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  • Writer's pictureJamey Price

Pictures of the Year 2012

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

What an incredible and completely wild ride 2012 has been.

Where do I even begin to sum it all up? Four Indycar races; Two Grand Am races; Three NASCAR races; Two ALMS races; Four days of Formula One testing in Barcelona; the inaugural United States Grand Prix in Austin; the 24 Hours of Le Mans; a two week trip to England covering five racing series at three different tracks; the Kentucky Derby; 12 days in Colorado for Pikes Peak International Hill Climb; the Harry Miller Club gathering in Milwaukee; and race car ride-alongs with two fantastic drivers, who between them have won a combined total of seven 24 Hours of Le Mans. Photos published in magazines, newspapers and websites around the globe and seen by millions of people. Clients who have become great friends. Endless laughs with friends in the media center. The chance to work with the most incredible photographers and photo agencies on the planet and the opportunity to learn from those people. But best was the ability to say that for the first time in my short career, I’ve made an income from it all that supports itself, and me.


Though I can’t thank each and every person individually for what they’ve contributed to my career this past year, I do want to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of you. You all know who you are. Each shoot, race, and assignment was a unique challenge, but most of all, they were ALL fun. I don’t know how I got so lucky. The friend’s I’ve made in the media center and everywhere else along the journey have made life on the road really enjoyable. Every time I get on a plane or get in my car, I know I’m going to see friends and do what I love. I can’t ask for more than that.

So, since it seems we have all lived through the Mayan apocalypse….here are some of my favorite motorsport photos (and a sprinkling of other stuff) from 2012.

Circuit de Catalyuna, Barcelona Spain, February 21, 2012. Nikon D3, 550mm (400 +1.4tc) f4, 1/1250. © Jamey Price

What more can I say? As a life long follower of F1, it was something like a dream come true to stand in the paddock of an F1 test in Barcelona, Spain, with a credential hanging around my neck. I was once told you can’t be a fan and a professional and do the job well. I disagree. You’d be hard pressed to find someone more passionate about the sport, and more driven to cover it from an unbiased, journalistic point of view. Barcelona was four fantastic days that changed my career forever.

Barber Motorsports Park, Alabama, April 1, 2012. Nikon D700, 14mm, f16, 1/50. © Jamey Price/LAT

As photographers, we are always pushed to find something new. It’s easy to become complacent and go where everyone else is because the photo is always “there”. In this case, I was looking for something different. And in the early April sunshine, I ventured up to the hill inside turns 2 and 3 at Barber during the Indycar Grand Prix and found this. Stuff like this makes an amazing landscape photo as it is. Add race cars, and to me, it’s a sublime place to be.

Stoneybrook Steeplechase, North Carolina, April 7, 2012. Nikon D700, 140mm, f13, 1/60. © Jamey Price/Eclipse Sportswire

Having cut my teeth in the photography world covering steeplechase racing, it’s something I’m intimately familiar with….as a photographer, but as a jockey, too. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been where this young lady is here: skimming along the grass with legs flailing around you, doing everything you can not to end up as road kill. It’s no fun, but it’s just part of the job. I was going for a first jump pan of the runners clearing the hurdle, but I saw this pair heading for the floor and just followed it. Out of the set, this was the one sharp photo, but that’s all you need! (Everyone was just fine by the way).

Churchill Downs, Louisville KY, May 4, 2012. Nikon D700, 125mm, f6.3, 1/8000. © Jamey Price/Getty Images

The Kentucky Derby is something I’ve long dreamed of attending. It was a supreme honor to be asked to cover it with the Getty images team, a group comprised of the finest photographers in the business. The light glimmering off the wet concrete while horses got their morning bath was incredible. This is the racing life that few see, but one I know all too well.

Charlotte Motorspeedway, May 18, 2012. Nikon D3, 140mm, f2.8, 1/80. © Jamey Price/Getty Images

Mark Martin has to be one of the elder statesmen of NASCAR. His age hasn’t diminished his driving talent any, though; he is still very much a tough competitor. Shooting the NASCAR races at Charlotte with Getty, I was assigned to cover Martin during one of the early practices. While he quietly leaned against his car, I snapped a few images of him. There is something in his eye and smile I love. Peaceful, yet incredibly focused. Some of the drivers are really tough to work around. He is not one of them.

Charlotte Motorspeedway, May 19, 2012. Nikon D3, 200mm, f7.1, 1/20. © Jamey Price/Getty Images

The chaos of a NASCAR pitstop. AJ Allmendinger came in early in the Sprint Cup All-Star race, slapped on 4 fresh tires, and away he went. But chaos can be beautiful too. These guys are professionals, all the way around. It’s fun to watch them work. Races are won and lost in the pits. A slow shutter speed helped show the motion and intensity of it all.

