Thursday, December 24, 2009

Evo 9 image buildup - JDMST 2010 Calendar

Seasons Greetings! Recently I did a shoot for George who owns this immaculate and fast EvoIX. This car is well known in Australia as a very extensively modified vehicle, from Suspension, engine, interior and exterior modifications. George wanted a photoshoot of his pride and Joy and this image would also be used in the 2010 calendar run by Justin Fox.

Here is how I put together this image.

The location was a small quiet alley in the southern suburbs of Sydney. I liked the building in the background, it was angular and modern just like the evo and in a moving shot the blur of the background would look good. Lighting was a 200W fluoro tube ballast lightbank I have been experimenting with powered by a 2 stroke 700W Generator.

Several images were taken to form the composite, the rig was mounted to the car and the angle chosen that I liked, been a calendar the car needed to be the main focus so a narrower crop needed to be used. Ideally I would have liked to have used a wider crop.

I got my assistant to do several sweeps of the car only using 1/2 power of the ballast. The nice strip lighting effect given by the fluoro looks great along the lines of the angular Mitsubishi.

Once I was happy with the lighting I did several shots with the car rolling until I was happy with the motion blur and exposure.

The rest is just choosing the best bits of each car and merging together in post processing. For some reason removing the rig from this image was extremely difficult as there was many tones that graduated oddly. But after an hour or so I managed to convincingly remove the boom.

Here are the images I used: (Click for larger image)

And the final Image.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Motorkhana and Bathurst Evo X

I’ve been very busy lately but a new post. Recently I got to do a couple of cool features with Motor Magazine and AutoAction that got me involved with a bit of motorsport.
First was the Australian Motorkhana championships held in Western Sydney, the story involved me following Team Motor/AutoAction Dylan Campbell in a Renault ClioSport R27 F1 edition as he gave it his best go up against some of the best in the country. For those not familiar with Motorkhana events it basically involves a short 30 second sprint around numerous flags in a designated order, the goal is simple, do the course as fast as possible without hitting a flag or risk a time penalty, the driver with the lowest time after all the courses is declared the winner. It’s a simple but incredibly challenging form of motorsport where anyone with any car can have a go.
The feature required a opener image that would portray what motorkhana’s are all about, speed, aggressive driving and fun. With a bit of discussion with the art director we collaborated to put together a rig shot with the rear wheel leaving the ground under immense cornering load, the Renault Clio is well known for this trait so it seemed suitable.
Actually putting the ideas into practice was relatively simple, I have rig shots down to a bit of a recipe now so the guess work of getting a keeper image is always quite high. I start with a few statics of the car using the polarizing filter at different angles to keep reflections to a minimum, then I’ll expose for the front of the car, side and headlights/grill/plates. The statics ensure I have a failsafe sharp image in case the road we use is a bit rough which can cause vibration during the longer exposures, I can then mix and match the good parts of each image and add them to my main car layer later down the track.
Once that’s out of the way I’ll do an exposure for the background, generally it’s one or more stops underexposed to preserve shadows and I can manipulate that file better than a overexposed one I find. My style generally revolves around a grungy/dark theme so this is what I have become accustomed to. Once I’m happy with the look from the background plate (which Is probably the most important in my opinion to portray the sense of motion) I move onto the car exposures.
I start usually with a base exposure which the meter tells me is correct, 99/100 times it’s way off with all the ND filters and polarizers I run so a bit of trial and error is required to get a starting exposure time. Once that is found I’ll go a stop over and under just to be sure I have all bases covered. Take note all shots are done in raw for further manipulation of the files whilst post processing.
To show the rear wheel in the air we used the small jack that is stored in the clios boot. Jacked the car up and spun the wheel by hand.
Then it’s just a matter of combining all the good parts from each image into the final composite, I won’t go to far into that because It would be one ultra long post. Maybe soon.
In the end the result is quite dramatic, Ideally I would have the sky a few more stops underexposed but the opener required a blown out sky in order to extend for the title text.

The second shoot was for the Mitsubishi Evo X TMR Bathurst edition, this limited edition Evo pays homage to one of the great race circuits or Australia and in fact the world, Mt Panorama which is in Bathurst.
Mt Panorama circuit is steep, fast, technical and intimidating all wrapped into a 6km lap. TMR (Team Mitsubishi Ralliart) wanted to show that it’s fettled with Evo X could handle every part of the track with aplomb and invited Motors Damion Smy to see for himself when he was let loose for 20mins to give it everything he could throw at it.
The TMR Evo X features upgraded suspension, exhaust, engine tune and black painted rims to create a tough looking car that is both at home on the racetrack and can be used on the daily commute for work. The special Bathurst badges and TMR livery sets it apart from other run of the mill evo’s.

