fast cars

Lambo’s in Paris

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts flew me to Paris at the back end of last year to create a story around their customer driving experience. Hard to say no to a gig in Paris! It really is an amazing city. Shooting the new Lamborghini Huracan with pro drivers, a stunning hotel and an open brief made for a pretty cool assignment.

We were blessed with perfect weather and a hotel with a real history behind it, especially around the 2nd world war when some pretty important players lodged there. With the hotel’s rich history in mind, we parked two spanking new Huracan’s at the entrance. Old v new. White v colour. Italy v France. It really didn’t matter how it was interpreted. The shots all looked wonderful.

When we hit the streets, the local crowd went wild. Granted the boys were revving the engines whenever they could. The echo was crazy too… through tunnels and bouncing off buildings. We couldn’t have gone unnoticed if we’d tried!

What I love about projects like these is shooting in a new place. Fresh ideas. Fresh spaces. You don’t even have the option to press repeat. I spent a day walking around downtown Paris, spotting sites, backdrops, colour and iconic landmarks. Paris has so much to offer. We tried driving shots around the Arc the Triomph but it proved just too chaotic and has some pretty strict traffic rules.

I think the icing on the cake must have been shooing at Place de Costa Rica. I found it during my recce and it just seemed to scream Paris. A friendly Parisian on a bike couldn’t have cycled into the shot at a better time…

Wk.

Shooting the McLaren Al Sahara 79

What a special day with a super limited edition McLaren 650s Spider Al Sahara 79. With its unique paint finish, which includes the addition of 24 carat gold particles and a special interior finish, this car will only be driven by a very select few.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience first hand the Spider’s 300km/hr top speed as the car arrived on a flatbed truck with the instruction, “For static photography only, no driving”.  I even arrived on a recovery truck… I know from previous shoots however, that it will kick some serious ass.  For this shoot, we worked on interior close ups, full body shots with clean backdrops and a few more frames late afternoon out in the desert.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Behind the scenes images by Kish

During my occasional photography workshops, my advice when it comes to shooting well is to make sure you get yourself in front of something you find interesting. In this case, putting a serious car fanatic in front of an awesome set of wheels had to be a recipe for success…

Wk

Kuwaiti car culture

How much magic can you fit into ten consecutive and insanely long days?

The answer is lots! I was fortunate enough to spend a decent spell in Kuwait just before the summer, building a portfolio of local imagery for one of Kuwait’s largest car retailers. As is the case with many brands, the Kuwaiti marketing teams for brands like BMW, Land Rover, Mini, Rolls Royce and McLaren all struggle with the international imagery supplied by their respective HQ’s. Stunning the images may be but they’re simply not relevant to Kuwait as the country doesn’t have green countryside, rolling hills, lush forests, fresh snow or fields of tulips and sunflowers. My job then was to find out exactly what Kuwait has on offer.

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A recce trip end of last year left us with a wish list of locations including urban cityscape, open roads, desert landscape, roof tops, rock formations and heritage sites. The country certainly has a strong offering of backdrops… you have to put in the effort to find them. I recall flying over Kuwait city on the way in and peeking through the window for exciting places to shoot. Admittedly, then I felt a little panicked. Clearly, a quick fly over wasn’t going to cut it but thanks to our great fixer, Adil, we managed to find a cool mix of locations to work at.

Briingggg… went the first of many 4am alarm calls. I’m always keen to shoot cars during the very early morning light. Starting with static shots and studio flash, I moved onto car-to-car photography as the sun just started to peek over the horizon then, if the location justified it, I would shoot a few more static shots before taking a much needed coffee break. Sales of Starbucks surely peaked during my stay. Next, I would download my cards, check the images, have a quick recap with the client at the dealership then wash, prep and change cars to start the very same thing in reverse during the afternoon and into sunset. This for ten days straight left me pretty exhausted having clicked just under 29,000 frames in total!

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Needless to say, Kuwaitis love their cars, luxury ones in particular and better still, customised and personalised. I got to shoot some pretty fast and exclusive models so whilst I can’t guaranteed leaving without any speeding tickets, I’m pretty sure I left behind some iconic car images that tick all the boxes.

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Wouter-M4-Kuwait-150Quick selfie using the iPad and CamRanger app

My final memory was during the return flight home. Looking out of the plane window, I recognised certain landmarks and spotted locations where we’d shot. This seemed like a cool way to finish off the shoot. Kuwait certainly makes for a great drive and is home to an awesome bunch of people. Thank you!

 

Wk.

This is why I love car shoots

For some reason the bulk of my work entails the shooting of cars and in particular, luxurious and fast ones. So when a SUV brand got in touch about shooting their big car out in the big dunes, it felt like a nice addition to the mix. Any excuse to hit my favourite desert location… The Empty Quarter.

For this gig, we produced a short behind the scenes video of the two days we had the new Infiniti QX80… sharing why we get up at 4am, why it’s important to work with pros and why it’s always worthwhile going the extra mile to shoot in the second largest desert in the world. Yes, The Empty Quarter is a long drive from Dubai and requires some serious desert driving skills but with a great team it is very doable.

At the end of the day, the agency gives you a brand new, often pre-production, car which has a back to back media and launch schedule. The car, needless to say, needs to be returned in one piece! We did just this… along with a collection of stunning images.

 

Wk.

BENTLEY GT3 R AT YAS

What more can I say… 600 bhp on four racing wheels. The fastest GT Bentley has every produced making its debut in the Middle East at the Yas Marina Grand Prix Circuit. With only 300 cars produced globally, it’s certainly a collectors choice. En route to Oz, the car made a super quick stop in the UAE and had a busy schedule to attend to what with beauty shots, wow-ing the media and pumping up prospective customers.

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It was a true privilege to be a part of the action and to be given the chance to rack up a set of cool images…

Wk.

Just 48hrs with the hot McLaren 650s

This is what I call a true RAW automotive assignment and I loved it! Getting the client up at 4am, being the first one on top this new and deserted mountain road. We had reccied it in detail so to accommodate a tight schedule and chase the amazing light down the valley. The first shot is still my favourite frame of the day … cruising around a sharp bend as the first streaks of sun pop over the mountains. It all boils down to perfect placement, precision timing, hanging out of a car and adding a dynamic sense of motion with a wide open shutter. Good morning Ras al Khaimah!

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The gig ran smoothly with a mix of locations. We ended the first day on the beach at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The car just about stuck to my plans. After a tight 20 point turn, the pro drivers managed to squeeze the car up the deck, neglecting a growing crowd of amused sun-bathing tourists. Sunsets always work. Throw in an awesome looking car with iconic features and it’s a joy to call yourself an artist at work.

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We then plunged ourselves straight into the desert. When on the road, motion shots always work best. Car to car photography at decent speeds. Yet it’s a fine line of getting it right, seeking that perfect balance between precise sharpness and a backdrop that feeds energy. We added a couple of layers of ND filters and cruised at 1/20 sec, shooting handheld with a wide lens. Covered in sweat and dirt by the end, it was truly an awesome day out in the field!

Wk.

Maserati Quattroporte S

Why do Maserati shoots always turn out to be sandier than hoped? We recently went out to shoot some local imagery for a number of regional car publications. The focus was very viagra jelly uk much on beauty driving shots in the UAE with a diverse mix of backdrops.

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You may remember my last Maserati shoot, when we found ourselves in the midst of a giant sandstorm near Bab Al Shams? Well, this time we were out towards the East Coast when we got hit with a total overdose of low flying sand. In all honesty though, it made the shot. We live in a desert after all so why ever not?

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