April 5th, 2015
I know I promised to get back to finishing the Burney Falls post, and I'm sorry! There were around a thousand or so pictures of the demolition derby, and I've just now finished going through all of them. Anyway, on to this awesome event!
So, demolition derbies. The arena is dirt, moderately mudied to make it safe (limiting top speeds), but also grippy enough to give a good show. There are a number of successive heats, where the best ranked drivers advance. Ranking is determined by number and quality of hits given to opponents (provided the car is still functional at the end of the heat).
The cars are reinforced in a variety of ways, and many of them have been participating in the derby for over ten years. Most of them need to be almost completely rebuilt between the events, though.
From a photographic point of view, this event captures many of the issues I brought up in the post on shutter speed. The distance required my 70-200mm f/4.0. With a f/4.0 maximum aperture, and needing upwards of 1/1000s shutter speeds, high ISO noise became an issue.
Driving backwards to protect their engines, many whip around the outer border, where the dirt is a bit drier. Most are stopped before reaching high speed, but some sneak through and get in powerful hits. Hits to the front of the derby cars can rupture radiators (above) or catch the engine bay ablaze (below). The whole event lasts just over three hours total, and many of those attending finish off the night in the fair's nearby bar. It's a lot of fun, and the crowd gets pretty riled up when the alcohol starts to kick in. I'm sure I'll be back next year.
Anyone been to a demolition derby? Tell your story in the comment section below.
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Hope to see you back next time!