Version 13.1 About the Author View Finder By Robert Bundy, Editor All photography by Lars Gange Version 13.1 As the Photographer for Motorsports and Vermont SportsCar, Lars Gange Shoots to Thrill It’s true that photographer Lars Gange has a leg up over many others in his field. He owns all the latest premium gear. He has privileged access to Motorsports events and has been part of the team at Vermont SportsCar since 1996 and with Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) since 2001. A devoted Subaru owner, he drives the 2015 WRX. He enjoys the freedom to travel all over the world and speaks multiple languages. Oh, and he has a helicopter. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet situation for a shooter with an appetite for adventure. But none of those advantages – all hard-won, by the way – would matter if the man himself weren’t a fearless talent willing to go to incredible lengths to capture his images. As his elder colleague Ansel Adams once observed, “The single most important component of a camera is the 12 inches behind it!” And it is the mind of Lars Gange – his restless creativity, tactical thinking, and intuitive knack for snatching dazzling compositions out of the full-tilt freneticism of rally racing – that makes his work so memorable. Photo: Ben Haulenbeek Lars Gange's WRX A great photo represents a rare intersection of elements: light, opportunity, position, luck, reflexes, and an understanding of how to frame the world so as to direct the eye of the viewer to the telling detail that reveals the essence of the story. The intensity in the eyes of a driver, the transient taillight glow sketched in the air of a night stage, the brief instant of clarity glimpsed between roiling billows of road dust as a rally car takes to the air – Gange captures these moments as few others can. Gange agreed to allow us to show off some of his work for this story, along with behind-the-scenes details about how he captured these images in the wild. We don’t want to tell you that after reading this story you’ll be able to duplicate his efforts, but you’re bound to learn something that will increase your odds of success as a photographer. Enjoy the ride. Out of the Dust Event: X Games 14 – Home Depot Center Los Angeles Equipment: Nikon D2X camera, AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 VR lens set to 340mm f/5.0 @ 1/2500 second Lars Gange: “I wanted a head-on jump shot, but X Games used to be extremely difficult to shoot. Years ago professional photographers were not allowed to shoot from the stands. So, unless you knew you had guaranteed access, the standard move would be to put your camera away and stand near but not at your spot. The trick is to pretend you don’t know what is happening until the last second, then pull out your camera, get into position, and take your shot before anyone can tell you to leave. I even remember turning my shirt inside out to better blend in as a spectator!” Gange’s Pro Tip “Sometimes it’s better to beg forgiveness afterwards than to ask permission beforehand.” Perfect Timing Event: Oregon Trail Rally, Gilhouley stage Equipment: Nikon D4 camera, AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens set to 17mm f/5 @ 1/4000 second Lars Gange: “This stage [Gilhouley] is about 5 miles long and located 11 miles south of Hood River, Oregon. The #75 of David Higgins and Craig Drew was due in about five minutes. Total panic! Park, dump excess weight from bag, and sprint. You never know if they will start on time, so you have to try. The 0.7-mile distance was possible in five minutes. I heard the cars in the distance as I was nearing the spot. I shot up the embankment, dropped my bag, and grabbed the camera. The car was seconds away as I cranked up the shutter speed, aimed, and shot just in time – and then the car was gone.” Gange’s Pro Tip “Identify and plan your location in advance. Note the wind direction, where the dust will follow and know whether you have to cross the stage road prior to the stage start.” Check out our Rally Guide for tips on where to go for your next rally. The Night Stage Event: Rally in the 100 Acre Wood Equipment: Nikon D2X camera, AF-S Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens set to 130mm f/10 @ 13 seconds Lars Gange: “On this night stage, I thought it was cool seeing the cars disappear into the forest. I was lined up with a twisty section of the stage and wanted to see what I could capture. I didn’t have a tripod so any 15-plus-second exposure would be difficult. I took several test shots to get my f/stop and ISO settings adjusted, and then leaned the camera against a tree to aid stability. I held my breath as the next car came through, opened the shutter, and waited for the camera to close. Blurry! I refocused and tried again – many times. Everything was moving just enough to result in a poor photo. I kept trying and finally got the one.” Gange’s Pro Tip “In winter, especially at night while using a flash, hold your breath while taking the shot, otherwise your exhale vapor may be visible in the photo. And remember to bring your tripod.” Hero Shot Event: Lake Superior Performance Rally Equipment: Nikon D3 camera, AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, 14mm f/7.1 @ 1/160 second Lars Gange: “Shooting rally fans of all ages interacting with the SRT USA drivers is important but also challenging. You want the photo to be interesting and also have everyone look good. It’s hard to plan since everything is in slow, unpredictable motion. The solution involves taking lots of photos and using a variety of angles. This super-wide 14mm lens combined with a low angle made Travis stand out from the crowd while still showing the whole scene.” Gange’s Pro Tip "Try shooting without looking through the camera in order to achieve unique angles that would otherwise be impossible." The Will to Win Event: X Games 14 (2008) Equipment: Nikon D2X camera, AF-S Nikkor 80-200 mm f/2.8, 110 mm f/2.8 @ 1/160 second Lars Gange: “Ken Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were lining up in their Subaru WRX STI for a qualifying heat race at the Home Depot Center stadium. As drivers get ready to start a race, they get extremely focused and intense. I wanted to capture this and used a long lens to shoot through the partially open side window.” Gange’s Pro Tip “Use a long lens to unobtrusively capture subjects in unguarded moments.” Remote Control Event: 100 Acre Wood Rally, Cattle Guard Jump Equipment: Nikon D2X camera, Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lens, f/4 @ 1/3200 second, DX high-speed crop mode Lars Gange: “I wanted a unique angle of the classic cattle guard jump. I was reasonably confident the rally car would clear the camera, so I decided to embed my old D2X in the road. I poked a hole in the dirt with a tire wrench, and positioned the camera where the car should pass directly over it – I hoped. Due to the extremely short window to capture this photo, I switched the camera into high-speed crop mode boosting the frame rate to 8 frames per second. I ran an extension release cord and then recruited a local spectator to help trigger the frame. I needed to shoot the jump from another angle and simply instructed my ‘assistant’ to press the remote release when the car was precisely at the cattle guard. It worked great!” Gange’s Pro Tip “A GoPro or similar camera would work just as well here. I recommend placing the device in a safe location off to the side of the course. Don’t step onto the course! Make sure the placement has an unobstructed view.” Three Out of Four Ain’t Bad Event: Oregon Trail Rally Equipment: Nikon D4, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 II, 130 mm f/4.5 @ 1/3200 second Lars Gange: “A classic jump on the Rally America circuit, this location is about 10 miles outside of Dufur, Oregon. If the weather is clear, you can frame Mount Baker, located in Washington State, into the image. However, this being a repeat stage from previous years, I wanted to do something drastically different. I took a chance that Higgins and Drew would launch their WRX STI, making for a unique side shot. Not only did this happen as planned, but they did it while driving on three tires and one Method rim! I nailed the photo and the flat tire was an added bonus.” Gange’s Pro Tip “Try different angles and take a variety of shots, including framing the background and getting tight on the car. Use the safety vehicles as practice, but note that the first cars through the stage are the fastest, so be ready.” Insider’s View Event: Rally in the 100 Acre Wood Equipment: Nikon D2X, Nikon 10.5mm DX Fisheye, f/22 @ 1/4 second Lars Gange: “I was determined to try out my suction-cup camera mount. I reached for a much older Nikon D2X and installed a 10.5mm DX fisheye lens. This was a bit of an experiment, but I knew I wanted to blur the road, while keeping the hood and logo sharp, and hopefully get some cool light effects. I tried a few settings and ended up around 1/4-of-a-second shutter speed and put the camera on time-lapse mode. I then directed SRT USA technician Shaun Jacobs to drive up the road – gently! The setting sun and flare made for an amazing photo. It was exactly what I had envisioned.” Gange’s Pro Tip “Set the camera to time-lapse mode to take a photo every second or at whatever time interval you desire.” As these photographs attest, finding the unforgettable view is what Lars Gange does best. Think you’ve got what it takes to capture the spirit of rally? Enter our photo contest and show us what you’ve got. The winner will be personally chosen by Lars Gange. No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older. Void where prohibited. Sponsored by Subaru of America, Inc. Photography Terms 14-24mm: The numbers preceding “mm” (millimeter) indicate the focal length of a lens. Aperture: Refers to the lens opening that lets light into your camera. Depth of Field: Describes the range of distance that is in sharp focus in an image. Exposure: Indicates the amount of light captured by a camera sensor when you take a picture. F-stop: Denoted by lowercase “f” followed by a slash and a number, such as f/.22, it’s a measurement of the diameter of the aperture. Focal Length: The magnification of a lens and how much of the scene will be captured by it. ISO Settings: An acronym for International Organization for Standardization. Adjusting your ISO settings changes the camera’s sensitivity to light. Shutter Speed: Measures the length of time that the camera sensor is exposed to light. VR Lens: Vibration-Reduction, an image-stabilization lens technology that automatically compensates for the blur caused by camera shake. Tips from Lars Gange on Shooting Your Subaru in your Garage • Use ambient lighting for a more even light distribution • Avoid using an on-camera flash (will most likely cause uneven lighting on something as large as a vehicle) • Try shooting with the garage door both opened and closed • Experiment with using different color temperature settings on your camera • Try smaller apertures such as f/11 or f/16, which allows for much greater depth of field; but remember that a low f-stop requires a lot of light and a slow shutter speed. A greater depth of field ensures that more of the car is in focus at the same time. Shooting at large lens openings (f/4, f/5.6, etc.) will create a shallow depth of field where only a portion of the car will be sharply in focus. Fixed wide angle lenses will allow the greatest depth of field. • Even if the garage is not very well lit you can still get great photos. Grab a tripod for stability and set your camera for longer exposure times and see what you get. Modern cameras have excellent low-light capabilities, and a long exposure can make the image appear brighter than what you can see with the naked eye.