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Close-Up Photography With An F1 Car At 100MPH

Photographer Richard Cooke shares his stories on playing chicken with Rene Arnoux's F1 car, working with Elio de Angelis and more tales from his interesting career.

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Richard Cooke had a rather exciting photography career and he's actually set-up a YouTube channel where he's sharing interesting tales from his past and giving a few insights into how he captured some of his shots.

In his most recent video, Richard describes how he was strapped into a car so he could hang out of the window to capture images of Rene Arnoux driving around the Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France back in 1981. Rene was in his F1 car and didn't realise Richard was strapped in so presumed he was about to fall out onto the track in front of him, resulting in smoke and locked wheels. Once Rene realised he wasn't going to topple onto the track, he started to get closer to the car Richard was in until eventually, Richard's arm was actually touching a tyre! 

"My arm was getting a little hot," laughed Richard. "He pushed me back into the car and, anyway, it got ridiculous as I wasn't getting the right sort of pictures as he was far too close so I signalled him to back off and I did manage to capture some sensible pictures." 

While playing chicken with Rene Arnoux, Richard used the Nikon F3 with a 24mm lens and a polarising filter. Kodachrome 64 was the film of choice and this was the same set-up he chose to use for the shoot with Elio de Angelis a few years later in the same location. 

"Elio de Angelis was a real gentleman and a delight to work with," says Richard in the comments section of his video.

You'll also hear Richard talk about setting rigs up on the back of cars to capture, what are now, rather common shots of race cars (our very own MattB1987 has an awesome collection of track photos) but at the time, it was a rather innovative thing. 

As well as F1 cars, Richard has videos discussing his experiences shooting with the Red Arrows and his first air-to-air shoot which are worth checking out. 

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