Again my goal for the shoot was to emphasise the car at the track, but also have a homage to the Mt Panorama circuit. There is not much more that says “Bathurst” than the famous entrance to the dipper so I utilised the ripplestrips and wall sponsors into a rig shot to show what this Evo does best, and that is go fast!
As with a lot of Press cars, time was limited, and with the circuit also a private road we had to work fast to keep things rolling. I decided on a low perspective that gave a different composition to the shot but also allowed the designer of the page to crop or use the empty space for the title text which is always important to take into consideration when shooting editorial work.
There wasn’t too many difficulties run into with this shot, only the black car and black rims are hard to light correctly but eventually I started to get something I liked. In the end the shoot turned out pretty good.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Performance Imports Issue 114

New issue of Performance Imports is out, I shot this feature in 2008 and it's only just hitting the shelves now! Stans car is quite unique, not just the fact it's running a single turbo RB26/30DET combo, but the fact it's an Auto creates a lot of headscratching. I shot this feature in 2 sessions, with the possibility of cover I shot a lot of cover options that could fit the bill, instead it was relegated to a normal feature which is a shame as this car is awesome.

I'll be updating more with more Motor Magazine work and a big commercial shoot i'm gearing up for soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sheckler and the Red

A while back I posted about the Red camera system, now film makers are finding out what all the fuss is about and putting together big budget movies with them, here is a cool clip showing the making of a new Ryan Sheckler Promotional vid for his website. As much as I hate Sheckler, it's pretty cool.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sneak Peak

It's been a while since I've done a shoot for a private customer, whilst it's nice shooting for magazines there is additional pressure to constantly produce a high quality of work, so every now and then it's a good break to do a private shoot and try some new ideas and techniques.

Here is a sneak peak of the car in current post production overload…

Here is the result of the shoot at the end of the night…

Hopefully it's repairable.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hot Tuner 2009

As I dawdled through Sydney's morning traffic on the way to the inaugural Motor Hot Tuner challenge something bright and green appeared in my rear view mirror, it was a couple of cars behind me but I couldn't quite make out what it was. A few kilometres down the road the mystery green object was right behind me, menacing and low. I knew it was a Porsche and a special one to be in that Kermit Green Colour.

He tails me for a few more kilometres, now on the final stretch to Western Sydney International drag way, In no way did I think this would be one of the cars taking part of the event, I thought it was another rich guy taking it to the circuit next door for a track day.

I pulled up at the designated meeting spot, and so does the Green Machine. Yep the 911 GT2 was part of the story, and best of all it was modified and an absolute animal!

As we said our hello's and introduced ourselves, an automotive smorgasbord joined us, Super snake Cobra, R35 GTR, 911 Turbo's, Modified Volkswagen and a Holden Commodore that had more grunt than a Pig Breeder. Take note these cars are all modified, some more than others but the level of these vehicles was exceptional and a credit to those who built and own them.

The plan was relatively simple, gather 22 of the best workshop modified cars from around the country and test them against each other in a series of controlled test to see who was the Hottest Tuner in Aus. Logistically shooting this many cars in 2 days was extremely difficult but we managed to get the job done.

Day one involved the Acceleration test, 0-100kph, Braking tests and 0-400M thrash, whilst on the other end of the track we had the Dyno running measuring peak power and torque.

To avoid any inconsistencies, all the cars ran the same 98 octane fuel, were driven buy the same driver for each of the respective tests and kept locked up in "parc ferme" overnight to stop any overnight tuning.

Day one went relatively smoothly, Fellow snapper Thomas and I worked through lunch to snag a DPS shot with the Blue SS Commodore and the Super Snake doing a Burnout past the line, it worked out pretty well and gave a good mix of emotion and speed to an otherwise boring scenario. Taking exciting images of drag racing is difficult without having the cars lift the wheels or combust into flames so we had to do a bit of head scratching.

That night, Easton Chang made the trip to shoot the cover options, it was great to see his way of thinking and how he shoots his ultra complicated setups, I learned a great deal and will put a lot of the things into practice in future shoots.

Day 2 was at Oran Park Circuit for the track test, one flying lap on the main circuit and another on the smaller south circuit. John Bowe was the Guest driver for the main circuit and is an Australian Touring car Legend, It was amazing to meet one of my hero's from when I was a kid and he is also extremely funny and quick witted. Luffy took to the south circuit and in true Luffy style ripped it up! Doing some amazing powerslides for the camera's and making it look so easy.

