Guest Shooter: Darren Marlowe
The latest PHOTO.GP Guest Shooter is Darren Marlowe, who got in touch with me a few weeks ago to ask if I’d take a look at his recent images from the first Sepang MotoGP test.
I did and I was impressed. Though still an amateur relying a bit on shutter speed for clear images, Darren’s photos were quite a bit better than what I usually see in random emails from amateur shooters. After the following information about Darren’s experience and gear, I’m pleased to show you a selection from the first Sepang test.
Having grown up dreaming of being the next Mick Doohan, and spending many late nights in Australia watching MotoGP ‘on the box,’ I moved to Macau in 2006. I received my first big break photographing and watching ‘my guy’ Casey Stoner win the 2007 Shanghai MotoGP – from the Grand Stand. Who knows what camera I was using that day but it was the ultimate fail!
Forgetting the disappointment, and working hard on my craft (not), I flew to Qatar for the opening round of the 2012 series. Yes, it was a long time between drinks but I had discovered it was easier to watch MotoGP on TV and stay up late drinking beer, rather than actually trying to take good photos at the track (besides we have got Scott Jones for that). However, this time I was armed! I had spent up big on a Nikon D7000 and a Sigma 150/500mm ƒ5/6.3 for the event. Did someone mention it was a night race? Ultimate fail #2.
‘My guy’ Casey decided to retire during the season and that was when I decided to beg, lie, cheat and scrounge my way to KL for the Malaysian GP in 2012. After all, this would be my last chance to see Casey compete and I had to be there.
At the time we were involved in a ‘Scooter’ safety campaign (a much needed program) in Macau, aimed at educating young riders that they should invest in a real safety device that could save lives, not the ice-cream lids that perhaps their parents had worn. Through various sponsorship deals I received my ‘second’ big break. I was off to Sepang and a chance to photograph trackside… At least during testing! The D7000 and trusty Sigma came with me with limited effect (it rained a lot that weekend) but it didn’t matter, this was the place to be and I was hooked.
During my Sepang trip that year I managed to meet and make some great MotoGP friends and I was fortunate enough to be invited back to the event in 2013 and 2014… Every time I was more seriously armed with photographic equipment (although with varying results). As you put it, the person operating the light box makes more difference than any other element. I got too caught up in the technical!
How would I rate myself now? An aspiring Professional with Amateur claims… This game is tough and costs huge bucks.
Anyway, I think that my disappointments along the way have helped me build some sound basic techniques that will help me develop exponentially in the future. Time to move out of the ‘get it right’ comfort zone and experiment with shutter speed and artistic endeavor…
Based on my limited success I hope to cover more events around Asia in 2015. It started with the first MotoGP test at Sepang. Next month I’m off to Zhuhai for the opening round of the Audi R8 LMS Cup, which will be supported by Superbike and Renault Cup races.
If I could offer one piece of advise to any aspiring ‘trackside photographer’ it would be this: Don’t forget your credentials!
Thanks Scott for your advice and for giving me a ‘leg up’ by featuring some of my photos on Photo.GP.
I was armed with the following for the Sepang MotoGP Test.
Nikon 200/400mm AF-S ƒ4G ED VR II
Nikon 70/200mm AF-S ƒ2.8 ED VR-II
Thanks to you, Darren, for sharing your work and your story. It’s interesting to hear where people come from and how they arrive at this point in a photography career.