Red Bull GRC Action Sports Photography with Garth Milan

Action sports photography has taken me all over the world, and my latest trip was to Sin City, where I spent two days shooting the final round of the 2014 Red Bull GRC series for, you guessed it, Red Bull. The event was just off of the Strip at the Linq Casino and Resort, at the base of the newly constructed High Roller Ferris wheel.

Knowing how tough access is at any auto racing event, I knew I would need some serious glass, so before I packed my bags or even booked my flight, the first thing I did was arrange to “borrow” a Canon 600mm f/4 lens from Whether it’s rally racing, Moto GP, or even the Red Bull Air Race series, I typically always bring a minimum of 500mm of glass to these action-filled racing events.

Patrik Sandell - Action

Joni Wiman - Action

To me, the absolute best part of the service, besides the great selection and customer service, is the fact that they are willing to ship huge lenses and equipment like this straight to my hotel room. This is helpful beyond words, as I always travel with a minimum of four bags, between lighting, computers, clothes, etc., so to arrive at my destination with a huge piece of glass waiting for me like this is beyond revolutionary.

Competitors - Action

Handholding my massive 600mm, I headed out to the event for the first day of shooting. I was immediately thankful to have the 600, as the access was as bad as I expected and then some… but with such a massive lens, shooting directly through fencing is easily possible, opening up a whole new world of angles that would not be possible with much shorter of a lens, thanks mostly to the (overly) constructed, thick fencing surrounding the racecourse.

(L-R) Scott Speed and Bucky Lasek - Action

I began making my way around the track, grabbing shots of the competitors with the gigantic Canon lens, and scouting the best locations for the following day’s Finals. Satisfied with my images from qualifying, I started to think about how I could take even more advantage of the big Canon 600mm lens I was borrowing for tomorrow’s main event. Just then, I looked up and saw the corner of a nearby parking garage. I immediately knew this was going to make for an amazing vantage point of the track that would allow for a very unique view of the racing action, so I did a quick scout and decided I would start my day there for tomorrow’s Finals.

(L-R) Rhys Millen and Ken Block - Action

Sure enough, when I arrived the next day to shoot the Finals, I had the best view in the house from up on top of the adjacent parking garage. The 600mm’s long focal length, combined with the view I had from 16 stories above the track, gave me an awesome angle to capture the slamming and banging that is rally car racing. Once I was satisfied that I had some totally unique shots from the race, I headed back down to the track to shoot other angles. But looking back, the most memorable images came from the bird’s eye view, up on the roof. Thanks to for giving me a new outlook on Red Bull GRC racing!

-Garth Milan 

Follow Garth on Twitter & Instagram – @garthmilan


Scott Roeder is a wedding photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also an avid diver. His specialties include photo booths, videography, and action shooting. Check out his work on his website.

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