My name is Andrew Hall and I’m a Motorsport photographer based in Sydney, Australia. I have been shooting motorsport for nearly 30 years and have been fortunate enough to travel the world covering some of the most iconic motorsport events.
I’ve always been a huge fan of all forms of motorsport and I try to capture the essence of the event as well as the action on track. Be it mechanics working frantically in pit lane to get their driver back into the race or a race car framed by an icon like Mt Panorama at Bathurst. The additional challenge—and one I enjoy—is to create different images from racetracks that I have visited so many times before.
I am obviously fully immersed in the digital age but the length of my career meant that for over 15 years I shot film. Always Fujifilm Stock and preferably Velvia!
I was always a Canon shooter and transitioned into the digital age with the Canon EOS DSLRS in early 2004. Those cameras and lenses served me very well and the long glass such as the Canon 600mm f/4.0 was superb for motorsport.
During my travels around the world chasing fast cars I have the opportunity to explore the cities and towns around the racetracks indulging my appetite for urban/street photography. It was becoming a chore to drag a cumbersome, obtrusive DSLR kit around during these city walks and I began looking for a discrete camera with excellent image quality and in 2011 I found the Fujifilm X100.
This camera singlehandedly reignited my passion for street and urban photography, a cool retro design, amazing image quality and a fixed 23mm lens (35mm equivalent).
I was in my element walking around cities like Paris in the footsteps of my idols like Cartier-Bresson!
As the Fujifilm X Series evolved I began to include the cameras and lenses in my kit to supplement, and in some cases replace, components of my Canon DSLR kit. I loved the image quality, the ergonomics and the lightweight—especially in the pit lane where we have to wear fireproof overalls and helmet!
Improvements in the autofocus system on the Fujifilm X Series camera bodies and an expansion in the range and length of lenses meant that I was able to completely replace my Canon DSLR gear with Fujifilm. I am now shooting 100% Fujifilm X series.
So, what’s in my bag?
The first camera that goes into the bag is the Fujifilm X100T, the third generation of the camera that started me on the Fujifilm path!
I use the new Fujifilm X-T2 with its APS C size 24mp sensor or all my on track action, usually paired with the brilliant Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens which gives me up to 600mm equivalent in 35mm. The EVF(Electronic view finder) is fantastic and allows me to see the impact of running any one of the film simulations in real time, and yes there is a Velvia film simulation paying homage to an old friend! I will never use an optical viewfinder again!
The Fujifilm Xpro2 24mp rangefinder style body is my “Go to” camera for pit lane portraits using the Fujinon 90mm f/2.0 prime lens which is the equivalent of the fabled 135mm f/2.0 that I used back in the days of film!
The Fujinon glass in all the X Series lenses provides superb sharpness and colour rendition. l love the prime lenses and will use them in preference to a zoom lens whenever possible. The Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 is a stunning portrait lens and the wide aperture is great in low light situations in the pit garages. The Fujinon 16mm f/1.4 gives a versatile wide-angle view and is ridiculously sharp even wide open!
There are times that a zoom lens is required and I have no hesitation bolting the Fujinon 16-55mm f/2.8 to any of my X Series bodies, it is fast, sharp and built like a tank!
Then there is the Fujinon XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6. This lens is simply an amazing piece of technology, a massive focal length paired with a 5 stop optical image stabiliser means that not only is it great for on track action but in the pits I can hand hold the lens at very low shutter speeds and get pin sharp images. Coupled with the high ISO quality on the X Series bodies meant that at a recent sportscar race in Mexico City I was able to capture pin sharp driver portrait images in the pit garages at 1/50th @1250 ISO….hand held at 400mm (600mm in 35mm).
Having spent a lot of my early career shooting 50 ISO film on lenses without any type of stabilisers I can appreciate the technology in the digital cameras and lenses even more!
My basic kit for a race week is detailed below which in addition to I carry a laptop, ipad, battery chargers, spare USB cables, card readers, sharpie markers, duct tape, cable ties, leatherman tool, cleaning cloths, sunscreen, antifog wipes, rain covers, LED torch, ear plugs….the list is endless but necessary as a failure of the smallest item can have major consequences!
As I write this I am in the middle of packing to head off for my next adventure, a sportscar race in Japan at a circuit in the shadow of Mount Fuji and yes I know I have a great job!
Follow me on social media to see where I pop up next!
My Race Track kit
Black Rapid Double harness
Lee Filter system
ThinkTank Skin Set Pouch system and belt (not shown)
ThinkTank Airport International Ver 2.0 Roller bag (not shown)