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GP Week : Issue 178
You’ve been a photographer for a long time now. Can you still remember the first camera you picked up as a young boy? I started with a Nikon F2, with a motor drive. What excited me was the motor drive – as a young boy with no money, I used to hire them and spend ages pressing the shutter on an empty camera, just listening to the motor drive. I used to love hearing the sound as it clicked away. That was the start of my passion for photography. In those days I was swapping and changing and buying a lot of second-hand equipment, trying to get the best deal for not a lot of money. So there were battered and scratched old cameras that were my prized possessions. Now I’m in the fortunate position of having all the latest equipment, and it’s gone full circle. I started out with Nikon, and I’m using Nikon today. What equipment do you bring with you to an average grand prix? I bring along two camera bodies – Nikon D4s – and a range of lenses. I have the full Nikon range, really. There’s the wide-angle, which is a 14-24mm, then we go from a 24-70mm zoom lens, and then we’ve got a 70-200mm. On top of that I have a 300mm telephoto fixed lens, plus a 500mm F4, and a 600mm F4. And then there are the two flashes. That’s the set-up. And how much do you have to pay in excess baggage to cart all this around? We carry most of the gear in our camera bags, but we’re very fortunate that one of the teams kindly puts the big lenses into their freight. Lenses can be quite delicate and fragile things. How do you get them repaired on the road, should the worst happen? We’ve just moved to Nikon, and we’re very fortunate that Nikon provide a professional ser vice for repairs, loaning us replacement cameras if it’s not a quick fix. They also clean them, which is particularly important with digital cameras. The sensors get dirty, and you need to have them cleaned regularly. Is that a problem in places like Malaysia? Do your lenses ever steam up in the heat? It’s a problem where there’s dust, really – places like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. That’s one of the reasons I bring two cameras, as it means I don’t need to change the lenses as often. As soon asyoutakealensofftoputanewone on, there’s the chance of getting dust on one of the sensors. So that’s the idea behind bringing so much kit along. But my lens did get fogged up in Brazil one year, when it had rained on Saturday. All the photographers put their equipment in their lockers on Saturday night, and when we turned up on Sunday morning the lenses had all fogged up! Nikon haven’t worked with an F1 photographer before. Do they understand the demands of the calendar, the need for 24-hour support? Oh yes. They know, because they’re the top brand. They’re working with professional photographers in a range of fields, and we’re all using their equipment to the full. Nothing stress tests equipment quite like Formula One – we’re running around in rain and sun, climbing over barriers, and sliding in the mud, jostling each other for the shot. But Nikon’s cameras are made to be tough, to take all that. We’re also very fortunate to have Nikon’s services at every grand prix, backing us up and giving us full support. Do you ever miss working with film? I think every photographer who started with film misses it – the excitement of coming back on a Sunday night with all your films, getting it processed. It wasn’t very glamorous, but staying up all night, looking on an eyeglass on a light box and checking all the sharpness, seeing what you’d taken. You had that wait. Now, as soon as you’ve taken a picture, you see it straight away, you’re sending it straight away, and it’s appearing on websites within minutes. What’s your favourite race to shoot? Do you have a favourite? I like street circuits, like Monaco and Singapore. Monaco is fantastic – you’ve got the sea, the yachts, the glamour... If you get up into the buildings like the Hotel de Paris and the l’Hermitage, to get up to the top of those buildings and shoot the scenery is fantastic. Then in Singapore you’ve got the Swissotel and the Singapore Flyer. For the first race in Singapore I timed how long it would take me to get from the bottom of the Flyer tothetop,andImadeittothetopfor the race start at eight o’clock. It looks as though you’re shooting from a helicopter, which is fantastic. You get a 360-degree view, and shoot your way through the corners as the Flyer moves around. ABOVE: Keith (left) and brother Mark – familar faces around the F1 Paddock 5 MINUTES WITH KEITH SUTToN As a long, fascinating season kicks off, Kate Walker speaks to our man behind the GPWEEK imagery 5 MINUTES 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: