Saturday at TMS: Photographer's point of view

How do I describe Saturdays at TMS? Hectic? Fun? Tiring? Trying? Enjoyable? I guess it is a bit of all of the above. I am more tired now than I can remember being in a long time. With the IROC event last night, I did not get to sleep until after...

How do I describe Saturdays at TMS? Hectic? Fun? Tiring? Trying? Enjoyable? I guess it is a bit of all of the above.

I am more tired now than I can remember being in a long time. With the IROC event last night, I did not get to sleep until after midnight. Then up again at 7 to start again today. Not a complaint really, just trying to let you know what this is like.

For example, after an event is over, my work is just beginning. Since I shoot digital, I have to download the pictures to my PC, throw out the junk pictures (lots of them), decide which ones I think are interesting enough to send to the motorsport.com web site, process the pictures with Adobe Photoshop, write text describing each picture, then upload all of it the motorsport.com website where the editors take their turns with them. Oh, did I mention I do all of this from my car?

That's right. TMS offers us free wireless access to the Internet. This allows me to sit in my car and do all of the above. Now that may sound cool to all you techno-geeks but it is not as fun as it sounds. It's like sitting in your car for two hours but you have not gone anywhere. It is still better than the alternative. TMS is such a popular destination for the drivers that media types come out of the woodwork to report on the event. This is great for TMS and the sport but hard on those of us that used to be able to work in the deadline room.

In an effort to stay current, TMS has created a digital photo processing room in the media center. You can either work wireless or plug into the high-speed hubs around the room. The concept is great and I applaud TMS for putting it in. However, it is advertised as a shared room. That is kind of hard to tell if you try to go in there.

But, like I said, it did not affect me until today. Today, my wireless card decided to not work! So I did all the processing in my car, then walked back into the media center and uploaded my pictures after everyone had left.

Which brings me to another piece of wonder. I am pretty good with computers but I cannot figure out how all these other people seem to get finished before I do!! I don't know if they go to their hotels and work or what! Maybe they don't upload as many items as I do. I think I will stick to that rationalization. Heck, tonight the media staff at TMS told me to lock up on my way out!

And now for something completely different. When you are here, you hear more than you probably want to hear. It is really exciting because you feel like you are on the inside or part of the sport. Truth is, for fans like me, I just overhear what others who do this full time are saying. No, I am not eavesdropping. People are not attempting to be secretive. They are just not talking directly to me.

My clearest recollection so far this weekend of something I overheard was really great. I overheard a driver's wife talking about how she and her husband were doing yard work the other day. She loved it. I loved it also. Helps me to remember these guys are people like us in many ways. Their lives are not all glamour.

The greatest fun you can have at one of these weekends is with a radio scanner. You hear more on the scanner than you can imagine. Get one. The drivers and crew chiefs get caught up in the passion and let it all hang out. It is interesting but not always PG-rated! It is also interesting to listen to NASCAR - at least the channels they want us to know about. They are always calm and always in control.

The other channels I like most of the time are the track crew channel, including the ambulance channels. When I am working a race, it is how I find out the condition of the drivers in an incident. The news is almost always okay.

Time for me to head to my bunk. Tomorrow is the big day. The really big day. There will be people coming out of the woodwork tomorrow. It should be fun.

Editor's Note: James Spires is one of Motorsport.com's contributing photographers. Mr. Spires thought it would be fun to give our readers an inside look of what it is like to be a member of the press at an event.

Friday at TMS

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Series NASCAR