This year marks my fourth year of officially covering Audi Club Northwest’s annual signature event, Quattrofest, as one of the event’s photographer. As with the past three years, Quattrofest was held at Portland International Raceway on the first weekend of November, with a banquet held Saturday night.
Rain almost always makes its presence at Quattrofest in one way or another, be it short stints of outright downpour or near constant rain. On Saturday, it was the latter. Thankfully, I was smart enough to pack up a number of rain protection for myself and for my equipment.
As with last year, I had a set of new equipment that I had to experiment with and learn some things on the fly. New this year is a pair of Nikon D500 bodies, one that I own and one that I rented from LensRentals.com, and rented two new lenses: a Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 and a Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6. I also had my trusty Nikon D800E body and both Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 and Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4 lenses in tow to use as needed.
While the 200-500mm lens provided a great amount of reach when taking photos from some of the flag stations, or from some of the stands, the combination of the relatively small maximum aperture and having to turn the zoom ring 180 degrees to get from 200mm to 500mm (or vice versa) made the lens less than optimal to track fast moving cars coming out of or heading into a turn. Autofocus speed was good when there is a lot of light coming in, but slows down when the clouds hang heavily overhead.
As such, the Sigma 50-100mm and the 70-200mm got used a lot more than the 200-500mm lens and both continue to be brilliant lenses. The only knock I have for the Sigma lens is the lack of a rubber gasket on the bayonet mount that would prevent water from seeping through the connection. I had rain jackets for my camera and lenses to keep them dry anyhow.
Saturday night, the banquet was held at a nearby Red Lion hotel and featured Ross Bentley as a guest speaker; along with, a silent auction and a standard auction to help raise funds for Seattle Children’s Hospital. One of the auction items was a quilt that was created in reflection of the banquet’s theme of remembering one’s first Quattrofest. The quilt included patches created from bits and pieces of past Quattrofest t-shirts.
Another auction item from the night was Audi x Vanmoof D Series bicycle, provided by Audi Wilsonville, with several pieces of Audi cycling gear. The bicycle make a re-appearance on Sunday as part of a little bit of fun on Sunday.
The was a plan to get the winner of the Audi x Vanmoof bicycle to join one of the green run groups during the grid line up and to ride down the track when the green flag was waved.
There was also a Cars and Coffee event held at Quattrofest on Sunday morning, with people putting their cars on display and some having some fun riding along for several lapping sessions. The two cars of note at Cars and Coffee were a 2017 Audi A4 allroad in Gotland Green and a Porsche 911 Turbo S
I spent most of Sunday morning hovering around the paddocks and near turn 12. After dropping into a couple of drivers meetings and session downloads, and grabbing some lunch, I headed over to the inner track to cover the auto-cross portion of the event.
Thankfully, there were only a handful of drizzles on Sunday, which gave me a chance to put the 200-500mm lens into action while capturing some of the auto-cross photos above. Autofocus was a bit more on point, but the long zoom ring throw still made it difficult to go from one end of the zoom range to the other. If I had been a smarter person, I would have had the 70-200mm lens mounted on the other camera instead of the 50-100mm.
At the end of the weekend, I had taken over 6,000 photos and spent the following week weeding out the not-so-great photos and selecting a couple of hundred photos to post. Those photos, along with photos from Chris Mitchell, are available for viewing on Flickr under the “Quattrofest 2016” group.
I want to thank Audi Club Northwest for granting me to be one of the two event photographers and the crew at the track for helping me get to where I needed to go and keeping me out of any potential trouble. I also want to thank Audi Wilsonville for providing me with an Audi Q5 3.0T for the weekend as a photography support vehicle. I made great use of the cargo area for all of my equipment and the rear seats as a mobile office to download photos and backing them up.