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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

IndyCar Dan Wheldon tragedy
Daniel Goncalves, Photographer
Jacksonville | FL | USA | Posted: 11:21 PM on 10.16.11
->> iRL driver Dan Wheldon (33 years old) died tonight while racing in Vegas. What a tragedy. Such a nice guy and he won the Indy 500 this year as well. I feel terrible for his family. Hope no photographers we hurt during the crash.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer
Durham | NC | USA | Posted: 11:26 PM on 10.16.11
->> that was one of the most horrific car crashes I have ever seen. and the worst part was listening to the announcers say over and over "we were worried something like this might happen with that many cars on the track".
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Michael Durisseau, Photographer, Photo Editor
Santa Fe/Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 11:59 PM on 10.16.11
->> Mr. Liddy...that was a bit much, though, reportedly, there had not been a major event (Indycar) there since 2006, maybe earlier...
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Anantachai Brown, Photographer
Jacksonville | FL | | Posted: 12:43 AM on 10.17.11
->> just saw the crash...its amazing only one fatality occurred.
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Michael Durisseau, Photographer, Photo Editor
Santa Fe/Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 9:57 AM on 10.17.11
->> Someone I respect alerted me that I wasn't real clear on my last post: I was agreeing with Mr. Liddy...there are times that TV analysts repeat themselves over and over...doesn't make much sense to do that... Make the point, and go on, is what I say...

On another note, my condolences to the Wheldon family.
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Andrew Richardson, Student/Intern, Photographer
Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 11:48 AM on 10.17.11
->> I was in my car and saw it on twitter and it was like a punch in the gut. I've watched Dan race for years, cheered for him and against him, what a great driver. Prayers for his family, especially his 2 young boys.
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Jack Megaw, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 12:51 PM on 10.17.11
->> It's a very sad day. I rooted for Dan for years, have hand the opportunity to cover him in a few races and to meet him once. It's been amazing seeing the reaction from around the world and through Formula One also.

My sincere condolences to his young family.
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Richard Uhlhorn, Photographer
Chelan Falls | WA | USA | Posted: 1:56 PM on 10.17.11
->> Having been deeply involved in sports car racing in my past, I feel for his family during this tragic time. It is a dangerous sport, but having watched CNN's report, one wonders if the race wasn't made more dangerous based on the track configuration they were running on.

My sincerest condolences to the Weldon family.
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Jack Megaw, Photographer
Philadelphia | PA | USA | Posted: 2:01 AM on 10.18.11
->> If you look two posts up you'll see my post of condolence but I have an ethics question about this crash and the tragic death of Dan Wheldon from a point of view of our profession.

I came across this Daily Mail article (
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049949/Dan-Wheldon-crash-video-Ind... ) whilst I found the tone of the article shocking I was very surprised to see some of the images that were being used from valid credible wire services (Getty, AP, Reuters) which seem to show gratuitous images of the crash including a tighter (very much cropped) shot of Dan Wheldon as the car is coming to a stop.

Do you think the images should be on the wire/in the paper or not. I'd like to hear some opinions.

Before I click to post this I just want to make it clear that I don't blame the photographers for taking these images or submitting them - at the time of the crash without knowing the tragic result I would have done the same thing.

-Jack
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Marc Paulus, Photographer, Photo Editor
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 3:17 AM on 10.18.11
->> I was there between turn 1 and two in the photo tower. 15 cars it was horrific. Saturday night shot Dan at the Stratosphere Hotel Casino signing autographs and stayed an extra half hour to ensure all those fans gat an autograph. He will be missed and I hope they scrap all plans of a race next year.
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 1:23 PM on 10.18.11
->> "Do you think the images should be on the wire/in the paper or not. I'd like to hear some opinions."

As a life long IndyCar/CART fan, and some one that spent a lot of time at tracks around Dan Weldon, Scott Brayton, Greg Moore, Tony Renna, Paul Dana, and Jeff Krosnoff, I don't have a problem with any of those photos. As fans of the sport, most of us have a pretty strong desire to try and understand just what the heck happens in situations like these. It helps us form opinions about root causes and potential solutions that might prevent future tragedies. On top of that, believe me, those photos are very tame in comparison to other images I've seen of other accidents.

