Behind the Scenes – Colin Casserley

Over the course of the season F1 Stockcars.com hopes to talk to those people behind the scenes that make the show happen. The unsung, under-appreciated, under-valued heroes of our sport. Without these guys we would not have any racing to watch at the race tracks.

The views and opinions in these interviews are of the individual and may not be those of the Promoting body, the Governing body or any other organisation involved with Oval Racing.

Colin Casserley.. Photo Paul Tully

Name: Colin Casserley

Role at Race Track: Photographer and reporter

Give us a brief description of what this involves? Trying to capture the thrill and excitement of stock car racing on camera, and then trying to promote it by supplying publications with photos and columns.

How long have you been doing this? Too long!

How did you become involved in doing this? After retiring from racing, and then taking my nephews to some meetings kind of drifted into it as a way of keeping involved with the sport.

What’s the hardest part of this job / role? Trying to get different angles and photos. There are a limited amount of shots you can get, trying to get different and interesting ones is a problem.

What was the first camera you ever used at a race track? Kodak Instamatic, first photo I took was around 1968, it was of Dennis Driscoll (274) in the pits at Brafield. He was waiting to go out for the consolation but I took so long to take it they nearly locked him out!

How many camera’s would you say you have owed over the years? Not sure, around 15. Dirt and dust is a problem and have ruined at least 6 cameras in the last 8 years. Working things out it would have been cheaper to buy a car and race it!

Out of those, do you have a favourite? and why. The current Nikon DH2
that I am using is probably my favourite

Photography has changed massively over the years from film to digital, back in the day how many film photos would you take at a typical meeting compared to now on digital? Film was expensive to buy and develop and the relative cheapness of Digital has changed thing dramatically. I would use approx two 36 exposure films but maybe three or four for a major meeting. With digital I take around 400 shots a meeting.

How did you develop photo’s back in the day? Did you have your own
dark room? Nope, had a good deal with the local shop, but didn’t have
the time or know-how to develop my own.

Do you remember what was your first photo used in a publication (Do
you have that photo / publication)? Can’t remember what the first one
was, my memory ain’t what it used to be, and it was bad back then too!

When I have attempted to take racing photo’s – on a modern digital camera – I find that I capture more ‘half the car’ in frame, than fully centred. When you were photographing using film on average how many ‘wasted’ shots would you get to ‘perfect’ photo prints per-meeting? None, always get the car in the middle of the frame! but really, most single car pics are in the middle, but action shots can sometimes be off centre. But was told by leading American photographer Randy Jones that even if the car is off centre, it’s the job of the magazine art editor to make it look good!

What equipment do you currently use? I have 2 Nikon DH2, 2 flash guns and around 6 lens that I use depending on the track and light.

How has doing this job / role changed how you now view racing? In days of old when film and processing was expensive fans used to buy photos of new cars etc, but in the digital age everyone has a camera so sales of photos are nowhere near what they used to be.

From doing your job at the race track, what frustrates you the most from common misinformation / missing knowledge from the every day race fan? A lot of people think me and the other photographers do it for a living and make a few bob out of it, but in reality it cost far more in equipment that we could ever recoup. We all do it because we love the sport and like to see it flourish. And it makes a change from our regular day jobs! The sport has some excellent publications for the size of it, the magazines and programmes are far better than most sports. I like to think that in a small way we help the sport gain exposure and publicity as well as keeping up the high standard of it’s publications.

Do you still enjoy watching racing when you’re not involved with your chosen role / job? I am still a race fan at heart.

What do you think could be done to make BriSCA F1 better? Difficult, what we would like to change given unlimited funds, time and regulations are different than can be achieved in the real world. I think as long as everyone strives to make things better with the resources available then that is all we can hope for. We should always be looking at other sports/entertainment for ideas on how to make the sport better.

How would you describe BriSCA F1 Stock Car racing in 2 sentences? The toughest Motorsport in the world!

Do you remember the first F1 meeting you attended as a fan? Where, When and memories of. Was Brafield back in the mid 1960s, was only 5 so don’t remember too much about it. Earliest memories probably watching Ellis Ford (3) because his car had Mr Horsepower decal.

What / who’s had the best F1 Stock Car or Cars in your opinion and do you have a favourite photo of ? Doug Cronshaw, he had a few cars that I thought were the best ever built.

A selection of Colin’s favourite photos he has taken

Always good to get an action shot, This was probably my favourite  from 2012. I think between the two cars there is only one wheel on the  track.

Always good to get an action shot, This was probably my favourite
from 2012. I think between the two cars there is only one wheel on the
track.

One of those photos I just like. two legends of the sport racing  hard.

One of those photos I just like. two legends of the sport racing
hard.

Blauwhuis from around 10 years ago, the tail end of Dutch cars  having an different look, which is something that I liked and made me  look forward to visits over there

Blauwhuis from around 10 years ago, the tail end of Dutch cars
having an different look, which is something that I liked and made me
look forward to visits over there

Luckily the tyre smoke doesn't completely cover the car, so you  can still make out it is FWJ

Luckily the tyre smoke doesn’t completely cover the car, so you
can still make out it is FWJ

Type of action that made trips to Holland a lot of fun, two cars  upside down in separate incidents!

Type of action that made trips to Holland a lot of fun, two cars
upside down in separate incidents!

When I see photos like this I am glad I am no longer racing. Dave  Willis at Coventry

When I see photos like this I am glad I am no longer racing. Dave
Willis at Coventry

Got lucky with this one, heard some tyres screeching, turned  around and clicked. came out ok!

Got lucky with this one, heard some tyres screeching, turned
around and clicked. came out ok!

Sprint cars in USA give the opportunity for some good action  shots. It does take a while to get used to the speed of the cars but  when you get it right it is worth while.

Sprint cars in USA give the opportunity for some good action
shots. It does take a while to get used to the speed of the cars but
when you get it right it is worth while.

Getting different shots is not easy, I like this angle which is  different the the normal shots and the background has a lot going on to  look at as well as the featured car.

Getting different shots is not easy, I like this angle which is
different the the normal shots and the background has a lot going on to
look at as well as the featured car.

Sometimes you can see what is going to happen and be ready for it,  as was the case in this shot from Skegness

Sometimes you can see what is going to happen and be ready for it,
as was the case in this shot from Skegness

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