Logistics – Plastic Wrapped Car – Long Beach GP 1983
Beyond their descriptive content there are two photographic issues affecting these pictures I took in the staging garage at the 1983 Long Beach Grand Prix.
I chose Ektachrome 400 transparency/slide film thinking its higher ASA speed would help me photograph handheld in existing light. I hadn’t completely made the switch to Kodachrome which the majority of the professionals used. There are important differences between the two films.
Briefly, color films are black and white films with an addition of a component called color couplers that translate the amount of exposed silver halide in each layer to the corresponding production of color dyes. Ektachrome emulsions have the color couplers within the film itself making processing simpler but adding an additional molecular element to the structure of the image itself. Kodachrome has the color couplers within the processing chemicals making the development complex but, the final image is pure dye resulting in a more detailed and stable image.
At first my choice of Ektachrome 400 film bothered me because these images are grainy with a frustrating lack of precision and minute detail. The other technical issue is the color temperature spectrums and discontinuous output of the industrial lights in the garage that splash both greens and magentas across everything. Throw in the daylight spilling through the large open garage doors and color balancing the images becomes a challenge.
But photographic difficulties aside, the images are what they are and I certainly can’t go back and reshoot. Through the years I’ve come to enjoy them for their cinema verité/street shooting quality so I pass them along to you as insights into the immensely complex logistical process of racing Formula 1 cars at venues around the world.
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