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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.

I was waiting for someone to do this at this turn all morning. Many cars got close. Then Indycar driver Alex Tagliani went wide and kicked up all kinds of crap as he struggled to regain control of the car. Sadly, my lens and camera were not communicating properly and the exposure was out of whack.  I saved it as best as I could.

Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma CA, August 25, 2012. Nikon D3, 400mm, f3.2, 1/2000. © Jamey Price/LAT

The Indycars are absolutely mental to watch through this sector at Sonoma, flying from curb to curb like possessed darts fired from a gun. It’s fun to watch. Glad I didn’t stay here long, though; Joseph Newgarten speared into the tire barrier not long after, and not far from where I was standing. Sometimes the risks are worth the reward, though. A clean sweeping image like this is what I live for. Too bad I had a busted lens and couldn’t do more with this opportunity.

Autoclub Speedway, Fontana CA, September 15, 2012. Nikon D700, 86mm, f4, 1/200. © Jamey Price/LAT

As the sun set on the final Indycar race of the year, on a blazing hot September afternoon in Fontana, California….the yellow flag for a crash that ended Will Power’s championship sent everyone into the pits for tires and fuel. Indycar pit stalls are a miserable place to work; the teams aren’t especially nice to photographers they don’t know, and the cramped crowded space is tough to work with on the best of days.  Still, I managed to find an open spot in front of Dario’s stall and nail a sequence of images, culminating in this one of the 2012 Indy 500 winner. Nearly no post processing on it, either.

Silverstone Circuit, UK, September 22, 2012. Nikon D3, 200mm, f3.5, 1/3200. © Jamey Price

If you hadn’t noticed, I’m kind of a fan of backlit race cars. Not much else works backlit, but race cars glimmer and sparkle like jewels when the sun is in the right spot. If you know race tracks, you’ll recognize this spot. It’s the famous Maggots/Becketts/Chapel complex at Silverstone on a bright afternoon in the English fall. The sun never gets that high in the UK during that time of year, so using the race track, the car, and the dark background, I highlighted the one F3 car running through the scene.

Silverstone Circuit, UK, September 22, 2012. Nikon D3, 116mm, f16, 1/40. © Jamey Price/Xynamic

Oh look! More backlit. Like I said, race cars are stunning when the sun hits them right. like this chromed out Aston Martin at sunset turning laps around Silverstone. I took full advantage as the sun dipped low in the English sky during the Britcar 24 hour race. Sadly, gorgeous cars like this were castrated of their heavenly noise due to heinous noise restrictions made by surrounding neighborhoods. Don’t build near a race track if you want a quiet life. Simple.

Rockingham Speedway, UK, September 23, 2012. Nikon D3, 550mm (400 + 1.4tc), f4, 1/640. © Jamey Price

I’m not sure I’ve ever been wetter or colder than I was at Rockingham for British Touring Cars. Though I was soaked to the bone, the pouring rain did make for some interesting racing and interesting water displays….like this one. It almost looks like Rallying! Fortunately I survived without getting hypothermia and lived to shoot another race….

Rockingham Speedway, UK, September 23, 2012. Nikon D3, 550mm (400 + 1.4tc), f4.5, 1/320. © Jamey Price

This was one of my favorites from the British Touring Car races. A very dark, wet day, combined with headlights and the spray from the cars made for a dramatic scene at Rockingham Speedway. I was glad to see the end of that wet day, but happy that I was able to make some pretty photos. I think my camera gear is STILL drying out, though.

Donnington Park, UK, September 29, 2012. Nikon D3, 280mm, f4, 1/250. © Jamey Price/LAT

Donnington Park. What a cool place. Formerly a Grand Prix track made famous by Arton Senna’s charging drive to win in the rain, it now gets used for smaller racing series – on this particular weekend, British GT. Normally this shot is filled with a plane (as there is a runway directly behind the hill) but that night, the full moon rose behind the cars. It was an incredible afternoon.

Road Atlanta GA, October 19, 2012. Nikon D3, 110mm, f22, 10 seconds © Jamey Price/L'endurance

Petit Le Mans is one of my favorite races of the year. A stunningly simple, tree-lined circuit couldn’t be a better place to spend an October weekend. 10 hours of car racing sounds like hell to some people, but for motorsport photographers, it’s heaven.  We get to shoot during all times of day and from as many angles as we can run to. The only catch is, watch out for those fire ant mounds. At night, they’ll still bite just as hard. Many a photographer has been sent to the hospital from standing on a hidden natural landmine. I’m lucky…so far.

Road Atlanta GA, October 20, 2012. Nikon D3, 800mm (400 + 2xtc), f13, 1/1000. © Jamey Price/L'endurance

The Rebellion’s unique headlight spread made for another pretty backlit scenario at Road Atlanta. Early in the morning during Petit Le Mans practice, getting as low to the guard rail as I could, I brought the ground level up and shot with an 800mm lens to get up close and personal with the cars. I almost didn’t make this session though. Stupidly, I left my camera batteries many miles away in the media center. Not my finest moment, but at least my friends nearby got a good laugh watching my run back to get them!

