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|| News Item: Posted 2008-04-17

Trade Secrets: A little help from my friends.
Jamie Squire's shot of Ryan Newman celebrating his Daytona 500 win is next in a series of features called "Trade Secrets."

By Jamie Squire, Getty Images

Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 Alltel Dodge, celebrates in victory lane after winning the 50th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
It is rare these days in the individualistic field of sports photography that photographers collaborate, rather than compete, to come up with exceptional images. While photographing this year's Daytona 500, I was fortunate enough to come away with a truly magnificent image… with a little help from my friends.

The shot of Ryan Newman celebrating in victory lane is the result of tremendous teamwork, a lot of foresight, and ultimately, chance. Although it has my name associated with it, it could not have been done without the help of fellow Getty staffers Jonathan Ferrey and Matthew Stockman.

When Daytona International Speedway redesigned its victory lane a few years ago, they placed it in front of a brand new building in the infield. The backdrop is a permanent metal structure about 20 feet high that is all but attached to the building. There are only about two feet of space between it and the building.

It became possible to shoot from the roof of the building from an overhead position looking straight down on the celebration. The first year of the redesign, I successfully made a picture of Jeff Gordon with a crazy amount of confetti falling all around.

When contemplating the celebration the following year for the 2007 Daytona 500, I decided to shoot from the same position. Jon Ferrey and I had talked about the possibility of putting a remote on the actual victory lane backdrop looking back toward the front of the track with the specific intent of capturing the strobes from the photographers documenting the moment. After permission was granted, we placed a camera with a 15mm fisheye on a magic arm at the top of the backdrop. Because of the tight space between the backdrop and the building, the whole process took us at least three hours.

The camera position was about 17 feet above the ground, so we had to first find, then wedge a 10 foot extension ladder, fully extended, in the tight space. Then we had to balance on the ladder, compose and focus the camera while trying to figure out how to expose for the situation. We knew we wanted a slow shutter speed to have an opportunity to catch a flash, but since we didn’t know how long the race would take, we were not sure if it would finish under darkness or not. We decided to set the camera to ASA 400 on shutter priority at 30th/second -1 stop. This worked! Ferrey got a couple of really nice celebration pictures of Kevin Harvick from behind while managing to capture a few flashes. My shot from overhead worked well, too. Ferrey and I later agreed that it was probably one of the hardest places to put a remote either of us had ever attempted.

This year, Matthew Stockman wanted to put a camera in a similar position. He asked me to help him as I had done the shot with Ferrey the year prior. Again, it took several hours to install. Stockman provided the camera, clamp, and wizard while I placed, secured, and set the remote.

Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Photo by Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nextel Cup Daytona 500 on February 20, 2005 at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida.
When we looked at the take after the celebration had finished, we were psyched as we had several images to choose from. The technique had worked just as expected. Hmmm. How were we going to credit the images? The entire process was a collaborative effort, so Matt and I did what we have done for years at events such as the Kentucky Derby. We work together on the finish line remotes at the Derby so we share the credit. After the 500, we each chose two frames to put our names on. Stockman has a great shot of Newman with both arms up in the air and lots of flashes. My version has the circle of Gatorade. Stockman’s picture ran in The New York Times the next day. Mine ran in USA Today. We were both happy. The sheer number and pattern of bursts and the Gatorade in my picture are elements that, I believe, set this image apart from all the rest. All happy accidents.

With careful planning, a good deal of chance, and lots of teamwork, I was able to succeed at capturing a definitive moment from a truly unique point of view. Thanks to Jon, Matt, Getty’s fearless Nascar leader, Rusty Jarrett, and everyone who has contacted me since the race with questions or comments.

Jamie Squire is a staff photographer for Getty Images in Kansas City.

"Trade Secrets" is a series of educational features where members reveal the inside-information about how they were able to create a specific image (or two.) To nominate an image for this feature, please send a message to the admin staff here: The admin staff reserves the right to accept, or not accept, any nomination.

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