To budding and veteran photographers alike: bring bottled water, bring earplugs, and wear comfy clothes! The 2011 Singapore Grand Prix around the Marina Bay circuit offers lots of photo opportunities, but this does need some preparation.
1. The best time to take pictures is on Friday (practice day). There won't be much people yet, and the fewer crowds gives you more space to take photos.
2. Make sure to take photos of the drivers on their parade, on race day itself. This will be your only chance to see their faces!
3. Bring a DSLR! Compact cameras can't catch the action well enough. And a Zoom Lens is a must - you can take photos of performing artists from far away as well. [note: 300mm is the max allowed, but check your ticket to make sure]
4. Practice your panning. Before the F1 practice, qualifying and final race, there will be support races like the Aston Martin Cup, Porsche cup and F3 race. This is the perfect time to practice.
5. Walk-about tickets won't give you perfect vantage points, but at least you have the flexibility to move around. If you're tired, there are plenty of viewing platforms to perch on (see map for exact locations).
6. Go on youtube to watch videos made by spectators first to see if the grandstand/location you have in mind is a good one.
7. Free views? The organisers will do a good job in fencing off the overpasses, etc. but this is a street circuit after all with accessible-to-public areas. You'll be able to catch some live action for free, but note that these areas are usually along a straight road where the cars will whizz past in a flash. Bring a small stool so you can see over the barrier. If you're a hotel guest, you'll be able to watch from the balcony too (though hotels charge up to 30% higher during the GP season).For a balcony view, try the Foodloft food court at the Marina Square Mall, which overlooks Turn 16 and 17. Get there early!
8. Walk on the track yourself - the night before the F1, after the Safety Car track inspection. Prime yourself with photos of you on the track!
Great Walkabout Viewing Platforms:
Some of the viewing platforms can get you closer to the cars than even the grandstands. The bleachers by Turn 1/2, the most expensive grandstands, are excellent, as well as those next to the twisty Turns 11/12.
The spot nearest Turn 7 by the War Memorial Park is also great for photographers, with unnumbered seats that are free for the taking!
You get extremely close to the cars by the pit lane. However, this is a Premier Walkabout Zone so walkabout tickets are still pricey - however, you can 'almost touch' the cars there! You'll also get a view of the Turns 1,2, and 3 if you keep walking.
The Bay Grandstand:
Some photographers are cunning enough to get amazing shots from the Bay Grandstand without a media pass. However, the ideal spot for photos isn't in the middle (yellow seats): it's at the sides, nearest the curve (dark green seats) at rows 1-11.
In the middle, the cars have already accelerated and are on the straight, making it hard to photograph even on panning mode, especially since it's a night race and light source issues may arise. Near the curve, however, you can take 'grid-less' photos sans fence in the foreground while the cars have decelerated from the sharp turn.
One of the most comfortable grandstands and most conveniently located (next to City Hall & Esplanade MRT, many hotels, and air-conditioned Raffles City shopping centre), this grandstand has a large viewing platform next to a sharp turn.
Best Photography Spots around F1 Singapore Circuit