Dan was a really, really nice guy. I never saw him in a bad mood. I was tickled when he won at Indy this year as a one-off driver with a small budget team. I was at Fontana in 1999 when Moore perished and watching the events from my living room on Sunday with Wheldon was some very painful deja vu. It was even more painful when I went to my computer the opened my Indy 2011 folder and the first image that I saw was Dan holding his toddler son Sabastian (his OLDER son, btw) celebrating his victory on the start/finish line.
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Robert Scheer, Photographer
Indianapolis | IN | USA | Posted: 3:02 PM on 10.18.11
->> Dan's a class act. Our local Indy PJ gang photographed him on a number of occasions, and I was able to meet him a couple of times. Best to his friends/family/community.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 3:40 PM on 10.19.11
->> I just heard a rumor that the official track photographer was Icon and that they complied with an request from the track not to post images of the crash. Can anybody confirm this?

--Mark
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 3:54 PM on 10.19.11
->> Additional: Icon did post images of the crash, but are alleged to have cropped Wheldo'ns car from all images. I'm not familiar enough with Indy to tell if that's the case.

--Mark
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Michael Pina, Photographer
SF Bay Area | ca | usa | Posted: 9:26 PM on 10.19.11
->> Hi all i was there. It was very tragic to watch and then learn of Dan's passing. Our German team photog captured most of what happened and we have been holding off of posting these unforgettable images. All i can say is the sound of cars losing control and bursting into fire balls have made me sick to my stomach. I captured Dan @ the Indy 500 and will miss that million dollar smile. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family Susie, Oliver and Sebastian.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 2:09 PM on 10.20.11
->> I was also there on the photo tower over the tunnel between turns 1 & 2. It was horrific and saddening to say the least. However, in response to Mr. Loundy's initial question, to my knowledge we were never told that we could not submit and/or post up the crash images. I was in the media center right after the 5 salute laps ended and there was nothing said, that I heard directly or indirectly, about withholding the images. One of the people for AP/LVRJ was even asking people if they could purchase their images; possibly for the LVRJ (Las Vegas Review Journal) the next day.

I've been involved in motorsports for a long time and I currently race sportbikes on a track. There is always an inherent risk that you take every time you get on a motorcycle or in a car to race, practice, test, whatever. As long as the images are posted and used respectfully/properly, I don't see a problem with the images being released. Unfortunately, the situation was part of the news of the track that day and there were photographers that covered it. I don't see why the images shouldn't be presented. Again, I would hope that it would be presented respectfully/properly.

I definitely feel for Dan Wheldon's family, friends, teammates and the rest of the IndyCar drivers that are suffering through this tragic loss.
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Donald Montague, Photographer
Orlando | FL | | Posted: 2:19 PM on 10.20.11
->> Mark,
i went to Icon's website and the pictures of the crash have been removed, in contact AP images has all of the images still available, and say "PREMIUM CONTENT - SPECIAL RATES APPLY **
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 3:13 PM on 10.20.11
->> What do you folks think of this? Should anybody except end-use editors be making editorial judgments about what is and is not appropriate?

--Mark
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 3:14 PM on 10.20.11
->> I meant to add: Should "wire" services withhold ANY content?

--Mark
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Steven Mullensky, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend | WA. | USA | Posted: 3:43 PM on 10.20.11
->> In reference to Chuck Liddy's post above, some of you youngsters don't remember the fiery crash of Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonald in the second lap of the 1964 Indy 500. The crash involved seven cars and was pretty horrific. Both drivers died.
After the clean-up, they resumed the race. A.J. Foyt won the race in record time.
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Steve Ueckert, Photographer
Houston | TX | | Posted: 4:04 PM on 10.20.11
->> Steven--

It was exactly that event that came to mind when I first saw the Las Vegas crash.

Because of the Sachs / McDonald crash gasoline was banned at the Indy 500 in deference to alcohol which burns cooler, albeit with much less flame.

