Man Nearly Earns a Darwin Award Trying to Capture the Perfect Racing Photo

Photographers sometimes put themselves in harms way in order to capture the perfect shot, but there’s a fine line between taking calculated risks and foolishly putting your life in danger. This 16-second-long video clip shows a guy doing the latter, nearly earning himself a Darwin Award while trying to photograph drifting cars at the Karpacz 2012 races in Poland.

Here’s a photo showing what the man looked like from the driver’s point of view (thanks Emils!):

Although the photographer got a bit too close for our comfort, it wasn’t complete recklessness. Do a search for some tips on shooting auto racing, and you’ll find that the inside of sharp corners is actually a relatively safe place to set up for a shot. Unless something goes terribly wrong, physics should keep the drifting car from crashing into the inside of a corner. It’s the outside of a sharp corner that can be extremely dangerous. In any case, you probably shouldn’t do what this guy did.

  • steve-o

    atleast he had a compact camera.. so he surely missed the moment..

    “better do it again”

  • Hell’s Donut House

    “Probably” shouldn’t? Definitiely, absolutely shouldn’t. He’s in a position where he’s not expected, potentially causing a driver to panic — “Crap! There’s a pedestrian in the road, wasn’t expecting that!” — and overcompensate, putting many more in danger than just his own idiotic self. I don’t even want to think of the implications for everyone around him (as well as the next cars approaching) had he actually been hit.

  • Mirko Mark

    “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”
    Robert Capa, died on May 25, 1954 at the age of 40

  • Jeremy

    I want to see his pictures.

  • Zak Henry

    Do you work for CSI or something? I seriously can’t tell that he is using a compact camera.

  • Neoracer Xox

    Wheres the picture he took???

  • Matt

    Tripod, cable release. Far cheaper than a hospital visit, likely less expensive than new clean pants.

  • Alex JB

    “wasn’t complete recklessness” ? What? It was reckless endangerment of himself and others. The car passed inches away from him.

    Scenario 1 – he miscalculates his position gets clipped, leaving him lying on the track with more cars coming. Scenario 2 – the driver sees a *human* on the track, and reacts even a little bit the wrong way, and sends his own car into a spin or a flip or goodness knows what else, harming the driver, other drivers and/or other observers.
    Either way, he’s not just putting his own stupid ass on the line.

  • Rob Hruska

    “There’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” – David St. Hubbins

  • Knur

    Polak :)

  • sam

    why did he stand there…..
    drifters always wanted to clip the apex
    and he is standing there…

  • James Holroyd

    That reminds me of what it took to get one of my favorite vintage snowmobile racing shots. F/8 and be there… in harm’s way, with an 8mm (on DX) fisheye…prefocus, hold the camera out as far as you can, hope nobody gets too much traction, and pull your arms in just before the sled goes by:

    However, squatting, with no ability to move out of the way of a car… that strikes me as a little reckless.

  • eric westpheling

    he did seem to have nerves of steel…and maybe clean pants afterwards. That said I’d go for the wireless remote in one hand, and a beer in the other, 20 feet behind the barrier.

  • Albi Kl

    If you watch closely the real time footage (not the slo-mo) the driver actually compensates when he sees the man. The vehicle’s weight shifts slightly to the back when its about two metres away from him. The man also moves his elbow away from the car as it passes.

    Also as Michael says in the article this isn’t as dangerous as it looks if you’re familiar with drifting. Though it may have been more prudent to stay entirely off the road and lean in as necassary.

  • Hell’s Donut House

    If the driver was forced to compensate for the photographer, then the shooter was doing a lousy job.

  • Jordan

    Having read a comment from the driver of that car, Pawel Trela, the “photographer” was being reckless, the driver had to use the hadnbrake to extend his line to avoid him. Stupid, stupid place to be. But at Polish events they have next to zero health and safety.

  • bayek

    I hope he remebered to take off his lens cap.

  • Humanrightsnotgunrights

    This “guy with a camera” has nothing in common with the likes of Robert Capa. Nothing.
    He’s not a photographer-just a fan (fanatic) in the wrong place at the wrong time who some how managed to not get killed or cause the death of some one else.

  • Michael

    The audience at group B Rallye Racing in the mid-80s was even worse.

  • JP Zajackowski

    “Ale blisko było!”
    Yea! You think?! Even the other Polish spectators think this guy is an idiot!

  • Jackson Cheese

    Lens cap was on!