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Shutter Speed: 2021 United States Grand Prix

From a first trackside shoot since the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to capturing unseen moments with the drivers in the garage, Shutter Speed returns for a behind-the-scenes insight into our United States Grand Prix weekend.

Shutter Speed: 2021 US GP

Glenn Dunbar, photographer for Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team and Motorsport Images, shares his favourite images from the race weekend and explains the intricate details that make up a perfect shot.

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Behind the camera

From tracking cars at high-speed, tackling some of the most iconic circuits in world motorsport, to capturing intimate behind-the-scenes shots of team members working tirelessly in the garage, photographers have a front-row seat for the very best of the F1 action. Learn more about Shutter Speed by clicking below.

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Glenn's equipment
Glenn's equipment

Shutter Speed is all about showcasing creativity and experimentation. And with six stunning images from the US GP, Glenn delivers just that, as he explains the setup, technique and meaning behind each shot.

2021 US GP: Shutter Speed

Shot on a Canon EOS R5 fitted with a 14mm lens

"When you arrive at a circuit for the weekend, you want to tell the story of the venue. In this shot, we've got that element covered.

"There's the famous viewing tower overlooking the circuit and the Texas flag-inspired run-off, which is very 'Stars and Stripes'.

"This is an area of the track that I know really well. I know where the sun will be, so I can frame it directly over the apex of the corner and make it ping off the car.

"The car isn't the focus of the image, so that light effect helps draw your attention to it, even though there is more of a scenic vibe to this shot."

2021 US GP Shutter Speed: Image Two

Shot on a Canon EOS R5 fitted with a 70-200mm lens

"This is one of my favourite shots to take on a weekend as it's such a dramatic image. It can only be created once per weekend, so it's about knowing how the team works across sessions.

"I can tell what's about to happen by the way the team go out to greet the car and by how they stand in the pit box.

"Once I know it's happening, it's about making sure you're capturing the aftermath as the tyre smoke fills the image.

"The Aston Martin name on the rear wing is already striking, so combined with the tyre marks, the red light and the smoke, it creates a really dramatic photo."

2021 US GP Shutter Speed: Image Three

Shot on a Canon EOS R5 with a 70-200mm lens

"This is a shot that every photographer in Austin knows about, right from the very first Grand Prix here.

"Sebastian is driving downhill from the exit of Turn One, and this sort of shot is a staple of the weekend.

"But what I like about this shot is that it's an image where everything is captured exactly right.

"My job is to make sure I capture the speed of Formula One, and I was able to coordinate all the key features of this image.

"Sebastian's helmet has this lovely clarity, and the reddish colour ties nicely with the Soft tyre. The blurred effect on the rest of the car and the grandstand makes for a really pleasing shot visually.

"It's a shot I’ve taken a million times before, but there's a real satisfaction to getting it exactly right."

2021 US GP Shutter Speed: Image four

Shot on a Canon EOS R5 fitted with a 50mm lens

"I was briefed to get some images of Lance's fan-chosen crash helmet for the weekend right before the announcement was made and fans could see it on track.

"This is one area of being an F1 photographer that I think people can overlook. You're constantly working in a moving environment, and it's important to build a relationship with the team.

"Without even asking, I placed the helmet on the AMR21, using it as a prop, and a member of the team came over and removed an antenna that was potentially blocking the shot and gave me a wink!

"That flexibility and understanding were crucial to this image. I was able to get down low, give it a low depth of field, and let the lights at the top of the garage make the helmet stand out in this Darth Vader-like way.

"That meant we were able to have some nice powerful imagery to go with the announcement."

2021 US GP Shutter Speed: Image five

Shot on a Canon EOS R5 fitted with a 28-70mm lens

"It's the glint in Sebastian's eyes that makes this shot and it was a really opportune image. This was taken on the Thursday after finishing his seat fit and making some adjustments.

"As you can see, he's reaching out for the steering wheel and happened to look right down the lens.

"At that point, you're just hoping everything lines up and that you've got the focus on his eyes. As you see this shot, that's how I saw it in the viewfinder.

"It was a split-second moment where everything came together, and I think this shot really gives an insight into Seb's personality."

2021 US GP Shutter Speed

Shot on a Canon EOS R5 fitted with a 28-70mm lens

"For this shot of Lance, it's all about isolating your subject and bringing the viewer into the focal point of the image.

"There are a few elements that really help achieve the effect, such as the number of mechanics either side of Lance and the fact that the Austin garages have quite a lot of lights in the roof, which creates this strong lighting effect around him as he sits in the car.

"I didn't expect the natural light in the pitlane to light up his eyes so well either.

"This started as a chance to get Lance's new crash helmet in action, but I ended up with this nicely illuminated image.

"It's like a gladiator getting ready to go into battle."

Thanks to Glenn Dunbar for sharing his passion and creative talents: #IAMCREATIVITY.

Discover more of Glenn's photography on his Instagram: @glenn_dunbar.

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