In the end it was the Fitzgerald Racing Porsche 911 Turbo that took the honours over the 911 GT2, also noticeable mentions must go to city performance and their amazing R32 Golf which ran 11's over the quarter Mile and decimated many of the other tests. A lesson that can be taken from the event is that power doesn't nessaceraly maketh the car. Starting with a strong base and making smart and effective modifications is the real winner and a recipe for success.

So that was the 2009 Motor Magazine Hot Tuner event done and dusted, hopefully next year a stronger and even faster set of vehicles take up the challenge and hopefully I'll be there to capture it once again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Motor Sept 09

Newest issue of Motor hit the stands yesterday with the Feature I shot with the three Generations of Renault Hot Compact cars, The Renault Clio R27 F1, 16TS and 8 Gordini all have cool bits and peices that make them different from other cars so it was a real pleasure to experience.

The Clio R27 is a great car, I was never a fan of Renaults until I saw this in the flesh, The stickers while a bit of a wank are a typical Renault way of making something different cool, albeit advertising the fact they won the 2007 F1 championship in 2009 is totally ridiculous to me. It's a trackday special that you could drive everyday. I found the seats a bit too racelike for my liking though especially after sitting in them for a whole day.

I also thought the Renault 8 Gordini was particularly cool, 2 fuel tanks, rear engined and a raw driving experience. It reminded me of a Datsun 1600 but with a few quirks. This particular car was immaculate and a testament to the owners love and dedication to the make.

The 16 TS was also very unique, a Colomn shifted manual, rear seats that lifted up and suspension that felt like you were floating on a cloud. This car would have been revolutionary in it's day. Apparently these made succesful rally cars aswell.... sounds scary.

I was happy how the article came out, Cockburns story is both informative and in-depth but I like the way he incorporates humour to break it up a bit. I would have thought the 3 car rig shot would have been the double page spread but the Static Group shot looks sweet when cropped. Overall I am happy how it turned out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Motor - August 09

Hit the shelves today, I have 2 major features and 2 smaller ones. Check it out.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The (Un)Usual Suspect

I'm this months Motor Magazines (Un)Usual suspect in the letters section it seems....

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Southern Roadtrip

I've just returned from another Shoot with Motor Magazine, this time it was over a couple of days down south comparing the BMW 335i, Audi S4 and Ford FPV F6.
After picking up the BMW on the Weekend and falling in love with it we drove down to my local area on Monday morning for a breakfast meet up and plan the days ahead, A fuel fill at Engadine and we were on our way south to Kiama through some picturesque roads that snaked there way all the way to Kangaroo Valley.

After doing a few car to car shots and getting some cool angles by risking the camera I jumped out and got some driving shots on a long sweeper that looked like something from a commercial. The sun filtered through the trees and gave a very cool effect.
By now everyone was starving so we continued on to Moss Vale, Ponch chose a quiet little café in the main street because it looked the least suspect out of all the stores, what a poor choice that turned out to be with 3 out of 4 lunches looked like something a dog had thrown up, fortunately my Chicken Burger was somewhat edible much to everyone's jealousy. So with everyone still hungry we hopped back in the cars and made a charge for Wakefield Park for Luffy to put down some hot laps for the article and Ponch to do the performance figures.

Anyone who has been to Wakefield will tell you how cold it can get in Winter, It was literally a couple of degrees above zero and it was only 4pm! Luffy tore the track apart in all 3 cars and on the cool down lap would drift it right past me making for some great cornering shots, he is an amazing driver!
The sun had set but my work was still not over, We needed to get interior shots so I setup my gear and got to work before dinner at the hotel restaurant. Dinner that night got eaten so fast it was ridiculous, everyone was starving from the failure of a lunch and tired from a long days driving… time for bed.

Ponch had the idea that if we got up at 6am we could have some of the backroads to ourselves to get some group shots. After driving for ages I came across a bit of a outlook were I could use a telephoto lens and keep all the cars in the frame. After spending 20minutes to position the cars perfectly and setup my shot we heard a car coming through the mountains, quick as a flash everyone jumped in their cars and drove to avoid a pending accident! And I didn’t even get to hit the shutter! Damn.

We continued on, heading towards Canberra to the Brindabella's line of road to get more driving shots and for Ponch to get a good feel for all the cars characteristics. Midway down the highway I noticed a cool backroad that had plenty of trees lining the road, with minimal traffic. It turned out to be a perfect spot to get some car to car shots but unfortunately the rocks the cars through up broke my good polarizing filter.

