If you’ve read my the November edition of Out of the Hangar, I dove into a bit of background into who I am and what kick started me into photography. When I was deciding the route to go creating Hangar 53 Studios, I looked to what gets me excited. Racing. Cars. Motorcycles. I scrolled through Instagram looking for automotive and Motorsport photographers. I looked through their work trying to find inspiration. What angles do I go for? Do they freeze everything or blur the background? What is visually appealing to me and my personal style of photography? As a F1 fan I was pulled toward those photos and it became my ultimate goal: photograph a F1 race.
So here I am. I’ve got the know how. I’ve got the goal. Now I need to build the portfolio. Track access is the hardest part. I know I can take good photos and no one else does. I sent out emails and messages on Instagram asking if I can get trackside to take some photos. I was able to swing through Barona Speedway as the first track I had access to. Cars on a dirt track, rippin’ in circles. The portfolio has started! Looking to diversify I came across Perris Raceway. Flat track motorcycle racing. They had an event going May 5th 2023. I didn’t know just how big that night would be for me as a photographer.
I was hooked instantly. It was loud. Dirt flew. Racers all done up in leathers. The colors popped! It was a dream come true. In the rare moment I wasn’t taking photos I was introducing myself, passing out business cards, and trying to get my name out. I had to keep telling myself it’s not about the sales. That will come with time. This is just the first of (hopefully) many more that I will come out. Still in the portfolio building mindset (and telling myself to quit being so effing awkward) I took photos and talked to people. So far this year I’ve been able to make it to every race at Perris since. The consistency has paid off. Return customers grabbing a photo here and there makes it worth it. It eventually led to my first referral!
I was told about an event by one of the guys that races Perris regularly. There was a flat track event going at Willow Springs Raceway that was looking for a photographer. He sent me a post with contact info for the event promoter. I hit up Brady at Ramming Speed Racing asking for details. It ended up working out! I drove up from San Diego Friday morning for practice. What a thrill! I’m covering an EVENT! Stoke level was to the moon. The track was way bigger than Perris. 3/8 mile and banked. The racers were able to carry speed out of the turns and the dirt was fresh like chocolate cake. They loved it. I loved it. The photos were rad. All this because of relationship building.
Hangar 53 Studios has been around for almost a year now. What a year! The growth is coming slowly but surely. With that growth, there’s been a slight shift in goals. Photographing a Formula 1 race isn’t the “ultimate goal” to measure my success by anymore. My eyes were opened to a wider variety of motorsports. Where to next? Desert racing dirtbikes and quads? Trophy trucks at King of the Hammers? The sky is the limit. All because of flat track, a fortunate accident.