Those who follow my stuff will no doubt have seen my posts about the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb event, and that thanks to Castrol SA, I was lucky enough to actually attend and shoot it for myself. While it could be seen as just another motoring event I've captured, for me it's a tick off the Motoring Must Shoot bucket list. If I had the digital space and the editing time, I would have shot 10 000 images, but instead I shot what caught me eye. There's probably loads of cars and people missing from the album that's on Facebook (or will be soon, depending on how soon you read this) but I'm happy with what I shot.
On that note, I even managed to get in some time with a lens I'm lusting after thanks to the hillclimb organisers having the crew from Canon Professional Services in the media tent. As a Canon user, I was able to try out all manner of new Canon cameras and lenses (which I wish I knew about on the Friday when I arrived and not Sunday morning), but instead opted for just one lens, the 70-200mm f/2.8. I shoot on the f/4.0 which is brilliant, and event a little faster thanks to it's size, but this borrowed lens just moved to the top of my want list. I should have stuck to what I know because I battled to get the crisp panning shots I love thanks to the IS on the lens. My lens is non-IS and so it's, well, just different. I need a weekend to dial in a new lens I reckon.
There was a bit of a mix up with my airport transport, and so I missed the classic cars running on the Friday. This was quite the downer because the classics are the best to shoot. Luckily Castrol put us up in Protea Hotel Knysna Quays, which was pretty much across the road from where the much-anticipated parade was going to happen, so straight after check-in I was off to mingle. Oddly, before I even spotted any race cars, I met Shane and his RB-powered SX. He recognised me from my editor days, and was such a rad chap to meet, I did a mini shoot on his car. Went for a short drive, which was a good thing because the way the ass wants to overtake the nose thanks to stupid power at low boost, I would have finally used that extra pair of jocks I always back when I go away.
The parade last year was mad, as was the year before and even the year before that. This year there were only a few cars parked around and so from the time the parade part started to the time I got into a sniper-like position to shoot the cars, it was already over. I do blame the heavy clouds and the threat of rain though. A strange start to the weekend for sure, but that's why I love this kind of thing, there's no set script and adventures make great stories. The rest of the weekend ran great, Castrol had me rolling like a VIP with shuttles to the hill, access to everywhere I wanted access to and of course, the Castrol VIP tent. Besides the awesome view overlooking the start line, it was gourmet drinks, gourmet food and great chats with a bunch of motoring enthusiasts. The wet and dry Saturday was practice for everyone, and a dry Sunday saw qualifying and then the actual shootouts take place where everyone fought for top honours., it's all a blur (hahaha) when watching events through a camera lens.
Taking pics throughout the event was a mission, I know so many people at the event that I want pics of them and their cars but it just wasn't possible. In between trying to get to cool positions to shoot from, I spent hours chatting to people, some familiar old faces and some new - this alone was reason enough to call this an amazing weekend, but it just added to the awesomeness. There's just over 600 images from the event that made the cutting process, and they will be available to see on my Facebook Page, so choosing the pics I wanted for this post came down to rather wanting to share the ones that I think captured the spirit of the event, from lone cars ready to go, to popular cars surrounded by fans and curious onlookers ending with a few action shots.
Enough words, signing out. Once again, huge thanks to Castrol SA for making this happen for me, besides an awesome event to attend and shoot, it's the memories - priceless!
Author: Chris Wall
A slightly tattooed motoring fanatic, photography nut and avid collector of knowledge. Use the search bar to navigate through the archives.