They sometimes look like combat photographers, camera equipment strapped over their safari jackets, faces red with sweat or wet with rain, hands dirty from slicing through the bushes. Although none would seriously compare their work with that of going to war, there are dangers and stories of brushes with death - either their own or that of the men they photograph.
They are the Formula 1 photographers, serving the media, teams and businesses at the pinnacle of world motor sport. As it is the fastest, richest and most complete series, Formula 1 is more demanding than any other series for a photographer.
While the role of the photographer is to seize the moment and enshrine it for all time, some of the photographers lift their work into the realm of art, with photographs often shown in exhibitions.
Monza, which is in a royal garden in a suburb of Milan, has always been a favorite place for photographers and also one that honors what they do.
Darren Heath, a British photographer who has worked in the series for more than two decades, received an award for the best photo illustrating Monza in an annual competition awarded by Amici di Pepi Cereda, an organization that honors a racing journalist who died in 2001.
Heath's winning photo depicts Michael Schumacher on the victory podium at Monza in 2006, raising his arms Christ-like above the throngs of Italian fans celebrating below. It was the last time Ferrari won its home race.
''It's a challenge to try and show the speed, the color, the passion, the glamour, the beautiful design of the cars,'' said Heath, 41. ''So much of it is not seen by the people watching the TV or reading the newspaper on Monday morning.''
Indeed, Formula 1 is about more than the cars. As a training ground for any sports photographer, it is difficult to beat, said Steven Tee, the managing director of the LAT Photo Agency. LAT is one of the biggest motor racing photo agencies in the world, with 30 staff members, and it sends seven photographers and a technician to each Formula One race.
''If you're trained to shoot Formula 1, you can pretty much go and do any other sport because it's got every element to it - you've got speed, you've got people, you've got the commercial side, dealing with important people, big projects with big budgets,'' said Tee, who is also British. ''And the cars, of all the sports, probably go fastest, so if you can capture that you can certainly get a footballer running toward you.''
Antti Puskala, a Finnish photographer for the wire agency Lehtikuva and other agencies and newspapers, started his career as an industrial photographer. He then turned to magazine photography and in 1972, while working at the Cannes film festival, he attended the nearby Monaco Grand Prix. He got a press pass and photographed the drivers and cars.
''I got the fever,'' he said, ''and I still have the fever.''
Later, he worked for Keke Rosberg, a Finnish driver who won the world title in 1982, arranging photo shoots and other publicity. He said that the profession had changed drastically since the 1970s. ''Now, the big agencies have three photographers and a technician, so they have all the news pictures and they sell them worldwide,'' he said.
He said that since roughly 90 percent of the 100 or so photographers at each race go for action shots, he prefers to photograph the people. As the money increased in the sport, so did the professionalism, and these days, paddock photographers often hang around for hours awaiting the 15 seconds when a driver walks - or runs - from his motor home to the garage. But there is an irony to that.
''The drivers who don't like their picture taken hide, and they go out quickly with their head down, and this means that when they go out, everybody is trying take a picture of them, so they are in their own trap,'' Puskala said.
News services like Agence France-Press, The Associated Press and Reuters send several local photographers, who often know little about the series, to cover a race. But Yves Herman, chief photographer for Reuters in Brussels, who goes to a few races every year, said it was not a difficult sport for the agencies.
''It's less stressful than the finish of a 100 meter run in athletics,'' he said, ''because in that, there is one person crossing the finish line after nine seconds, while here the race is an hour and a half.''
For many of the specialists, however, it is about passion, and it often becomes a family affair. Tee's company started when his grandfather was owner and publisher of Motorsport magazine, and his father created LAT in the 1960s to provide pictures for the magazine. Tee took over from his father in 1981.
Paul-Henri Cahier, a Frenchman, took over the business from his father, Bernard, who began covering the series in 1952 and continued until the early 1980s.
The brothers Keith and Mark Sutton have developed a racing-photo business since Keith began photographing Ayrton Senna in the 1980s, before the Brazilian's three world titles. An exhibition of his photos of Senna at the Brazilian Embassy in Rome marked the 15th anniversary of Senna's death at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994 when he drove a Williams car.Artistic shots aside, the photographer Rainer Schlegelmilch, 68, said that although much has been done to reduce danger for both drivers and photographers, there are still risks. Schlegelmilch, who started photographing the races in 1962 and now works with his son, Boris, said his worst memory was from the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez in 1990.
''I was nearly killed by Martin Donnelly's crash,'' he said. ''He crashed about five meters in front of me into the barrier at about 160 kilometers an hour and it was one of the soft barriers and everything was behind it. The car was totally destroyed, he was laying on the track with 28 bones broken. And after the smoke was gone, I took the camera and shot the pictures.''