Charlotte Motorspeedway, May 27, 2012. Nikon D3, 24mm, f16, 1/80. © Jamey Price/Getty Images

It can be exceptionally monotonous to cover these stockcar races….especially the long ones, and even more so if there are long green flag periods. But as the sun dipped lower, it intensified the light on the packed grandstand making for a nice panning opportunity of “smoke” trundling around the 2 mile speedway.

Charlotte Motorspeedway, May 27, 2012. Nikon D3, 400mm, f11, 1/60. © Jamey Price/Getty Images

Believe it or not, this is a tough shot to make. On a long lens, the car comes from out of no where. Using the sound of the engine passing you, you know when to start panning. The afternoon light was exceptional as the eventual 2012 Sprint Cup Champion roars out of turn 2 and onto the backstretch. Challenging but rewarding image to nail.

Charlotte Motorspeedway, May 27, 2012. Nikon D3, 400, f2.8, 1/6400. © Jamey Price/Getty Images

As a former newspaper photographer, I love to make feature images. Races are so energetic and colorful, and it’s not just the cars. Here, fans on an infield RV watch the action as the race hits exactly the halfway point in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte. I try to always keep my eye wandering for something unique to tell a story about where I am. Fans are usually half the story.

Charlotte Motorspeedway, May 27, 2012. Nikon D3, 400mm, f7.1, 1/30. © Jamey Price/Getty Images

Late in the race, the action starts picking up. The middle part of a NASCAR race is pretty dull, especially in the longer races. All the drivers are content to just hold their ground and not take any unnecessary risks. But once the laps wind down, they start going for it again. Side by side action as they rumble through the tri-oval is always exciting and even more so at 1/30 of a second.

Brooklandwood, Queens Cup Steeplechase, June 10, 2012. Nikon D3, 34mm, f10, 1/60. © Jamey Price/QC Exclusive

Using the Queens Cup Steeplechase course as a backdrop, two Ferraris and a Lamborghini pose for a magazine portrait – an idea and picture I’m proud of. This image ran as the cover of QC Exclusive.  It turned out really well.  I’m not afraid to admit failure, however; our first attempt at this magazine shoot was a complete flop. It just wasn’t what we needed for a lot of reasons. So we regrouped for another day, and this was the image I had in my head all along.

Milwauke Mile, Wisconsin, July 6, 2012. Nikon D3, 400mm, f2.8, 1/3200. © Jamey Price

Harry Miller was an early 20th century race car designer. You might say he was the Adrian Newey of his time. The Harry Miller Club meets once a year at the Milwaukee Mile to do laps in some of his famous machines, as well as other vintage race cars, many of them Indy 500 winners. Amazing to watch and listen to. But I’ll always remember the weekend for the oppressive heat. It must have been 120f on the tarmac. I don’t think I’ve ever sweat that much in my life.

Milwauke Mile, Wisconsin, July 6, 2012. Nikon D700, 14mm, f22, 1/50. © Jamey Price

Former professional race car driver Hurley Haywood offered me a ride in the early 20′s Grand Prix car he was driving that weekend for a friend/client. Its tiny passenger seat was once used for the car’s mechanic to ride shotgun. In a time before pitstops and before reliable cars were made, you had to have someone riding with you who could fix it when it inevitably broke. There is NO room in this thing, but boy does it drive. The harder you push it, the more it wants to go. Hurley, being a supreme driver (and multiple Le Mans winner), was in total control. Sadly, the car broke down later in the afternoon and didn’t run again that weekend. What an experience though.

Pikes Peak, Colorado, August 5, 2012. ColoradoNikon D3, 28mm, f3.5, 1/60. © Jamey Price/Ducati

Early in 2012, Audi bought the Italian motorcycle company Ducati. Ducati kindly asked me to go out and cover Pikes Peak Hill Climb for them, but also asked if I might be interested in joining them and doing some still photos for a private shoot with Audi. The companies had rented out the entire 14,000ft mountain for two mornings of shooting for a private video the week before the hill climb. Former Pikes Peak winner and professional stuntman Greg Tracey motors alongside on our way to the next location on the mountain. Greg was amazing to work with, and you’ve definitely seen some of his stunt jobs in movies. Bad ass doesn’t begin to describe him. He also gave us quite a scare when he binned his Ducati Multistrada high on the mountain and hit a rock wall at over 90mph. He was trying to convince us that he was okay and wanted to keep shooting……. Greg, you definitely had your bell rung buddy!  😉

Pikes Peak, Colorado, 12,000+ ft, August 8, 2012. Nikon D3, 400mm, f2.8, 1/320. © Jamey Price/Ducati

Pikes Peak Hill Climb isn’t all fun and games. For most of the 12 days I spent in Colorado, my alarm was going off at 2:25am to be on the mountain by 4am. The road to the top closed shortly afterward, and as soon as the sun rose in the eastern sky, bikes and cars were on their way up the mountain. The sunrise that first morning was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. A first just a glow, then eventually a sliver of fire, then a small oblong ball, then finally a beating bright ball high in the sky. It was magical….and exceptionally cold.