Road Atlanta GA, October 20, 2012. Nikon D3, 200mm, f2.8, 1/2500. © Jamey Price/L'endurance

I know, I know. More backlit. But flags are more or less see-through, so shooting toward the sun with the light shining through brought the contrast and black levels up and the colors in the flags out. Many photographers shy away from backlit scenarios….but try it next time. It can certainly create some dramatic images. And like I’ve always said, car racing isn’t just about the car racing. There are plenty of pretty things to point a camera at.

The Muscle Milk ALMS car heads toward the Georgia sunset. Not long after this, Patrick Dempsey crashed his car and sent the safety car out for a very long period of time, more or less ruining the rest of the sunset for us. Oh well. Make due with what you have!

Road Atlanta, GA, October 20, 2012. Nikon D3, 28mm, f2.8, 1/20. © Jamey Price/L'endurance

Of all the race cars I photographed this year, the Nissan Delta wing impressed me the most. It was a joy, and a wonder to watch. I first saw it at Le Mans, but couldn’t get close enough to appreciate it for what it was doing. But at Petit, I was able to observe it up close. It was stuck like glue to the race track, and fast as lightning. Though by far the strangest looking thing I’ve seen on a track, it was the most impressive for me in 2012. Kudos to the engineers who dreamed this one up. It worked like a charm.

Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX, November 16, 2012. Nikon D3s, 550mm, f32, 1/50. © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography

Dreams do come true. I’ve worked since the day I first picked up a camera toward covering F1. My first F1 test in February was a massive step forward….but covering a Grand Prix itself was the culmination of many years of hard work. I can’t thank those that gave me the opportunity enough. Photographically, Circuit of the Americas was a great place to shoot. Though many of the shots were harsh and backlit, I clearly had no issue with that dilemma. This was one of the first images I made during Friday Free Practice 1. It was an adrenaline rush to hear the cars scream out of the pits on the other side of the track and snake their way around this massive circuit and finally come barreling toward me. It was everything I dreamed of.

Circuit fo the Americas, Austin TX, November 16, 2012. Nikon D3s, 800mm, f8, 1/500. © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography

From my first day covering testing in February, I told people that the Ferrari wasn’t the dog that it was made out to be in the press. In the hands of the Spaniard Alonso, it was more than capable of taking the fight to Red Bull. This was one of the few spots on the track that offered a clean head-on and relatively tight shot on the cars. Sadly, the next day, the circuit organizers put grass advertising boards on the right hand side of the photo, ruining this shot from being made again. Fortunately, I made it before they did that. And yes, the circuit is that reflective and slippery.

Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX, November 17, 2012. Nikon D3s, 800mm, f7.1, 1/1000. © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography

The other championship contender was 25 year old Sebastian Vettel. For being the same age as I am, it sure seems like we live in different worlds. Watching him handle the car through the amazingly complex turns 3/4/5/6 was incredible, and he held the DRS open longer than almost anyone. He is perfection to watch in a race car. I love photos like this because it shows the raw energy coming from the car. You can almost hear the V8 engine roaring and exhaling all those heat waves, the tires bouncing over the curbing in that distinct “brrrrrrrup”. Anyone who say’s F1 racing isn’t art doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX, November 18, 2012. Nikon D3s, 500mm, f4, 1/2500. © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography

It looks so serene, doesn’t it? Heikki Kovalainen sitting calmly in his Caterham F1 car….but if only you could hear the  deafening symphony of noises going on in this scene. Heikki is sitting at the edge of pit lane at Circuit of the Americas with a train of at least 10  F1 cars behind him revving engines and preparing for launch practice before the start of the race. Heikki checks the bite point on the clucth. Comes to a halt, revs the engine up and then roars off releasing all 700+ horses from his engine.

Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX, November 18, 2012. Nikon D3, 112mm, f9, 1/125. © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography

This was one tough image to make. Though it may not look it, the cars come at me blind. I am sitting on the ground behind the armco barrier next to several safety marshals. I’m using the sound of the cars screaming at me to tell when I need to start panning the lens from right to left. After several failed attempts, I found the pitch of the car which signaled the moment I needed to star the pan, and only then did I start hitting my marks. The background of packed grandstands was important to the photo, and this is one of my favorites I made during the USGP weekend.

Circuit of the Americas, Austin TX, November 18, 2012. Nikon D3, 130mm, f16, 1/60. © Jamey Price/James Moy Photography

I’m not sure you can grasp how steep this hill is…until you walk it. Legs burning all the way to the top, I felt like I was trekking up Pikes Peak again. Though a dismal Formula One team, HRT had one of the most gorgeous F1 cars in my eye. The shapes, curves, and colors were lovely, and I for one will miss them…..even if they did get in the way of the faster cars.

This was easily the highlight of my year. My assignment was to stand directly in front of the winning car in Parc Ferme after the inaugural USGP race was over. Lewis Hamilton’s stunner of a drive put him at the top of the rostrum, and when he got out of the car, he ran straight at his team….who were surrounding me on all sides. His father to my left, engineer to my right, mechanics on both sides and behind…I couldn’t move if I tried.  So when he came running at all of us, screaming and shouting…I hail mary’d a few photos and amazingly, got an entire sharp sequence – including this one of him celebrating directly in front of me.

Thanks for an Amazing 2012! See you in 2013!

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