A.J. Foyt: Four Time Winner of the Indy 500

aj foyt B&W

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

I’ve had the privilege of shooting the Indy 500 twenty plus years in a row. I missed a few years, went back and did three more.  I vowed the next one would be the 100th anniversary. Well, I’M NOT DOING IT!  Why? It’s not the priority it used to be. I hope it’s a great, safe race, and hope there’s a new winner. Here are a few snaps of the great A.J. Foyt. The photo of A.J. hitting the linkage was during the third pit stop where his crew could not free the shifting linkage. The sight of A.J. coming down the pits, pulling his seat belt, and helmet off, and jumping out of the car while it was still rolling absolutely horrified me. I don’t think you could do that today, but I love the photograph.

@ Joe DiMaggio

@ Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

The Closest Finish, circa 1982.

Third Greatest Indy 500 Photographs in the last 100 Years

S.I. Indy Third Greatest Photograph in 100 yearsR

© Joe DiMaggio All Rights Reserved

Most photographers spend the majority of their time building their photographic reputation for decades. Occasionally the sun, the moon and the stars are in perfect alignment and a photographer will come up with their definitive photograph that particular day. Like many things in my career, I’ve had some amazing mentors who taught me the ins and outs of a venue like the Indianapolis 500 Raceway- Rex Miller, Jim Arnett, Jim Schweiker, Chuck Robinson, Ron Thompson… to name a few. On this particular day, I was on assignment for Sports Illustrated. I had a game plan, photographing the start from the crow’s nest. At the end of twenty laps, I ran down to turn one where I “accidentally” cut a small hole in the fence (I do not recommend this), shot another thirty laps, then worked my way around to turn three and then into the pits. I started from the last pit and worked up to the first; halfway back the gasoline alley, I climbed the pagoda to shoot the finish. It was the closest finish in the history of the Indianapolis 500 up to 1982. I had a great assistant- Rex Miller’s, son Geoff Miller. A little bit of luck? Lots of practice, lots of preproduction. Know your spot, know your focal length, know your exposure. Don’t freeze, make your photo, get on the learjet and bring it back to New York. This is another short excerpt from my memoirs, not the whole story. To all the ships at sea, great shooting and have a wonderful day. Joe D.

Tragic Loss

©Unknown

©Unknown

IndyCar is now in mourning.  One of the most liked drivers, Justin Wilson, was struck by debris at the Pocono 500 on Sunday.  We as journalists/fans become very complacent in the safety record of the new style automobiles, and then all of the sudden, a tragic loss.  I never met Justin, never photographed him, but had the utmost respect for anyone who gets into an IndyCar.  My prayers go out to his family.

See full article here.

©Unknown

©Unknown

 

 

Oh My God, it’s May!

© Joe DiMaggio

© Joe DiMaggio

To all the ships at sea,

If it’s May, it has to be the Indianapolis 500. This photograph was selected by Sports Illustrated as the third greatest photograph in the last 100 years of the 500. They reproduced it in the centennial issue and on their website. That’s the good news, the bad news is they never asked me. Does the word “copyright” mean anything to anyone? Who said “power to the people”? No, it’s “power to the corporation”, step on all the people. In this society, we all have to play by the same rules. Actually, I think someone wrote that in the Constitution. To my friends; go out and make some great photos. Capture history with a camera. Life is good, life is great. Health and happiness to everybody, even SI.

Indy 500

Hi to All the Ships at Sea,

The tulips are coming up, seems like the snow is almost gone and the Indy cars are starting to run. Remember what I said, one camera, one lens, all the time. Here’s a shot from the old days with one of my assistants. Count the cameras. Thank god for assistants. Would hate to be looking at his MRI today. On a recent Formula One, which in many ways is much more difficult than the Indy 500, I used 2 cameras and 2 lenses. Two Canon 5D Mark III, one 80mm-200  f/2.8 zoom and a second 5D Mark III with grip and 400mm f/5.6 and carrying a 1.4 extender. Gitso Monopod and 6 lexar cards, 8 gigs up to 32 gigs  Simple. Keep it simple. The photograph on the bottom was named by Sports Illustrated as the third best photograph of all time of the last 100 years.

All the Best,

Joe D

You can now follow me on Twitter @dimaggio_photo                                                                                                                                                              © Joe DiMaggio
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Amgen Tour of California

Hi to all the Ships at Sea,

Sandy is quite the writer. With all his experience, imagine he’s only 21 years old. Remember you’re only as young as you feel. Enjoy this article he wrote below. Although my photograph is not from the Amgen Tour of California as he speaks about, it does put my mind in a place of determination.