Pikes Peak Colorado, 13,000+ft, August 9, 2012. Nikon D3, 190mm, f3.5, 1/1250. © Jamey Price/Ducati

Carlin Dunne is a madman. Seemingly knowing no danger, he pushed his Ducati Multistrada harder than anyone else, and made it to the top in the fastest time ever. It was fascinating talking with him and teammate Greg. Seeing their reactions at the top after breaking 10 minutes on the 12 mile course was something I’ll never forget. But they aren’t just incredible athletes; they’re genuinely good people. And it was a pleasure to spend time with them both, as well as their support team.

Pikes Peak, Colorado, 9,000ft, August 10, 2012. Nikon D3, 95mm, f3.5, 1/2000. © Jamey Price

Pikes Peak also made for some exceptional images of some of the other vehicles. The sidecar bikes and their riders are truly insane. Using weight and momentum to turn the bike, they are scary but fun to watch. Glimmering in the early Colorado sun, I only had one chance to get this image. The time between runs up the hill meant that by the time the bikes got to the top of sector one, and then back down to the staging area, then going up again meant that the sun would be in a totally different spot. Precision and knowing your camera are absolutely essential. Fortunately, I got what I wanted.

Pikes Peak, Colorado, 14,000ft, August 12, 2012. Nikon D3, 70mm, f2.8, 1/1600. © Jamey Price

I think this pretty well sums up Pikes Peak. No guard rails. No safety net. Just a car and a mountain. It’s a dangerous place to be a photographer, but one that was incredibly eye opening, creatively challenging, and exceptionally fun. You have to keep your head on a swivel at all times, but it’s that exhilarating nature that drives us all to be better. Not just for the drivers. Everyone. We’re all taking risks. That’s what Pikes Peak is all about.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, August 16, 2012. Nikon D3, 400mm, f3.5, 1/2500. © Jamey Price/LAT

Light pockets are a photographer’s best friend, at least mine anyway. Here, shadowed by a guard rail on either side, a Daytona Prototype Corvette roars at me during one of the afternoon practice sessions at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. As always, finding a clean background and foreground are important. A nearly identical photo of mine ran pretty large in RACER magazine as well as Racecar engineering magazine. Always nice to see one’s work in print!

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, August 17, 2012. Nikon D3, 70mm, f16, 1/50. © Jamey Price/LAT

Normally used as an Formula One track, Circuit Gilles was an awesome place to shoot stock cars. Watching these heavy boat-like vehicles roll around the island street circuit was a ton of fun. Danica Patrick was quick all weekend (until she hit a shoe). The problem with Circuit Gilles is that it’s tough to get around. Long walks through thick underbrush in the middle of summer are par for the course. The images are well worth the trouble, though.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, August 17, 2012. Nikon D3, 400mm, f22, 1/25. © Jamey Price/LAT

During one of the afternoon stock car practice sessions, I saw a few of the cars pushing really hard around this one corner and often lifting a wheel as they pushed onward. Using a really slow shutter speed, I gave the car a ton of speed and luckily caught the car doing exactly what I hoped it would do. Sometimes you get lucky

That is a sight I will miss. The Mazda RX7s have been retired from Grand Am. Though every photographer and their mother loved doing this fireball shot, and it was overdone to the very end, we all still loved it. As the cars came back down through the gears at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the Mazdas would spit fire and bark loudly. They were just fun to photograph. I’ll miss them immensely. They sounded damn good, too.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, August 18, 2012. Nikon D3, 550mm (400 +1.4tc) f5, 1/640. © Jamey Price/LAT

Back to getting lucky with a photo, damn. The stripe on the car lined up perfectly with the line on the race track. But this photo was special for another reason, too. Sometimes you work really hard to nail a photo and it doesn’t pay off. This one did. It was a hike and half to get to this spot, through THICK underbrush, spiders, ground hogs, snakes, mosquitoes and foliage like I’ve never seen in my life. I finally I find my shot and stayed for a few minutes then moved on to the next. It was rewarding, to say the least.

Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma CA, August 24, 2012. Nikon D3, 200mm, f2.8, 1/125. © Jamey Price/LAT

Aside from being one of Indycar’s top drivers, Will Power has some amazing eyes. The intensity in them never wavers. In this case, his face is lit up by the sun’s reflection in the mirror of the car. I was pumped when I saw this photo had been published in Australia.