--Steve
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 5:03 PM on 10.20.11
->> Steve,

Being a stickler for details, let me add a couple of things... USAC didn't technically ban gasoline after the 1964 500, they severally restricted the size of the tanks on cars that carried gasoline. This made the fuel less advantageous to use versus methanol, and teams naturally switched. Before the change, cars carried upwards of 100 gallons of gasoline (often in out-board tanks). Many of the cars were literal Molotov Cocktails on wheels. Anyone that's seen footage of the MacDonald/Sachs crash knows that what took Sachs' life was the wall of gasoline fueled smoke that blanketed the exit of Turn 4 and offered the drivers behind MacDonald's initial crash no clue about a safe route through the turn. Each driver had to guess on a safe path and pray. Eddie Sachs opted to go high and shoot for the only remaining narrow clear gap as MacDonald's car drifted up towards the outside wall. Sachs misjudged the rate that MacDonald's car was closing the gap and T-boned his flame embedded car. Sachs was killed instantly. MacDonald was conscious and alert after the accident, but he died shortly afterwards due to the mortal damage the flames did to his lungs.

Methanol largely removed the chances of another smoke-screen incident along with a safety improvement mandate... the use of military adapted internal fuel bladders ("cells") instead of the rigid external tanks.
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 6:40 PM on 10.20.11
->> "Should anybody except end-use editors be making editorial judgments about what is and is not appropriate?"

Mark, just like a local newspaper editor that may have to make editorial judgements about what images to submit to their partner wire service, decisions about what to move from a track is not really different. Deciding the appropriateness of an image from the civilian car crash isn't really much different that the process for racing accidents. Additionally, for better or worse, wires and other media outlets also sometimes have to weigh the potential harm of using a particular graphic image is in their future relationship with the track (or sanctioning body) versus the newsworthiness of the image. Damage can result in complete or partial loss of credentials, reduction in (or loss of) access to privileged shooting locations, or other things that can make life harder for the outlet in the future.
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Mark J. Terrill, Photographer
Simi Valley | CA | USA | Posted: 7:44 PM on 10.20.11
->> "for better or worse, wires and other media outlets also sometimes have to weigh the potential harm of using a particular graphic image is in their future relationship with the track (or sanctioning body) versus the newsworthiness of the image. Damage can result in complete or partial loss of credentials, reduction in (or loss of) access to privileged shooting locations, or other things that can make life harder for the outlet in the future."

Geoff,

Which wire services do that? I would venture to say that no legitimate news service would allow future access to influence whether a newsworthy event gets on the wire. Can you imagine a news service photographing Obama tumbling down the stairs of Air Force One and holding it back because they may lose access to the White House? It's not going to happen.
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 8:54 PM on 10.20.11
->> Mark,

I didn't say they would withhold all photos of a newsworthy event out of such concerns, I meant that the incremental newsworthiness of a particularly graphic image versus the potential for backlash from the public and sanctioning body could be part of the calculus given others to choose from. In the case of a serious accident, there are often a number of different images an editor can choose from that basically tell the same story... some more graphic than others. I'm thinking of one fatality in particular at a major track.
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Mark J. Terrill, Photographer
Simi Valley | CA | USA | Posted: 9:14 PM on 10.20.11
->> Geoff,

I get what you're saying, but not using a graphic image out of decency is one thing. Doing it out of concern for future access is quite another. In the 30 years that I've been doing this, I've never seen future access be a factor in whether to use a photograph. Again, I'm speaking of news organizations, not picture agencies. I think there is a huge difference in motives and ethics between the two.
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 5:12 AM on 10.21.11
->> Geoff as somebody who has worked on the editing desks of both AP and UPI, I can tell you that fear of offending a sanctioning body is zero part of the editorial process. If anything, the idea that a sanctioning body would prefer that we sit on an image would probably make it get transmitted just that much faster.

--Mark
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Warren Wimmer, Photographer
Orland Park | Il | USA | Posted: 12:46 PM on 10.24.11
->> Mark, I was there shooing for ICON and yes out of RESPECT, then with direction from the track was specific images released and posted. Yes ICON was beat by other wires but we did what was right by Dan and his family
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Thread Title: IndyCar Dan Wheldon tragedy
Thread Started By: Daniel Goncalves
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