All the best,

Joe D

Before I start writing on today’s subject, I must apologize for being absent for almost 5 weeks. I took my flu shot as I was supposed to, but I learned when they say the elderly are most susceptible, they are not lying. I’m thankful I took that shot, as it might have been more severe.
Anyway, I am back and excited to write about America’s Premier Road Race… The Amgen Tour of California.
This year, it is a story of grit, determination and desire to move forward in the face of what to others might seem as insurmountable obstacles: the sport stunned by an overwhelming scandal, major sponsors withdrawing support and the fear of public condemnation. Faced with all this, two young ladies Kristen and Kelly marched on. Their leadership and entrepreneurism may prove to bring about the greatest racing competition yet.
For the first 7 years. An estimated 17,500,000 viewers, not to mention the additional millions that have seen it on 5 continents, have viewed the race live on the roads of California, according to the Highway Patrol.
This road statistic is based on 2.5 million people standing by the roadside each and every year. The race, in its first 7 years has ridden through 91 cities, towns and villages. The 2013 race will showcase 13 more host cities for the first time.
As far as California goes, the ATOC has introduced to the world, via TV and Social Media, not only familiar vistas such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood and sensational seascapes, but it has traversed many never-before-seen mountain peaks, vineyards and historical monasteries along the vast expanse of the Golden State that beckons tourists yearly.
As a rule, the race has traveled from North (San Francisco) to South (San Diego County). This year in the interest of diversification and new geological challenges, the race will start on Sunday May 12 in Escondido and 742 miles later on May 19th will end in Santa Rosa.
The international field will consist of 13 of the world’s top teams and almost 150 riders. In stage one, they must climb Mount Palomar, an effort that is compared to the arduous Tour de France’s Alpe d’Huez .
The second stage will see the riders going from the 100 degree heat of the Desert through the San Jacinto mountains and finishing atop the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Parking Lot… one of the toughest climbs anywhere giving the viewers a different look at the resort communities of the Coachella Valley.
Stage 3 starting in Palmdale will follow the route of the Famous Furnace Creek 508 though Santa Clarita.
Stage 4 has been part of earlier Tours. The riders will have an opportunity to enjoy cool ocean breezes after sweltering through the heat of the Desert. Like Stage 3, the Santa Clarita-Santa Barbara is a route used in the past. However, this race it is run in a reverse direction… South to North.
Stage 5 is from Santa Barbara to Avila Beach tracing the route used successful in the 2006 race, but again reversing direction. Avila is a picturesque harbor town with quaint shops and a beautiful Beach.
San Jose, the only city to take part in every edition of the ATOC, will be Stage 6. It will feature an individual time trial with a unique twist at the end… the most difficult sprint finish in the History of the Tour… the 3-kilometer climb up Metcalf Road (from Sea Level to 1000 feet in elevation attacking several pitches of at least a 10% grade.
Stage 7 starts in Livermore and concludes on the Summit of Mount Diablo. The experts predict that it is more than likely; the Tour will be won, or lost on the climb to the Peak.
Once again Stage 8 will capture the beauty of the entire San Francisco Bay Area, the final stage starts in the Marina District and concludes in picturesque Santa Rosa.
The State of California is home to over 30 million cyclists. Professional Cycling should not be damned, or abandoned because of the inconsiderate acts of a few selfish “win at all costs” individuals.
The ATOC stands as beacon for an untarnished, clean competition. Annual, the almost 800 mile event has been an example of what it is to go all out and do your best.
To paraphrase the late Grantland Rice who once wrote, “It’s not who wins, or loses, but how you play the game that counts!” The ATOC symbolizes competition you can trust and is worthy of support.

The Student Becomes the Instructor

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Joe,
     Well, next year it’ll have been 30 years since I loaded film into your Nikons at the 1982 Indy 500.  It was a complete thrill to finally be able to work the other side of the fence after growing up at the track each May tagging along with my Dad.  Of course things have changed a bit since then.  In addition to the digital revolution, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has undergone a major facelift and is a World-class facility.  I started shooting the 500 for Reuters in 1990 and have been back ever since.  Last year, I had the honor of having my college-aged daughter, Ainslie, join the family “business” and become the 4th generation of Millers to pick up a camera at the 500.  Back at the 1982 you captured the memorable image of the Johncock/Mears finish, and who knew that 24 years later in 2006 I’d repeat the feat by capturing the Hornish/Andretti finish that would appear double-trucked in SI as well as the NY Times.
Peace,
Geoff Miller
_________________________________________
Geoff,
     I am so proud of you not only as a photographer but as one hell of a fine human being. There are very few young people that would give up their bed back in the day so we could get to the Indy 500 at 5 A.M. to beat the traffic. And like many of my assistants, you did so much more than just load film into my Nikons. Without your help, that photograph would not have been done. It’s something that I’ve been aware of my whole life. We tend to think we work in isolation. We tend to think how important we are. But the same way that Rick Mears would say “It’s a team effort”, I say the same thing. We worked as a team. Your work is amazing. You deserve everything that you get and some more. And who knows- maybe in the next couple of years, we’ll have an opportunity to work together again. Keep on shooting and remember the first rule of photographing racecars: Never turn your back on one. 
Thanks,
     Joe D.

All photos ©Geoff Miller