Chilly Chili Bowl

Tulsa Driller

I’m going to tell on myself…nothing bad…at worst, just stupid. I found occasion on this particular weekend to laugh at myself, and I guess, if you can’t laugh at yourself, then it can be more ego bruising when others might laugh at you…

Not unlike when you decide to ride the empty grocery store cart to the cart rack and your weight causes the cart to flip over backwards and you land  face-down on the asphalt…hands still on the cart handle…

Not that that has ever happened…

(But I certainly wish someone had been video-taping…we might have been a YouTube sensation…)


Chili Bowl weekend.  It was the 25th annual running on a 1/4 mile dirt indoor track (1/4 mile is the same as the track that runs around your local high school football field).  I had 9 cars to try to ‘capture’.

First lesson: On turn 3, between the on and off ramps leading to the track, there seemed to be a fairly open area so I started shooting from there.

The white spots in this image are not dust spots on the camera sensor. They are small mud projectiles that my flash illuminated…just before they turned me into a negative image of a spit-wad laden blackboard on substitute teacher day.
Had I turned around sooner and taken notice of this….


I might have had some inkling of what was coming my way…and why this particular vantage point was not already heavily populated with the standard race photographers…!!!

After deciding that the infield was indeed the spot to be, I realized that with the low (as far as cameras are concerned) lighting I would certainly need a supplemental flash unit. I pulled the old SB-26 from my bag and knowing it was powered by recently recharged batteries, I hit the red button…

Nothing happened.!

I dumped those batteries and replaced them with some also recently re-charged batteries…hit the button…


I went through two other sets of dry cells with the same results when I gave up and said to myself that the ‘on-camera’ flash on my Nikon D200 was pretty good and would have to do.

These races, or ‘heats’ are fairly short so there is plenty of time to regroup, but it took at least another hour before I realized that the ‘red’ button on the flash unit actually did nothing until the ‘on/off’ switch was pushed to the ON position….!!!!

Now, I internally have great pride in not being a total ‘doofus’, and I have owned, and used,  this flash unit for…oh…probably 15 years, so it was all I could do to hold onto a certain sense of decorum and not broadcast my relief at recognizing and overcoming my idiocy….or at least a portion thereof…


One scene I couldn’t resist while wandering the pit area was this little guy helping with his dad’s car…



Now the ‘chilly’ part…

If you saw the post then you’ll know that I was taken aback by the Oklahoma scenery that I witnessed, and this weekend I was blind-sided by the OK weather.  Upon leaving the races, a ‘brisk’ 19 degree Plains ‘breeze’ sent icy needles into my face and my rented car had  a quarter of an inch thick  sheet of  ice on the windshield. After starting the car, I dug through the glove box and console and found nothing but an empty Eclipse gum container.  I scraped and scraped…no gloves… I mean, I’m in Oklahoma for cryin’ out loud…

End of story…

When I turned the car in at the airport the next morning, while searching for elusive hot dog receipts, I found an ice scraper in the driver’s side door pocket…

“Smile at the silly man who’s laughing at himself….and quickly walk away!!!”

Ok…to photography….

This is what happens after several hours of indoor dirt track auto racing….Dust, exhaust fumes…etc.  After a while, the flash unit is a detriment because all it is lighting is the air between you and the cars.


So, my advice is “Shoot Early. Occasionally step out for some fresh air, and don’t forget to add “Camera Cleaning” to your expense estimate!!!!


~ by rkpowers on January 27, 2013.

4 Responses to “Chilly Chili Bowl”

  1. 🙂 I too have had days like this!


  2. Lets see if we don’t try and start we never get better keep on clicking and shootin !


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