It was getting late and Luffy had a flight to catch back home so we called it a day and headed home back to Sydney, once again I grabbed the BMW and loved every second of driving it, the amazing engine, luxurious interior and superb handling make it an excellent car.
Keep an eye out for the 3 car comparo in next Months Motor.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It's all coming together

Last night I submitted my Shots from BFYB 09, it was a bit of a relief to put that one away after many late nights processing and de-rigging shots. I got a call from the Art Director this morning who was stoked with the shots. That was an even bigger releif.

I was worried about one of the multi car rig shots not turning out too good but that didn't matter, the rest of the shots were enough to clinch me more work.

So next week I'll be spending a couple more days galavanting across the state, this time with 3 big dollar turbo cars

I'm starting to picture the shots in my head now, After completing the last shoot and knowing what can be accomplished with some lateral thinking and photoshop that this could be a very special feature.

I also have not posted a review on the 5dmk2 yet which I have planned to do for some time. But after using it on the last 2 shoots it is definately a very worthwhile investment. Particularly for Automotive photographers. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Back home

Bang for your Buck 09 is over and it was the coolest photographic experience I've ever had. Whilst still being fun and creative there were many challenges that pushed my limits in both patience and skill as the art directors had some ideas that were definately pushing the boundries of Automotive Photography.

Not only did I get to take some cool unique shots, I also met a dozen or so top blokes that made the trip even better. Everyone was extremely friendly and everyone had a passion for cars.

It was a great experience, and hopefully the start of more long term stories with Motor in the future. But now I have 24Gb of images to sort and process including some very special rig shots and night shots I'll share when the magazine is published next month.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gearing up

Here is everything besides the rig, suction cups and light stands layed out.

3 bodies and 8 flashes might be a bit over the top, but in the case of disaster at least I'll have backup.

I'll try to update the blog over the next few days pending internet access. But leave tomorrow in the Renault Megane dCi 175 in bright red no less. Let's see what this thing can do!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Motor Bang for your buck 2009

Well I have received the brief.... am I shitting myself?... yes, will I nail it?... Hell YEAH!

Heaps of room for creativity, but all the hard work is already thought out. From what I can see it's an varied range of cars, from everyday commuters right through to ball tearing rip snorters! I can't see how some of these are good bang for your buck when they cost a small fortune.

Cool part is I'll be doing some driving, so a good chance to put some notches in my "hot cars I've driven" belt.

Still need to collate some gear and a few miscellaneous things before Monday but right now I'm pretty excited for it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Goodbye old friend...

Time has come to sell the 1dsmk2, new 5d2 makes this pretty much obsolete in every fashion, so after been relegated as a backup for the last few shoots it will be put up for sale mid June.

Hardest thing is working out what it's worth... 30604 Actuation's (on this shutter) few dents and scratches but in perfect working order.

It's been the best piece of photographic equipment I've ever had the pleasure of owning, I can really see why people love 1 series bodies but for my line of work the weight is a major negative for rig work.

Friday, April 3, 2009

New Lid

Got a new helmet the other day, One Industries Kombat series. The paint job is awesome.

Also got some New Smith Goggles and Tearoffs ready for racing to begin.

My Kitchen makes a surprisingly good studio.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good and the Bad

Today was my birthday, usually a day for celebrating and having fun. But not today. I found out a friend of mine was horrifically burnt in a Gas explosion whilst at work.

Sydney Morning Herald Story

Unusual for the newspaper, the story is not hyped up at all, infact both are much worse than the story portrays unfortunately.

Get well soon Todd, My own, my family and friends thoughts are all with you at this difficult time, Pull through mate.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Today was a good day.

Today I got asked if I was interested in shooting Motor Magazines "Bang for your Buck" annual feature in early June for a week. Of course I said yes. On a scale of 1/10 on how stoked I am right now, I would say I am at a 15/10.  

Monday, March 16, 2009


Just finished processing a feature car I have spent way too long on, if I added up all the hours it would be some ridiculous amount. Windows media player and Sugar Free Redbull got me through it. My new resolution is no more indoor intricate rig shots, no matter how cool they come out it's just not worth the torture of individually painting pixels (yes it came down to that!)

Time to crack a beer and send the CD off to the editor, I'm taking a break from processing for a while!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Iron Chef

As you might see in some of the other blogs I read to the right, having baller food is part and parcel with everyday life.... not me. Easy, quick and most importantly eye watering delicious is my priority. If it comes from a can it's all good baby. Take this concoction I came up with, 400g Tuna, Capers, Minced Garlic, Peanut Butter and a splash of Lemon Juice, mixed up this was pretty much the best thing I've ever created. I challenge you to try it.