Variety, as the saying goes, is the spice of life. And lately, I’ve been shooting a really varied range of vehicles – which is huge fun and great for the folio. Other people must have noticed too, because this year I was again voted into the Headlineauto awards, short listed (the only snapper to be in the nominations for the last three years running), and came second, Highly Commended.
Of late I’ve been shooting more and more Land Rovers, for magazines and for advertising. I’ve shot a fair bit for JE Engineering, the legendary specialists who are possibly the ultimate in ‘making Land Rovers Go’. This shot is one of their ‘Liberator’ conversions – a 4.4L 32 valve V8 engine, rebuilt to match the Defender’s needs to push out 320bhp – and was for their MotorExpo exhibition stand. JE were really pleased, as it shows off perfectly in one shot the dynamism of their vehicles. If 320bhp isn’t enough, they also do a 500bhp conversion, the ‘Zulu’ which makes for the fastest Land Rover in the World, hitting 0-60 in under 5 seconds. I brought it back from a shoot last week; 500bhp, a Defender 90 and a paddle clutch indeed made for an ‘interesting’ three hour drive back from the location.
The next vehicle was something totally different – a restored Mini Moke. Catching one of the last glorious days in September, the bright paint went perfectly with the cloudless blue sky, and wherever I put it on location, every angle looked great.
Different again is this Porsche 911 935 replica. Total 911 featured the car, which was built with a genuine 935 race engine. Insanely loud, and with a 4mpg thirst, this shot really captures how the car would look racing down the Mulsanne Straight at sunset at full chat. In reality, it was captured mid-afternoon on the Guildford by-pass!
I’m accustomed to trying new things, and this next shoot came from a personal snap I happened to show someone on a magazine, featuring my own car. They loved my pic, so arranged a shoot to get the same effect, comparing the last of the outgoing L322 model Range Rovers with the last of the Range Rover Classics. As it happened, I’m restoring a Classic, so we used that. Apart from having a fabulous drive in convoy to the location, we then had an absolute hoot posing the cars off-road, right into the night. As you can see, the shots are great, and the mag – Land Rover Monthly – was really pleased, as was I. This first one for the lead DPS is the typical gloriously lit sunset with both models posing in a landscape scenario.
However, the whole shoot was set up to get this next shot, which originated from my personal work. I set the car up to ‘cock a wheel’ on rough terrain, in the dark, and lit the car myself. The result is to have the car beautifully lit with a nice, studio-like rich quality of light, but still place the car into a relevant off road environment – and it is straight from the camera, too! There’s always a hidden story, and this job was no different. It was in May during the now annual heat wave, and as a week of 33 degrees was drawing to an end, we were fortunate enough to still catch the very last day of the hot spell, together with the perfect sunset. What we didn’t account for was the sudden fall in temperatures at night as the sweltering 33-degree heat dropped to 10 or 11 in the space of an hour. We were caught out wearing just shorts and a t-shirt…it’s often not glamorous being a photographer, but you just have to battle on, regardless of whether you’re shivering!