article, even if I don't get the one I came for.
I keep repeating to myself the Serenity Prayer - and reminding myself that the rain is definitely something I cannot change. I am having a hard time not beating myself up for coming yesterday afternoon as well as for not getting to the prayer time this morning - but the forecast showed that it was supposed to be nicer today so I just knew that I would be able to get what I needed.
Honestly, there are still two races to go. The forecast is showing the heavy rain continuing, but there's always the small chance that one of them will do a regular start and I'll still get to get what I came for.
But even if I don't, it ultimately doesn't matter. Like I said, I can't control the weather; I can't control the timing of making the calls about quick starts; I can't control that there's not enough time to find a place to shoot in between races and still be available for the possibility of catching a prayer.
All I can do is try my best to control my disappointment and hopefully focus on the positive... and remember that life isn't about getting what you want all of the time.
Well, there was a quick start for the next to last race so that one was out. Then the weather started clearing up. I was very hopeful that the last race (which was the highest level group), would have a long start and I could get that photo.
I got ready and started to head down to the track when I got a call. It was a woman so I was taken aback at first. She introduced herself as the chaplain's wife and told me that there was a medical emergency with one of those involved with the race and that he might have to go to the hospital with him. I told her that of course, it was okay as that's the most important part of his job. But after getting off the phone, my true emotions emerged.
I couldn't believe this happened. Really? I was torn. I hate to say it but my immediate response was complete disappointment and sadness for the missed opportunity. Then it quickly changed into compassion for whoever it was that had the medical issue as well as for the chaplain, because he wanted that photo as much as I did.
But when I got off the phone all I wanted to do was cry. Thankfully, I was out of the media center when I got the news so I didn't have to stay completely composed. I was also mad at myself, as I didn't go to the race on Saturday afternoon and I realized I should have.
Honestly, though, who would have predicted all this? The miscommunication in the morning, the ongoing rain when it hadn't been forecast in the afternoon, the medical emergency?
However, it all changed with a call from my boyfriend and photography partner. He found out that we could go into the pit area and shoot with the credentials we already had. We had been told we could during a practice day but then got in trouble when we tried to do so, so we assumed it was the same on race day.
So even though I didn't get that photo I really wanted, I did get to shoot from the "hot pit" area, a place that you usually have to have a special pass to be in. Because I was in the media center most of the afternoon, I got to see and shoot a few more press conferences. I also got to rest, which, because I couldn't sleep much at all the night before, was much needed before that last shoot (I wouldn't have made it through that last race otherwise).
I'm planning to try to find out how the medical emergency person is doing and I'll try to remember to do another update about that. So more later on this ongoing weekend.