PetaPixel

Photos Show a Superbike Narrowly Miss a Photographer, But Crush His Gear

Edwards (right) watches as Dean Mulcahy's super bike crashes into the tire barrier where he was standing just moments before.

Edwards (right) watches as Dean Mulcahy’s super bike crashes into the tire barrier where he was standing just moments before.

As we’ve covered before, motorsport photography can be one of the most difficult types of photography to be proficient in. But not only is it one of the most difficult, it’s also one of the most dangerous, as photographer Az Edwards shared with us recently.

While photographing the first race of the season at Brands Hatch, Edwards had an close call with one of the Thundersport GB motorbikes. A close call that left him unharmed, although his gear was not so fortunate.

As Edwards explained by email:

Dean Mulcahy lost control and fell heavily at Paddock Hill Bend… his bike skipped across the gravel trap and flipped up into the air. I took evasive action and managed to miss his flying bike and debris which ended up landing on the tyre barrier exactly where I had been standing!

One of the last images captured by Edwards before he hightailed it out of the bike's path.

One of the last images captured by Edwards before he hightailed it out of the bike’s path.

“Sadly 2 of my camera’s and lenses weren’t able to back out of the way like me,” he continued. “My Canon 1D2N body fitted with a 24-105mm lens and Canon 1D3 body fitted with 400mm F5.6 lens were sent flying”

A look at the damage done to Edwards' gear.

A look at the damage done to Edwards’ gear.

As you can see from the accompanying images — which were captured by fellow motorsport photographer Jon Bryant — the damage was rather dramatic, both to the bike and Edwards’ gear. But despite how crunched the lenses turned out, Edwards said that the Canon 1-series bodies are supremely resilient: both of the camera bodies are still functioning perfectly despite the thrashing they received.

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A closer look at the damage done to his 400mm f/5.6

Edwards notes that he’s “been doing motorsport photography for around 10 years now, so I’m well aware of the dangers. Incidents like this highlight the importance of paying 100% attention and expecting the unexpected!”

The sequence of images is quite scary if you even attempt to put yourself in the shoes of Edwards. Nothing like a bit of adrenaline to keep you on your toes and shooting like there’s no tomorrow.

Jokes aside, we’re glad Mr. Edwards escaped the incident unharmed, and happy he chose to share these death-defying images with us.


Image credits: Photographs by Az Edwards and Jon Bryant and used with permission


 
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  • Sum_it

    Glad the photographer is safe. I almost wept a little thinking it was the 400mm 2.8 IS II. Glad that’s not the case.

  • silvertank

    Curious of Canon will see this and offer a free replacement.

  • sean lancaster

    That final image he took before impact is out of focus so I don’t think he’s a very good photographer.

  • Irishhighviking

    Great post. Would love to see some behind the scenes from the pros who cover Isle of Man TT or the Baja 1000.

  • Guest

  • SeoulFoodNinja

    Wonder how long it will take for Pentaxians to come out and say their gear would have made it through this…

  • bbandit

    I thought that place looked familiar… then I remembered it’s because I’ve spun my car on Paddock Hill myself haha.

  • DreadPirateZed

    Isn’t this how “Rear Window” started?

  • Ronald Morrison

    He blurred it for dramatic effect!

  • Rexroth

    I love my pentax gear, but I doubt they’d fare any better than that canon..

  • Brett

    the damage to that lense is normal, $240 repair with shipping

  • Truelight

    Gory photos of that destroyed lens! 8-O Better however than similar photos of the photog. And how’d the rider fare?

  • John Lanford

    critics, pffft, you are funny

  • mokleTkcuF

    Framing if the shot is appalling too.

  • lolwtfhaha

    Why? that’s what insurance is for. What a stupid thing to consider.

  • Ian Rama

    I wonder how you would react to a split second event and still capture focused shot.

  • MoNoMadic

    In a motorbike website, everybody is talking about this incident and the damage to the bike.

  • Rob Fords Dealer

    I farted & it burnt my undies!

  • http://www.mynameisnotmatt.com/ matthew d lyons

    I’m glad that Edwards is ok. I hope that he had insurance. I’m curious to now if the rider of the bike is ok, too.

  • Jeremiah

    I agree with Matthew. Who cares about the photo gear, we know the photographer is safe, but is the rider okay? How did society get so far from what matters in life?

  • silly commenter

    LOL

  • some rand

    Obviously if something terrible had happened to the rider, it would have been mentioned somewhere …. “How did society get so far from what matters in life?” Dramatic effect not required.

  • Darren D. Stoner

    Good one.

  • MikeInMI

    I think we all care about people before gear. I think since this is a photography site, they focused on the photographic impact, which is what this site is about. I don’t think it was an intent to minimize concern over the driver.

  • Bruce AlleyCat Evans

    What, there was a rider?

  • aksclix

    of course.. that was not the “case”.. it was the actual lens.. :P

  • Ian

    Moral discussions aside, this post makes me feel a lot better about the $$$ I recently spent on a 1D X. I knew the 1D bodies were tough, but wow.

  • arkhunter

    No worries. That’ll just stick right together with some super glue and duct tape. :)

  • Zack

    I dunno. The pictures on his website look pretty damn good to me. Keyboard crusaders…

  • Kevlar

    Yeah I love how they don’t even mention him after saying that he “fell heavily.”

  • Larry Stauth

    Why weep, the money he was paid for the shots, plus the Insurance money (that would replace at new, minus deductible), are more than enough to compensate what ever lens he used.

    Heck, you can add in free advertisement and world wide exposure to the mix.

  • Larry Stauth

    Yeah, the last one involved him getting the heck out of the way… I would much rather be known as a bad photographer than being known as being dead.

  • Larry Stauth

    Seriously? Yeah, umm… I can assure you, the answer would be No, no they won’t.

    To expect that would be alarming than the fact he almost died.

  • mokleTkcuF

    Some of you guys are detecting the sarcasm here

  • mokleTkcuF

    If his AI Auto focus was set correctly, he could have easily spooled off a few more

  • anthonymeans

    there’s a site for that. go find it.

  • anthonymeans

    nah canon does that now. BMW and mercedes benz too. these companies are tired of money and just want people to be happy.

  • pixeljammer

    +1 for “photographic impact”.

  • 4dmaze

    Wow, that bike looks like it got hit by a cannon…

  • Darth Vader’s Right Hand

    Looks like Darth Vader’s Stump in Return of the Jedi!

  • John’s buttox!

    Eas the “pffft” you typed a fart? So funny that you included it in your comment. Or did you you use speech-to text software.

  • John Lanford

    it was your fart

  • Conspiracy Einstein

    RIP dear friends.

  • Raymond Dunham

    Oh its only Canon gear. I thought “actual” camera gear was destroyed. :-P