Like most events that I go to, I usually have a few goals in mind regarding a certain shot or angle I want to get. This past weekend I headed out to Las Vegas for Rounds 5 & 6 of the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series to cover short course racing. For this weekend my goal was to get some unique shots using a remote camera and a remote flash inside one of the race trucks. A few years ago I mounted a camera in Kyle Leduc’s Prolite truck, and again in Brad Lovell’s and Becca Webster’s Rockcrawler, and while I got a few decent shots I always wanted to try it again. Here are a few shots from a few years ago.

While I got a unique angle from mounting the camera on the vehicles, I didn’t get anything that stood out as being eye catching. So move ahead a few years and Kyle Leduc was more then happy to let me try it again.

The setup is pretty simple as far as how I mounted it. The whole thing is mounted to the cage with a piece of tubing one size larger then the tubing it mounts to. The tube mount was cut in half so that it sits flush. A bolt was then welded to the top of the tubing so that a ball head could attach to it. I decided on this method because the ballhead would let me move around the camera at different angles, and also because it is very sturdy and won’t break off under the vibration and shock from the racing. When the mount is hose clamped down it doesn’t budge at all. Here is a photo of the setup, I put tape over the mount so that the hose clamps can’t come loose.

To fire the camera (which was a Canon 20D) I used a Pocketwizard Multimax, and used the intervalometer feature. Last time I did the remote I just used Pocketwizard Plus II’s and fired the remote everytime the race truck was near me. The benefit is that I could control when it was taking a photo, but the downfall was that I was limited to what was in front of me. I decided on the intervalometer this time so that I could just let the camera take the photos and whatever it captured it captured. I ran the risk of missing something, but because I set the camera to take a photo every second, in the 15 minute race I would walk away with about 600 photos, so the chances of getting a good shot were a lot higher.

As long as Kyle didn’t roll his truck and crush the camera. More on that in a bit.

For the settings of the camera itself I set the ISO to 400, and put it in AV mode shooting at f8. The races are in the middle of the day, so shooting at ISO 400 and f8 would yield me a high enough shutter speed to freeze anything and not get any shutter blur. I also set it at f8 so that I would have a wider depth of field to get as much in focus as I could. I pre-focused the camera, taped up the focus ring and hoped for the best.

The camera itself was completely out in the open with no cage work around it to protect it in case of a rollover. That’s when buying used camera gear for cheap comes into play. Canon 20D’s can be found online for around $300. Before I show the photos that I got, here is a photo of it mounted on the truck during the race, and another of Kyle Leduc early in the race in the turn I was shooting at. I wonder if he did it on purpose knowing I was watching, luckily he saved it.

The end result were some images that I was happy with, and came away with one photo that captured what I was looking for.

Here is the photo with four other race trucks in the shot, one (Monster Energy/Toyota Rick Huseman) landing right behind him, and three others still in the air. I got lucky and all four race trucks are visible and not cutoff, and also happened to have some nice clouds in the sky behind them.

I’d be lying if I didn’t have a smile on my face after going through the shots right after the race. When you set a goal for yourself and everything seems to fall into place it feels pretty good. Here are a few other shots from the remote before the Pocketwizard became a magnet for a rock.

Kyle’s crew chief Brent.

Thanks to Kyle Leduc for letting me put the camera on his truck, and more importantly for not crushing it. Also thanks to his crew chief Brent for getting everything turned on in staging so I could be on the track.