ILTP had a quick Q& A with Austin-based photographer Sarah Wilson about her F1 photos for Texas Monthly.

How did Texas Monthly approach you about this assignment? Did you have an interest in Formula 1 before?
When Texas Monthly photo editor Leslie Baldwin called last fall and asked me to photograph the Formula One race in Austin, my heart went aflutter.  I had been hoping to find a way to shoot F1 ever since I heard Austin would be hosting the race.  Although I was not familiar with F1, I spent several years assisting for a photographer out of New York that specialized in motor sports.  We photographed mud-drenched motocross races, rally car races in the snow, Bronx motorcycle gangs, and the Baja 2000 (actually 1726 miles straight from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas).  I even had the privilege of racing a mini-Winston Cup car in a short track race in Roanoke, VA.  I was a first-time racer and I crashed the car pretty badly, but it gave the crowd something to holler about.

Did you bring in lighting or just shoot on the go?
Typically, when shooting events I bring an assistant who holds a portable strobe off camera to add a dramatic spot light or side light to the subject.  In this case, I was not allowed to bring an assistant because they weren’t giving out additional credentials.  Texas Monthly received two passes, one for writer Katy Vine and one for myself.  In order to get the strobe somewhat off center, I strapped my Canon flash, which was being triggered by a TTL Pocket Wizard, to my left wrist.  I would just hold up my left arm every time I took a picture.  Next time I will beg for an extra set of credentials and an assistant who can dodge moving F1 cars.

When Texas Monthly photo editor Leslie Baldwin called last fall and asked me to photograph the Formula One race in Austin, my heart went aflutter.

What was it like shooting on the tracks – can you tell us a little bit about the scene there?
Katy and I were at the track during the day and documenting the party scene at night.  While the clubs were amusing, both of us were most excited to be on pit row and in the paddock area. The paddock housed hospitality kiosks for each team where the drivers, the team owners, and their entourages would hang out in between races.  There was an enchanting cloud of romance languages being spoken all around.  I felt like I was strolling down a sunny boulevard in Europe, and yet there we all were, in Elroy, Texas.


Being in pit row with the race cars buzzing in and out was exhilarating.  On the first day I was still getting my bearings (don’t know if I ever fully got them), and I misjudged the amount of time this one car would be in a pit stop.  I stepped out in front to take a photo and the car took off, full-speed towards me.  I jumped about five feet to the right and landed on a very well-dressed, seventy-year-old Italian man.  In this particular case, I believe that any damage done to that multi-million dollar car would have taken priority over any injury done to me.


And here are some of the unpublished photos from Sarah’s F1 shoot