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Snapper's Shots of the Season

Glasgow photographer Ian Adam shares some of his favourites pictures from the 2009 season and tells us the story behind them. These pictures and thousands more appear on his newly available picture DVD. Ordering details can be found at the bottom of the page.

Click on the picture to see it in a larger size.

Rostrum shot from Terenzano


Rostrum shots are really hard if you are not bang in the centre and that place always goes to Mike Patrick. If you are not quick you get stuck in a scrum to get to the front where as Mike takes his time and just walks to the front as the photographer pack moves aside and lets him in where as the for the rest of us it is a free for all. At the GPs you are not allowed to work inside the track and you have to wait until the bikes are parked up before they let you onto the centre green. In this case I was too busy trying to speak to my daughter as she wanted me to sneak her into the press conference, perks of the job, so when I got onto the centre green I was way off to the left.

We need to use flash for these shots and because there are so many guys you get jostled about and even end up with someone's arm covering your flash and also with so many flashes going off you can end up with someone else's flash going off at the same time you can end up with overexposed shots. So it becomes a lottery but I love this shot because Tomas is looking straight at my camera. Hans and Nikki are looking out front but in a way Tomas appears to be posing for me and lapping up the acclaim of winning so for me it works.


Action shot from Terenzano


I love this shot because of the colour of the track surface and the effect it gives by bouncing light back to the camera. The most important element when taking photographs is light and the main problem we have at speedway is the lack of it and because most surfaces are dark you do not get any reflections back from it. Cameras act slightly different from your eyes and they tend to see things darker than we do so you have to adjust the camera settings to and get a correctly exposed shot. At Glasgow we always shoot in daylight so when I go to a night time track I have to start to think differently.

The week before I was at Coventry for the GP Qualifier and we were not allowed to shoot with flash from the outside but the lights at Coventry are good so I came away with some good results and when I got to Italy the next week it was just a matter of thinking the same way. The main difference was because the track surface was so light it was bouncing the light from the floodlights back to the camera the light readings were great and it allowed me to take this great shot. I also like this shot as the three riders are almost in the exact same pose.


William Lawson shot


This was just a normal run of the mill shot from a Glasgow v Redcar match at Ashfield. I was working at the fourth bend about the middle of the meeting. The third and fourth bends get some great light during the meetings at Ashfield. I was following William round and as he entered the last bend he started to drift out wide and slow down. It turns out that he had snapped his primary chain, nothing unusual about that, it was only when I looked at the photographs later that night I noticed that this photo was taken just after his chain snapped. If you look in front of his chain guard you can see the chain being spat out, so in a way this became a good shot it is just a pity it is a little bit soft as the focus is just a bit off but sometimes the good shot is not perfect.


Parker and Lyons


This photograph was taken near the end of the Glasgow v Rye House meeting about Heat 13. Jason Lyons was guesting for Rye House in this meeting. The thing I love about this shot is the symmetry in the shot as if you look at the racing position of the two riders it is almost like synchronised swimming. I also like the fact that it is almost a perfect panning shot. The riders are sharp but there is movement in the spinning back wheel and also some movement in the front wheel that you can see in the spokes. It is also shows how two good speedway riders can have a great race and still give each other space to ride. Jason was in the lead after this shot but it was ok as Shane passed him on the last lap.


Lift Off


When I noticed that the GP Challenge meeting was to be held in Coventry it looked as if it would be a good meeting to see. Then I realised that had to attend a meeting in Burton-on-Trent on the Saturday after the GP Challenge meeting so it was Coventry here we come. They had a rule in place at this meeting that each photographer could only work the inside of the track for 4 heats and as I was the last photographer to arrive, well I had left Glasgow at 2pm, I was given the last 4 heats. So I worked most of the meeting from the outside of the track but given the quality of the lights at Brandon it was a good position as no flash was allowed.

This photo was taken in heat 4 and Adrian Miedzinski had gated in front of Fredrik Lindgren but just as he entered the second bend Adrian lifted right up and I thought he was coming straight for us but he got the bike back down and still ended up taking second place in the heat. The only problem with this photo is what we call noise which makes the photo look grainy. This was because my camera was set a high film speed because I was shooting without flash but I still like it.


Taking Speedway photographs needs an element of luck as you cannot predict where the riders will be when they pass you, it is easier than football, but still needs some luck. It helps that it is impossible to take too many photos as digital memory is reusable but I have to give a big thanks to all the riders out there that perform for us at each meeting.

As I say in my tag line it's all about.

"capturing the action as it happens"


Order Ian's Picture DVD

Titled Ashfield Action 2009 this year's DVD contains approximately 4,000 colour images, yes 4,000, which can be viewed on your Pc or Mac, you can print copies for your own use, you will also be able to view them on your TV if you have a DVD player that can handle picture files.

This year's DVD also includes pictures from the GP Challenge meeting at Coventry and the Italian GP

The price will be £18.50 which includes postage to any UK address

Once again a percentage of all sales will be passed onto a Glasgow rider at the start of the season.

Orders to

Ian Adam
57 Eckford Street
G32 7AJ

Website : www.ianadam.co.uk

Email : ian.adam@ntlworld.com


This article was first published on 26th November 2009


  • Ivan Blacka:

    "Great shot of that snapped chain. Don't think you could ever duplicate that again. EVER...................."

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