The SCORE Baja 500 is always a journey in itself to photograph. While the race is going on the media have their own race to get from spot to spot as fast but as safely as possible in order to deliver what we need to our clients. A photographer has to prepare for a race the same way a team does. We have to prep our vehicles, we need to prerun the race course, we need to be ready for a long day out in the desert, and we have to be focused on our job at hand. The difference between a driver and a photographer is that once the checkered flag hits, we still have work to do. We need to edit photos and get them out to clients as fast as possible. We have to work for hours going through everything, backing them up, promoting ourselves, etc, etc, all before the next race. And in between all that fit in time for our families.

For this Baja 500 I really wanted to find new spots to shoot at. Even though I’ve been going down to Baja for over 8 years I really don’t know much about the courses outside of the popular spots. Borrego, Ojos, Valley T, K77, etc. What this meant was that I’d have to spend some time the days before the race scouting on my own and looking for new spots. Because of my schedule I don’t have the time to go prerun weeks before the race, so my prerunning is spent on Google Earth, and asking racer friends for ideas.

I came up with a game plan and on Thursday I spent the whole day driving to various parts of the course, driving before and after the access points looking for anything interesting. I found a few spots that could work but you really never know until race day and the first truck goes by. This is why having a GPS in your car is one of the most important things as an offroad photographer.

The first spot I went to was around race mile 76 before they get on the highway at KM77. It was a little uphill that I was hoping the fast cars would pop up their front tire and three wheel it up the hill. Because I was only going to head to one other spot, I also setup a remote camera to get a different angle.

After staying there till the 10 cars came by, I headed over the the pacific side to where there was a nice silt bed at race mile 305. My fellow photographer friends Art and Matt both tipped me off to it on Friday and after almost getting stuck in 4wd in it and ripping off the front skidplate of my Toyota 4Runner I figured it would make for some great photos.

Silt really is my favorite thing to shoot, it can create such a dynamic image that you won’t find in any other type of racing. And outside of freezing cold temperatures and heaving rains, I think its one of the most extreme things your gear can go through. Its also not for people who don’t like to get dirty, this is what a few hours in a silt bed looks like. Not only do you get covered in silt but it makes you a bit crazy.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the silt bed. I was lucky in that being close to the coast there was a decent wind and would clear the silt out of the air before the next car would come through.

Congrats to Bryce Menzies and Pete Mortensen for taking the overall victory in Trophy Truck, and to Luke McMillin and Justin “Bean” Smith for winning Class 1.

Thanks for visiting the blog and taking the time to check out some images from the Baja 500. You can see all my photos by clicking on the link below.

2012 SCORE Baja 500 Photos