The Best Photos of 2016: John Cote

Published On December 29, 2016 » 4281 Views» By admin » Blogs, IMS, Indy 500, Photography

We’re looking back on 2016 through the lenses of IMS photographers. Today, Chris Owens shares his favorites.

MORE BEST OF 2016: Shawn Gritzmacher | Chris Jones | Chris Owens


As a photographer for IMS, the photography season begins well before the racing season. Photography for the 100th Running began for me in 2015 with some marketing shots of the specially decorated 100th Running Indy car. We shot the car in multiple poses on both black and white backgrounds in the INDYCAR studio. In the end, only white background shots were used because of the design standard. In the white background shot at the top, you can see the original photo combined with the standard graphic. These shots were used for a lot of things including graphics on the side of the JW Marriott hotel in Downtown Indy. My personal favorite shot, even though it did not get used, was the black background shot above with the glow under the car.


Every year before the start of the racing season we shoot driver portraits and marketing shots. My favorite from the 2016 shoot was this shot of Graham Rahal posing with two of the beautiful Firestone IndyCar tires.


Carb Day is always one of my favorite photography days at IMS and the main concert is always one of my favorite events. This year’s band, Journey, offered a great photo op with a beautiful stage and a lot of drama in their performance. I love this shot because it shows some of the action and both the Carb Day and Journey graphics.


I have photographed what is called the “high start” shot for several years. Prior to this year, the stands in Turn 1 where the shot is always taken were completely rebuilt. When they rebuilt the roof of the stands, no provision was made for a photographer to be on the roof to take the high start picture. So, this year’s photo was taken from a platform hung under the second tier of the same stand. The perspective is different from past years, but I love the shot because I think it really shows how full the stands were and what a beautiful scene it was at the start of the 100th Running.


Victory Circle is always a high point of every Race Day. For the 100th Running it was made more exciting by the surprise winner. I think the most important Victory Circle shot usually shows the milk being dumped on the head of the winning driver, who is wearing the wreath around his neck. It is great if this shot shows not only the emotion of the day but the personality of the winner. I think this shot shows it all. The milk is pouring, the veteran team owners are ecstatic, the winner is very happy but also a bit overwhelmed.


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