Q & A

(Q) Do you drag race?

(A) I'm not an active drag racer but yes I have made some passes. Running a 1/4 mile my  best time was 11.364 seconds and highest speed achieved was 127.49mph at Orlando Speedworld Dragway. 2007 GSX1300R in 2018

(Q) Try and Keep Up ... where did that come from?

(A) I was at Galot Motorsports Park Man Cup and couple years ago and was doing my normal JT non-stop running around thing like I do. Now keep in mind I do not use a scooter or pit bike, I walk the entire time I'm at an event no matter how big it is.

Brandi from Dragbike.com needed some information from me so I went up to the tower. Now Hot Rod Chrissy and Kenneth Charlton who are by the way two outstanding racing photographers were taking a AC break.

I was back from tech that was at the top end of the track after being in the staging lanes just before that with a racer that I was photographing for a post. Now these two must have seen me between these trips because Kenneth commented.

"When do you stop it's 900 degrees out there and your all over the place?"

Hot Rod Chrissy chimed in but I'll note here that at the time I had known her longer so she was use to me. She  just shook her head and made the comment "I have no idea how he does it so don't even try and keep up!"...that is where it started.Try & Keep UP!


(Q) Why are you not affiliated with an event or series?

(A) Well in a nut shell none have ever asked me but being affiliated with companies or teams instead gives me a greater flexibly to move from series to series without any problems.  I'm not saying I would not become part of a program. it just has not gone that way yet.

(Q) Are you  a photographer or reporter ?

(A) both I guess ... I'm doing what I can for the sport with anything I can come up with. I love the sport and people so it's a bit different with me because I promote events by trying to use the people participating. I respect the sport and everyone evolved and behave myself both on and off the track because it would reflect badly on my name and on them. I don't take sides because I'm there to help the sport. The racers also know that "What is said between us stays between us" and that sometimes goes against the traditional media approach others employ. I always ask them directly at times "Do you want this public?" if they say no then I'll take it to my grave if need be. I love finding stories and there are a ton of them at the races.

(Q) How many images do you take ?

(A) Since I'm there for content more than just a photograph it can vary. For the photography aspect on a two day event where I'm expected to cover everything 2 to 3,000. If I'm asked for specific team content only of a client then a few hundred over two days. With the exception of NHRA events {they have stricter media rules} I will do video, live feeds and interviews as well so that can impact how many photos I get. The most images issued to an event client was in 2016 6231 images for 4 days.

specific team coverage : Man Cup 11-2018 client #1  got 456 and client #2 got 202

(Q) Have people ever given you a hard time about some of your cartoons?

(A) Yes I have gotten all kinds of negative feedback and even some death threats but 95% of the time it is positive feedback.

 (Q) How many cartoons do you have or have done?

(A) I literally have thousands because I got serious about drawing something every day a few years ago. I draw at least one every day but for 2 years I was doing three a day.

 (Q) What camera / equipment do you use?

(A)Sony A7iii, Canon XA25, Beholder MS-Pro, Smooth 4 gimball, Nikon D850, d750, 1 Nikon 3400, 1 T&i (outdoor "beater cameras" I use when kayaking or hiking for fun and not getting paid), iPad pro, iPhone 8s+ and 6s+, 2 Go Pro hero 7,  I have other items to help the recording experience for viewers like mic, tripods, lights for interviews etc. I have used most types cameras over the years and my current ones were purchased for its abilities for what I do. Lens vary based on where I will be and the scope of work requested. Events rules have influence over what I can do like with NHRA events where I'm limited a bit more. Their sponsors have put up a lot of money, so in my opinion these limitations are a good thing because they need to protect their investment.

(Q) Have you ever had issues with other photographers?

A) Yes a few do not like me or what I do because my motivation is not money. They use to blame me when they can’t sell images, one even said that I was the reason he was getting out of it back in 2016. I've had a few other comments over the years but I’m not doing this for them. It has never been my intention to affect them but if you're only doing a few events a year you're not going to be making any money anyhow.

It is rare now days because most of them know me and know what I'm doing. I will refer people to them (track photographers first) and make sure they can get the chance to sell their shots. They have been a lot more understanding in 2017 and 2018 and now see that I do make sure people come to them first. There are some shots they just will not have because of the way I work.

(Q) What is up with Dragbike.com?

(A) They are a supporter of mine and what I'm doing (they are not an employer) If their stamp appears on an image that means I'm given them credit for helping me get to the event where the image was taken. If "Joe Smith" Media is the reason I get to an event then they will get credit and access to content. Unless they want to remain a silent partner which happens from time to time.

(Q) What has been your biggest struggle?

(A) Not having someone at my side that can help with what I do without judgment or assumptions. I have to handle a lot and want it done a certain way but it can get tough at times. I don't mind new ideas or help but I will do things even when there is no monetary gain and that has caused problems in the past.

(Q) Why focus so much on it at an older age why did you start so late in life doing this?

(A) I'm not getting any younger and after my divorce I made sure my responsibilities to them were met. My boys can look at their father and be able say “He tried to do it but we came first.” I can tell you there are many 1/2 my age that have a hard time keeping up because I'm always looking for a shot or something I can create something from. #tryandkeepup #jtnortoncom

(Q) Why do you use JT and how did that come about?

(A) My friend "Scapp" got me into this and wanted to put something on his motorcycle and asked if I had a logo. I did not have one at the time so he came up with JT Norton.com with photography under it.

The shortening to JT came from a race here in Orlando. We had some really loud cars going down the track and a lady asked me my name for some JR drag racer pictures. I said JACK a couple times but she couldn't make what I was saying. I looked over at Scapp’s motorcycle and saw JT so I said "JT" and that she heard so it communicates better on the track.

(Q) How many events do you do?

(A) As many I can... 17 events in six states in 2017 / 11 in 2018 / I have 22 schedule for 2019 (as of 1-24-2019)

(Q) Has any of your relationships come from racing?

(A) NO I'm not there for that.

(Q) Isn't all this dangerous?

(A) It can be but if you follow the track safety rules and be mindful of your surroundings it's pretty safe. There is always risk around these extremely powerful machines but "it is what it is." Respect the safely rules, event, track and racers and you'll be fine.