• Life Through a Lens

A moment for reflection

Mark Sutton
August 18, 2014

As Formula One prepares to resume in Belgium with the summer break nearly at an end, F1 photographer Mark Sutton picks his favourite shots from the first half of the season so far.

Australia - A sign of things to come

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time:1/1000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed :200 | Lens: 70-200mm zoom © Sutton Images
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This is a great shot of Nico Rosberg. I just couldn't believe the exuberance that he's got, he's so emotional on the podium. This picture sets the tone for how dominant Mercedes has been so far in 2014. It's just great to see emotion and he certainly exudes that whenever he wins. I think we got a little bored last season of Sebastian Vettel and his 11 wins, and the doughnuts, plus I think the finger-pointing is a bit old hat. It is just pure relief and pure celebration of the victory. You can see it from when he gets on, to when he lifts the trophy, to when he sprays the champagne. It's not like it was his first win or his first year in Formula One.

Malaysia - Red Bull gives you mishaps

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/320 s | Aperture: F9 | ISO speed: 800 | Lens: 24-70mm zoom © Sutton Images
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This was the pit stop which cost Daniel Ricciardo what would have been his first official podium. It's a remarkable picture as the guy without a helmet and wearing shorts is just there during a pit stop. I saw Ricciardo's stop on the TV and then thought I need to get a picture of this. I ran straight across the media centre with my camera, ran down to Red Bull and shot away as they wheeled him back and then this guy is there. I knew the rules had changed with the helmet and they're really tough on the teams and thought "he's going to get a rollicking for that". It's quite a bizarre and funny picture overall because they you can see them all stood around wondering what the hell is going on, and of course it's not what we expect from Red Bull. I just could not believe the guy was there.

Bahrain - Rosewater celebrations

Camera: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 2000 | Lens: 500mm telephoto © Sutton Images
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This is a lovely shot of Lewis Hamilton on the podium while Nico Rosberg pours the rosewater over his head. It reminds me of a photo of Ayrton Senna at Suzuka in 1988 taken by my brother Keith. It's very similar and to me it just says emotion and celebration. Of course it's actual champagne in Japan rather than the rosewater in Bahrain! You could tell that when they tasted it on the podium and grimaced!

Spain - Respect between rivals

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/800s | Aperture: F4.5 | ISO speed: 800 | Lens: 500mm telephoto © Sutton Images
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At the end of the race I took the usual finish shot as Lewis Hamilton crossed the line and then ran down the straight on the safe side of the barrier to get back to the pits. When they give you the okay you are allowed to cross the track to get back to the pit lane but by that time you're too late to join the rest of the photographers shooting parc ferme head on. So I opted for this rear shot of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton as Fernando went up to him and patted him on the back and shook his hand. You're always looking for those different angles during a weekend.

Monaco - Pit lane reflection

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000's | Aperture: F7.1 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 500mm telephoto © Sutton Images
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This is a typical Monaco shot, and I know it's been done before, but it's still difficult to get right. The curve of the mirrored visor can distort the car quite a lot, so timing is crucial to getting it right. You don't know what speed the car is going down the pit lane and I was shooting this almost opposite the Mercedes garage. You can see he's about to go into the pit garage to do a burnout on the pit box and this just gives you something completely different of a fairly mundane task in the pit lane. I shot this on a 500mm lens and so you can see the background is completely knocked out in terms of focus and all you have is the helmet with the Monaco logo and the car reflected in it. It's a nice clear picture.

Canada - Blowing kisses

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/3200s | Aperture: F4 | ISO speed: 4000 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images
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This one looks like Sebastian Vettel is blowing me a kiss but he's just pulling one of his funny expressions in the cockpit. To be honest, I didn't even know I'd got this shot, but when I went through all the frames I thought it was funny and decided I'd put it up on the website. The drivers probably hate having their picture taken like this. Lewis Hamilton, for example, apparently doesn't like pictures taken when he just has his balaclava on. I don't know why, but you'll notice when he puts it on in the garage he always faces the reflective garage wall, which may be just to make sure the balaclava is on the straight on his head. Seb, however, doesn't seem to give a damn and I think he actually looks like a fighter pilot or an astronaut in this photo because of the headphone pods on the side. I like funny pictures when you can get hold of them.

Austria - A popular pole

Camera model: Nikon D4 |Exposure time: 1/500s Z Aperture: F13 | ISO speed: 400 | © Getty Images
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This was quite special, but when we were waiting in parc ferme we didn't know Felipe Massa had secured pole position so it was quite a surprise when he arrived and started celebrating. They were quick all weekend and it was a special thing to see them take the front row. He was looking right at me in this photo and pumping his fists, so it really gets the across the raw emotion of his first pole since Brazil 2008. It was an important moment for Williams too as they finally came good on their promise from earlier in the season.

Britain - Taking flight

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F7.1 | ISO speed: 200 © Sutton Images
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I was standing at Club Corner and there's a screen there where you can see what is going on. You can see the drivers coming into Stowe and if they don't overtake there, they might try again coming through Vale and then past me. I'm always wary of what's going on, I was shooting with the long lens when I saw Esteban Gutierrez coming down the inside of Pastor Maldonado and thought nothing of it until they collided. It's funny as it's the reverse of what happened in Bahrain and I wasn't focused on that crash shot, I missed it completely. In these moments you just keep your finger on the button in the hope something might happen and luckily in this case it did. To be honest you can do a whole race at Club Corner and nothing happens at all! There was the added bonus that I was using a new transmitter where we can send the pictures straight from the camera, meaning the picture was available to use almost immediately during the race.

Germany - Jumping dismount

Camera model: Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/1000s | Aperture: F8 | ISO speed: 200 | Lens: 500mm Telephoto © Sutton Images
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This is a good shot from Friday practice. Kamui Kobayashi came past me with a load of smoke coming out of his car so I was doing a pan shot with the empty grandstands, as they are nicely coloured, so during practice they make for a nice picture with no-one there. When I saw the fire in the back of his car I changed to a bigger lens, the 500, but he'd already stopped by then. The extinguishers came out and then he jumped out in the air, I couldn't believe how high he jumped! It's obviously to do with the KERS but it looks like he's jumping about six foot in the air. I don't know why he was jumping so high but it made for a great image, again. This is an example of being in the right place at the right time.

Hungary - Victory view

Camera model : Nikon D4 | Exposure time: 1/640s | Aperture: F9 | ISO speed : 400 | Lens: 10.5mm Fish Eye © Sutton Images
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For this shot I thought I would take the fisheye lens because I knew I would be up at this point. I actually took every lens with me. I didn't quite know when to use the fisheye because you don't want to overdo it, I just wanted to use it once. I thought when Daniel Ricciardo came on the podium was a good opportunity because I had to choose a moment. As it turns out he's got his arm in the air which is great. For this I'm leant right over the wall so you don't get the wall in it. This has everything you can't really get on a wide-angle lens - fisheye gives it a more atmospheric feel. This is looking back from the podium view and I think it makes it a great picture. I was in a really perfect spot, there was only three of us there. You can shoot from the other side of the podium through the glass but you obviously run the risk of a reflection. It's very rare to get an opportunity for this kind of shot when you look at the remaining races; it won't happen in Belgium, at Monza it goes over the track. I could see it without anyone blocking me or anyone getting in the way.

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