Hockenheim is always an interesting place to take pictures of Formula 1 cars because there are two distinct parts of the circuit.
There is the stadium section which has always been there, and is a must place to go. You can take nice pictures here even when it is empty - because you can use the lines of the different coloured seats as a backdrop.
Then on race day the whole place comes alive with German flags - which I am sure it will be with Michael Schumacher back and Sebastian Vettel in contention for the title.
There is also the non-stadium bit, which now is a little bit blander and more a modern style of circuit. It's still okay - as the hairpin is an interesting place to take pictures at and Turn 2 can be quite interesting with the drop down there and the kerbs making a nice S-shape.
Where to take classic shots from
Hockenheim changed a lot when they made the shorter track. It used to be such a magical place and it was one of those unique ones - where you didn't realise how unique it was until it had gone.
My memories of Hockenheim are always of absolutely boiling hot sunny days. We used to get a bus out to the far side of the circuit about 40 minutes before the first session.
You would be there early, sitting in the woods and waiting until you heard the cars coming. You would then hear them coming into the first chicane, screaming in sixth or seventh gear into the second chicane, and through all the shadows that the trees created. It really was great for pictures - the green of the trees, the blue skies and the black shadows. It made for very evocative pictures.
It is a shame that we don't have that any more, but there are still some good opportunities for pictures outside of the stadium section.
The first corner is the same as it has always been, and that is always very exciting. It is quite a narrow circuit and they get squeezed through there, plus it is quite a quick corner for a first turn, so we've had our fair share of spills there over the years.
The hairpin is also great for race action as the cars bunch up there - so it does what it was supposed to do.
This shot of Jenson Button was taken coming out of the Sachs Kurve on the quick left right section before the last corner. It is a very messy picture to try and get, but if you go slow with the shutter speed then you can get some quite nice colours.
I like the way the Vodafone red is being picked up with a motorhome in the background, and a bit of the pits as well. Even on a grey horrible day you can still get nice pictures, and the good thing about the stadium section is that it is always quite colourful.
My favourite shot from today
This one was taken in first free practice - and shows that there can be some good things for pictures when the weather is bad. If the light is bad then the drivers tend to use their clear visors, so you can get some good shots of the drivers' faces.
Here, Sebastian Vettel has just popped his visor down and he is just about to pull out of the garage. I had an off-camera flash on it to pick up on his face from the side, and you can see the concentration on his eyes.
It works because it is quite a simple picture, with the car, his helmet and the red light in the background bouncing off the backdrop.
If the day had been bright sunshine, then Sebastian would be wearing a dark visor, you wouldn't see his face and the picture would not work as well.
It is about maximising opportunities given to you by the conditions.
My favourite shot from Hockenheim
This is probably my most famous photograph. This was from the Jos Verstappen pit fire in 1994 - back in the days when we had the long circuit.
I was working with Benetton at the time and there was not much happening in the race so I thought I would go to the pits and see if I could get one of the refuelling stops.
I got there, the guys were getting ready for the pit stop in time and I shot Verstappen's pitstop. I did notice a bit of fuel spill and just as I was beginning to zoom in on that - the whole thing erupted.
This was in the days of actual film - so my finger was on the motor drive and the auto-focus back button. All I could see was an orange fireball before I retreated quite quickly back into the garage to get out of the way and then try and help put out some of the flames.
I went back to London on the Monday, with the film having got processed on Sunday night. I went into the office to look at them on the lightbox, but I wasn't really expecting to see anything except for a great big orange fireball.
There were half a dozen images and in three of them you could really see what was going on. This one was absolutely pin sharp.
Those days of waiting to see shots are gone now, as these days you would have instantly seen it on the back of your camera. The anticipation of seeing it for the first time on the lightbox was amazing.
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