2020 and His Last Photo Tour.

2020 and His Last Photo Tour.

slugbelchslugbelch Senior Member
edited January 1 in General discussion


By John DiBartolomeo December 31, 2019

"It is with some sadness that I formally announce my retirement from the NHRA major events following next November’s Auto Club Finals in Pomona. A couple of heart problems followed by surgery, and then hearing the dreaded word “cancer,” absolutely got my attention and gave me reason to re-consider that decision five years ago.

Maybe I should have walked away then but I’m glad I used those years to continue shooting the cars and people I’ve really come to love during my six-plus decades of drag racing. I’ll turn 75 next August, and that seems to be a nice round number at which to call it a day.

I do feel that I’ve been very lucky to have lasted so long in the dog-eat-dog, cutthroat business that is drag racing photography. In some respects today’s remaining still shooters have it a bit easier, but the new day has brought with it its own challenges, not the least of which is the on-going demise of many of the monthly drag racing magazines upon which my early career depended.

It’s somewhat ironic that the quality of the images produced by today’s top-of-the-line DSLRs seems to have convinced some people that they’re suddenly full-fledged professionals. Add into the mix the skills they develop with programs like Photoshop and Lightroom and one is forced to ask what really constitutes an “honest” photograph in 2020.

Knowing this will be misunderstood, I’ll nevertheless suggest that the more restrictive rules photographers have been forced to adhere to at the major races has resulted in a decline in the quality of the images now being produced by and for the sport. Some of the best photographic angles have been arbitrarily eliminated due to the personal likes and dislikes of someone without sufficient knowledge on the subject, as has been the use of strobe lights – a decision apparently reached without scientific evidence that a strobe light was ever a factor in impacting drag racing’s electronic timing equipment."

Full article and pics:



  • WillyWilly Administrator
    edited January 1

    Despite the byline of John  DiBartolomeo, this is written by the man pictured, Richard Brady. Brady is also the writer of the "Remember When" column at Drag Racing Edge magazine.

    Before he became Division 3 photographer, Brady was track photographer at Rockford Dragway (now Byron Dragway). I believe he was that track's first official photographer.

    I was fortunate to have shared the wall with him on a couple of occasions, and he's one of those guys whose work I have long admired. And Brady has stories... I hope he continues to tell them in his column after he waves the tour goodbye.

  • a21studa21stud Senior Member

    Isn’t he the great grandson of the famous Civil War photographer Mathew Brady?

  • ScottScott Senior Member

    I kinda get his point about people with cameras, but I would substitute cell phone for dslr. One year at Indy, I seen a "credential photographer" using a cell phone against the wall. For the most part, if someone spends north of 3k for a semi pro or pro camera, they usually have skills to work use it.

  • RVT1000RVT1000 Senior Member

    There are A LOT of people out there who can take very, very good photographs and the vast majority are not professionals.

    Although Photoshop and Lightroom can do quite a bit to help with bad lighting, they do nothing for poor composition. You still need to take a good photo. You can only fix so much by cropping.

    And if he thinks pros are having a hard time taking good pictures due to some restrictions placed on where they can be, try it as an amateur.

  • a21studa21stud Senior Member

    With remote camera mounts that can turn 360 and extend up/down/out/in a bit, It may not be long till there isn’t anyone blocking the starting line view.

    One photographer in the tower could probably operate 2 remote cameras in each lane on his laptop.

    I know Ian Torcher wasn’t hurt on the starting line but cameras are a lot cheaper to fix than people no matter where the photo Needs to be taken.

    Of course than means every track will have little camera mounts every two feet down the wall and we will have downtime for camera cleanup instead of oil down cleanup.

  • ScottScott Senior Member
    edited January 7

    Got this in my email just a little bit ago, wish it was in my email when I wrote my earlier post. Just checked and the link isn't showing up above. Anyway Canon just released their top of line camera and it is only $6500

  • HEMI_guyHEMI_guy Senior Member

    *Canon just released their top of line camera and it is only $6500 Quote*

    Probably body only, no lenses.

  • ScottScott Senior Member

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