Monday, June 4, 2007

Wine Country Classic

Wine Country Classic
View Photo Slideshow

With the nearby vineyards of Sonoma County as a backdrop, the annual Wine Country Classic vintage auto races at Infineon Raceway are a reminder that -- much like fine wine -- great race cars just get better with age.

There was plenty of vintage racing machinery on display at this event. Insanely valuable pre-WWII Bugatti race cars sat parked casually in the paddock area, right next to sexy McLaren and Lola Can-Am prototype racers from the late 1960s. Meanwhile, the deafening 7-liter V8 roar of a 1977 Historic Trans-Am Corvette Greenwood warming up its engine at a fast idle drew curious onlookers like a magnet.

The amateurs who race these cars on weekends at events around the country are to be applauded for keeping this history alive. These race cars should be seen on the track, not in a museum. Heads up: The next big vintage racing event on the West Coast is the Monterey Historic Automobile Races (August 17 - 19 2007).

A note on the photos and slideshow:

I took these photos in and around the paddock area with an old Canon PowerShot S230. I wasn't able to capture any action from the track due to the lack of a telephoto lens, so I focused on close-up photos from the pits instead. Creating a slideshow using Slideroll is relatively easy, but this online tool could use some improvements. For example, I'm unable to set a brief pause at the end of a pan so that the eye can rest on the photo for a second before it fades away. It's a minor but annoying quibble.

When shooting still photography, I normally prefer to frame the subject tightly in the viewfinder rather than have to crop the image later. But that strategy actually puts the photo at a disadvantage when it's used in a slideshow, because more space is typically needed around the subject when a pan-and-zoom effect is used to focus on different areas of the photo. In the future, I'll have to adjust my technique (such as it is) accordingly.