This past weekend I made the trek out to Round 2 of the WEROCK Eastern Series in Hannibal, MO.  I’ve yet to cover an event out there yet so I was excited to visit the land of Mark Twain.  For those of you who have never heard of Hannibal it is where the author Mark Twain grew up and inspired many of his books including Huckleberry Finn.  You can visit the cave in which has an important part in the book, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it there.  Maybe in the future with the wife and kid.

I flew into St.Louis and drove up to Hannibal which was about 2 hours north, and headed straight for the track to start looking at potential photo spots for the weekend.  Like always I try and think ahead and be prepared for the next days events.  If you know the shots ahead of time it will save you a lot of time the day of the race, potentially missing a good action shot because you’re still walking around trying to figure out where to shoot from.

At rock crawls, spots I tend to gravitate to are steep drops or climbs, large gaps between two objects, shots where the background is intising, and areas that while may not be “exciting”, offer me the chance to get real close to the vehicle in a safe manner.  One thing I like about shooting rock crawling is that you are able to get right up next to the vehicles as long as you’re doing it in a safe manner.  My wife would say there is no such thing, but as you learn what the rigs can do, and know the direction they are going to go its very easy to get close and not put yourself in danger.

For this event I rented a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye.  I’ve used the Canon 15mm fisheye before, but on my Canon 1D Mark2 and its 1.3x crop factor it never really gives you a true fisheye look.  Tokina came out with a fisheye for non-full frame DSLR to help with that so I gave it a try.  Overall I was happy with the lens, it wasn’t the sharpest but it gave good colors and allowed me to get that fisheye look finally.  In this photo below you can see just how wide the lens is.  If you look closely on the bottom you can see my shoes, while the top of the photo is well above the skyline.

2009 WEROCK Round 2 - Hannibal, MO

2009 WEROCK Round 2 - Hannibal, MO

Another thing I wanted to try this weekend is play around with off camera flash, where the background and everything around the vehicle is a nice dark shade, while the vehicle or point of interest itself is lit up by the flash. Obviously bringing strobes and a battery pack is out of the question, so I again used my Canon 550ex flash on the off camera coil cord. Unlike at the mountain bike race I covered where I set my flash to manual mode, this time I kept it in ETTL mode but powered it up to +2. This helped me get a faster recycle time which was nice to have. Here are a few shots that came out like I wanted.

My favorite shot of the weekend.

Monster Energy sponsored Shannon Campbell

Overall I had a great time in Hannibal. WEROCK always puts on a great event and both race teams and the crowds are always very welcoming to this beach city kid. Out of the crowd of about a 1000 people I was probably the tannest and only person with gel in their hair lol. Up next for me is the SCORE Tecate Baja 500 this weekend, followed by a week off and then up to Reno, NV for another WEROCK event. Here are some favorite shots from the weekend, and to check out the full gallery visit my site, enjoy!

Shannon Campbell doing what he does best.

More off camera flash

Spotter letting know the driver the next move.

Some more off camera flash. I liked this shot because the way I angled the flash, it gave the spotter a nice “strobed” look to him.

No photographers were hurt in the making of this photograph.