Exposure: Jayson Hay

Motor-sports photographer Jayson Hay takes us through his portfolio of racing and car images on Exposure.

Lexy Savvides
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Lexy Savvides
1 of 18 Jayson Hay

Guardrail scrape

Jayson Hay

(Credit: Jayson Hay)

Photographer: Jayson Hay

Speciality: motor sports, abstract

Biography: Jayson was born in Penola, South Australia and his interest in photography started back in high school with the Pentax K1000. Coming from a disadvantaged background meant that Jayson was unable to buy a camera until he moved to Brisbane and found an old Canon EOS 5000 film camera in a pawn shop. However, due to the ongoing cost of film and development, Jayson had to give up photography and concentrated instead on riding bikes.

After moving back to Adelaide after a bike accident that left him with one kidney, Jayson began web programming and designing. As digital cameras became more affordable, Jayson's love for photography was re-ignited. By chance, he met some motor-sports drivers who sparked his new hobby: motor-sports photography.

Within months, his photographs were being submitted for publication to a local newspaper and since then Jayson has had his work published under a myriad of mastheads in both print and online. Jayson's published work can be seen by clicking here.

More of Jayson's work can be seen on his website, jay019.com.

Equipment: Nikon D90, Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8, Sigma 10-20mm f/4.5, SB600 Speedlights, Cactus V2 Wireless Speedlight Triggers, Hoya HMC CPL filter. Jay uses an Apple iMac and GIMP for post-processing.

Want to ask the photographer a question? Leave your comments and questions below!

Nigel Petrie scrapes the guardrail at the Oz Drift GP at Baskerville Raceway in Tasmania. This was my first trip down to Tasmania and the track was awesome to shoot at. I definitely want to go back at some stage.

Exposure: 1/160, f/3.5, 105mm

2 of 18 Jayson Hay

Wall scrape

David "Shiny" Browne scrapes the wall at Oran Park Raceway during the 2009 Drift Australia competition. Getting wall scrape shots are a buzz, but getting one from behind is awesome as it's much harder than from in front. It's often too difficult to pan around with the car so you have to wait for it to come into frame and hope you can focus in time.

Exposure: 1/160, f/7.1, 200mm

3 of 18 Jayson Hay

Riding rough

An exciting aspect of motor sports is the fact that you never know when something crazy is going to happen, like when Daniel Lahiff lifted a front wheel while dropping both rear tyres into the dirt at the G1 competition at Mallala Motorsport Park. Shooting a sequence of shots often helps; if you see it in the viewfinder then you have probably missed the shot.

Exposure: 1/125, f/8, 200mm

4 of 18 Jayson Hay


Capturing a shot of a team drift is all about timing; you never know when the cars will be in unison. Coming onto the main straight at Mallala is Hayden Buckham, Jake Jones and Simon Michelmore. Using a higher shutter speed would have made for a sharper shot, but as I didn't pan the camera, the motion blur from the last car adds a sense of speed that would have been lost if all cars were crisp.

Exposure: 1/160, f/8, 200mm

5 of 18 Jayson Hay

Smooth at speed

Smooth, creamy motion blur is not the easiest thing to achieve. Using slower shutter speeds opens the door to soft images. But if you don't take the chance then you can't get the difficult shots like this one.

Exposure: 1/25, f/13, 70mm

6 of 18 Jayson Hay


One of the dangers of being a motor-sports photographer is dealing with flying debris from the track. This was taken at Oran Park where the "kitty litter" rocks were the size of 20-cent pieces. Within milliseconds of taking this picture, I spun around and felt a bunch of the rocks hit my back and legs.

Exposure: 1/100, f/8, 200mm

7 of 18 Jayson Hay

On the inside

Getting to shoot on the inside of a track is a challenge, but results in some great shots. This is Jack Callow in his R33 Nissan Skyline, destroying the tyres.

Exposure: 1/125th, f/5.6, 140mm

8 of 18 Jayson Hay

Power skid

As it gets later in the day and the light starts to fade, you have to start using larger apertures, resulting in reduced depth of field. But you can still get some nice shots like this one of the Jaustech R33 Skyline doing a power skid at Mallala in late 2009.

Exposure: 1/125, f/2.8, 105mm

9 of 18 Jayson Hay

Last slides of the day

By the time this photo was taken, everyone had put their cameras away, or started using a flash. I opted to keep going, resulting in a darker-looking photo. The headlights make night shots very challenging as it gets very hard to focus. White balance also gets difficult, which led me to start experimenting with setting the Kelvin temperature value manually.

Exposure: 1/60, f/4, 120mm

10 of 18 Jayson Hay

Skids at dusk

I took this picture on a private roadway. Getting the tail lights through the smoke gave an awesome effect. The reflection of the day's sunset is also a nice touch that thankfully wasn't spoiled by a small burst of flash directed on to the front wheel.

Exposure: 1 second, f/5.6, 50mm

11 of 18 Jayson Hay

Thumbs up

One of my favourite shots from a drift school was this one of an instructor, in a car with a colour that's not usually seen in Australia. Being such a smooth driver helped make this one of the sharper shots I have taken at the track.

Exposure: 1/100, f/9, 200mm

12 of 18 Jayson Hay

Strawberry marshmallow clouds

This was the first time I had ever seen coloured smoke in person. This car was struggling a bit on the day but I was lucky enough to time my shot just right and got a full frame of the coloured smoke, as well as some of the car.

Exposure: 1/320, f/3.5, 200mm

13 of 18 Jayson Hay

Splash downs

A friend took me out for a day of 4x4 action in the South Australian outback. We found a huge mud pit and the boys had a blast playing around in it. I think the challenge was to get the mud spray over the roof of the car. Not an easy task, but it was so much fun trying.

Exposure: 1/250, f/5.6, 105mm

14 of 18 Jayson Hay

Hooking in

I wanted a new challenge so I went to shoot a mountain bike race in the Adelaide Hills. I tried a few techniques but this was one of my favourite pans of a rider on the track.

Exposure: 1/125, f/11, 52mm with on-camera flash

15 of 18 Jayson Hay

Landing: spotted

This photo was shot at the highest shutter speed I have ever used. I captured this rider halfway through a 360 backflip as he was lining up for his landing. Getting shots in focus with the bright background was difficult, but the results are very rewarding.

Exposure: 1/1600, f/5, 18mm

16 of 18 Jayson Hay

The chip is mine

This was my first ever attempt at taking photos of birds. I thought it would be easier than taking pics of moving cars, but it is a lot more difficult than it seems. They move quickly and are pretty unpredictable, unless you have some chips at your disposal.

Exposure: 1/640, f/2.8, 200mm

17 of 18 Jayson Hay


This shot appealed to me in a number of ways. I love the unison of the two birds in flight and the moody scene with the silhouetted birds. It took a few tries to get the look right.

Exposure: 1/4000, f/2.8, 160mm

18 of 18 Jayson Hay

Colour down the drain

After a friend introduced me to urban exploration I discovered a drain near my house. It wasn't long before I had some ideas of what I could do there. A few coloured LED lights, a pram wheel, tripod and a bit of time all resulted in some interesting photos.

Exposure: 53 seconds, f/10, 10mm

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