Behind-the-Camera of Photojournalist Nic Coury in Monterey County, California.

March 25, 2010

Laguna Seca Track Tests

I got invited to a Western Automotive Journalists (WAJ) track test day yesterday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

It was really nice to be back on track, because even though I'm not a car guy, I love shooting motorsports, namely motorcycle racing.

There were heads of a lot of the higher-end car companies and they were testing sporty compacts on the track and I got to go on a few high speed rides.

Shooting lots of racing over the years and knowing the track pretty well from a photog standpoint, it was really cool zipping through the turns and knowing how GP riders like Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner ride the track.

I had a conversation with a motorcycle friend of mine and we talked about the infamous corkscrew on the backside of the track and how as you are going up the straight after turn 6, the track horizon drops out of view due to the sudden drop on turn 8 and 8a. It's an unreal feeling to then have the track right up in your face as your soar down into Rainey Curve.

~ nic

March 21, 2010

Portrait: Bob Gamber pt. 2 - the documentary

Bob Gamber. Photo by Nic Coury.

About a month ago, I posted a blog about Bob Gamber and his iconic record shop, the Vinyl Revolution.

In early February, a bunch of local bands gathered to play tribute and help keep the store open.

See photo from the Vinyl Revolution benefit show.

One of the musicians, Luis "LA" Soldano, guitarist for Mystery Lights, is a film student at UC Santa Cruz and for his senior project, he made a documentary video about Bob and the Vinyl Rev.

He bought a few of my photos from the show and they're at the end of movie.

It was a great project to be a part of.

Spread the video around.

~ nic

March 14, 2010

Advertising: Figge Cellars

Figge Cellars. Photos by Nic Coury.

One of my clients is Figge Cellars. They produce wine in Marina from grapes all over Monterey County.

I shot the opening photo on their website and then in January we started a monthly project where I'm shooting a photo to illustrate their digital newsletter showing off every month in the winemaker's year.

More to come.

January - Sales Call.

February - Pruning.

March: A Family Business.

~ nic

March 11, 2010

Light: Those Golden Hours

Soccer at Laguna Grande park in Seaside.

Talk to most photographers about the best times of the day to photograph and someone will mention "the golden hour." It's the time right after sunrise and right before sunset. The sky emits a super nice, warm glow of very soft light. Great time to shoot portraits...

Every day I pass Laguna Grande park on Canyon Del Rey in Seaside and in the evening, there is always a group of Mexican guys playing soccer until it gets too dark to see. It's a great scene and I stopped today to shoot a photo (see above).

Shore plants at Laguna Grande park in Seaside.

I also dropped by the skate park in Monterey, which overlooks Lake El Estero and even though I'd shot skateboarders there a ton, there was a different picture I saw.

I wanted to photograph the skateboarders with the mirrored dusk light in the main frame.

A kid skateboards at El Estero Skate Park in Monterey.

~ nic

March 1, 2010

From the Archive: Why I Love to Shoot Motorcycle Racing.

Valentin Rossi, "The Doctor", takes turn 5 at Laguna Seca during qualifying for the 2009 U.S. Moto GP.

I really don't like sports. Never have. I never played football or anything in college and can't stand watching most sports on TV, but I absolutely, 100% LOVE photographing and watching motorcycle road racing, namely the MotoGP.

There is something about the long walks around the track, the warm weather and the constant smell of diesel and gas for that entire weekend at Laguna Seca that is amazing.

Watching (and photographing) "The Doctor"—Valentino Rossi—take corners is mind-blowing. He is easily one of the greatest riders in the history of the sport and arguably the best corner rider. Watching these guys gracefully soar around sharp turns at speeds around 100mph is a fascinating spectacle of athleticism.

Dani Pedros leads riders down the infamous corkscrew during the first laps of the 2009 U.S. Moto GP.

Laguna Seca also has some great landscapes and one of hardest tracks in the GP circuit, including the "corkscrew," which is considered one of the hardest track sections in the world due to the drop in elevation as well as its blind crest and apex on the uphill approach.

The track offers some of the best access for photogs to get close to the action. There are sections where I can literally be only about six feet from the riders as they are zipping by at super fast speeds. It's very exhilarating and one of my favorite feelings in the world to be that close to someone on a bike, taking these incredible movements.

Jorge Lorenzo whips around turn 2—the Andretti hairpin—during practice in 2009.

Valentino Rossi leads Casey Stoner (center) and Jorge Lorenzo down from Rainey Curve during the 2009 U.S. Moto GP.

Dani Pedrosa races down from the corkscrew into Rainey Curve during practice runs in 2009.

The intense level of athleticism these guys are is very hardcore. Considering Jorge Lorenzo took two hard falls during qualifying last year, in the same run, and he had to be taken off the track on a stretcher with dislocated shoulder. At the following press conference, which he attended with assistance and announced he wasn't sure if he was going to race on Sunday, he ends up coming in 3rd place. It's a wild treatment these guys put themselves through to win.

Valentino Rossi during a practice run, with Jorge Lorenzo riding into turn 4.

Valentino Rossi approaches the finish line during practice runs in 2009.

Racers come out of Rainey Curve—turn 9.

Jorge Lorenzo passes fans crowded around turn 2—the Andretti Hairpin.

Jorge Lorenzo peaks behind the turn 4 fence during qualifying.

Road Racer X and Motorcycle Racer's current issues, which include best photos of the year and decade.

~ nic