70s refreshed designs heading for the 80s

If there ever was a shoot that nearly got abandoned it was this one… Shot end of last year for Classic Cars Magazine in the Peak District. Three cars that were tweaked as a last swan song as they headed into the 80’s and the hot hatch era…

Opel Manta… (which I kept saying ‘Mantra’ through the day to Ross the journalist much to his amusement 😉 ….. think I’ll put that down to the freezing fog and the sharp ‘breeze’ whistling over the moors.

It started off pretty clear at 8am sat in a carpark waiting for the owners and cars, then as the time approached the temp was about 0 / -1 and the snow/fog/sleet started coming in fast. Visibility was non-existent on the tops but we found a winding road that descended below the fog so we started with the first two cars that were there. The Rover SDi and the Brooklands Capri. Shooting from car to car for all three cars we had to run with the road found and hoped the fog would lift.

The route we took was about 2 miles long with a carpark in the bottom village as a turning point to take the road back up to the tops. A few runs we had to ditch as it was a fairly busy trunk route.

Using the few corners (image below) to shoot the capri so any following cars would be hidden behind the banking.

Again on the straight you could bring the capri in closer to hide any following cars.

The sky had to be worked a little in order to make something of it instead of just a flat white expanse…

The Capri owner had a dash cam and took. few images off there of his view of me shooting the shots above. Well the image below was coming up the hill where as the image above was travelling in the opposite direct but the view would have been the same with me hanging out of the passenger window getting the camera low to the rear wheel.

The image above was a lay-by near the top of the road where it was safe to leave the other cars as we carried on with the shots. Also the Manta owner had just turned up.

The three images above were using the road again and due to the amount of traffic only a couple of angles were suitable and with etc weather still not the best up top and time against us we cracked on to get images in the bag. The Manta was good for the external decals which gives something for the eye to run off into the rest of the image.

Once a couple of pairs were shot we decided to get somewhere we could shoot the details / interior shots and to garb some lunch for the owners. Very rare on a shoot that I stop for lunch, its easier to carry on through. We found a decent sized pub car park and with an hour before opening they were happy for us to use the carpark. Plus there was a convenience store just over the road which hid hot sandwiches. So leaving the owners in there I’d get one car at a time and replicate the engine / interior shots and then details.

Below are a few images from the Manta…

With it being a three car shoot there won’t be that much space for loads of statics so simple front 3/4 shot for each one…

One light used as it was massively windy so weighted down just one light as I didn’t want to risk two lights blowing over… Helped a bit with no direct sunlight so no major shadows to contend with.

You get used to shooting a landscape & portrait version of certain shots to give the Art editor a choice and not to constraint the layout as much as possible.

The dials I shot again for each one to replicate the comparison flow… The silver surround above wasn’t standard but was sprayed by the current owner as well as the Irmscher logo in the recess behind the gearstick (below)… Some purists would be marking down on points but for me it was tastefully done and not to nasty.

The Manta had a few decals externally as mentioned before so were obvious choices to shoot and which another point which sets this Manta apart from the Capri & SDi.

Joked with the owner when he opened the bonnet and said “Could have cleaned it!”…. after he realised my dry humour and facial expressions to go with it we had a good chat about the era and cars. For me this a great point to shoots, meeting other car owners with varying degrees of passion / obsession for all this 4 wheels.

Once all the cars were shot individually we quickly shot this three car group shot for the cover cutout. I always try and find a location which allows me to shoot just clouds / sky through all the windows which makes the A-editors life a lot easier to cut out for the cover.

You can see the finished cover above with the three car cut out on top. Incidentally all the shoots on the cover of this issue are my shoots. If the main yellow DB was one of my images (which this is not) I’d have had a full house of the cover… don’t think that’ll ever happen again 🙂

Will be blogging about Rowan Atkinson’s Theme and 500 shortly so keep coming back to this blog.

Anyway getting back to the Peak District…

The fog and ‘weather’ lifted after lunch and these statics so we took the opportunity to grab the opener three car tracking shot. A road that must be about 1 mile dead straight was very welcome to keep this shoot on track. Below a re three shots from a few runs, with the opener being the third one…

Not really surprised but the opener wouldn’t be my first choice but then again I’m the one who just presses a button… The final opening DPS below.

Seeing the final image and the one I sent the mag you can see that I don’t over process and leave plenty of room for the mag to tweak in order for the printing process etc… Also I do prefer the blue tint to the sky on the final DPS and all why I like the sky with some definition instead of the flat white sky we had at the beginning of the shoot.

The final pair was the next to get in the bag… and a great road which I’m sure I’d be going back again to…

The image above was using the same straight DPS road which gave us plenty of room and visibility ahead to get these shots in a safe manner.

Getting some side pans of each car as I knelt down in some wet peat / moss. Thermals, two layers on before two winter coats plus decent waterproof trousers. Due to the cold the layers were essential but with the trousers you can just get yourself anywhere and not worry about getting two cold/ wet for the rest of the shoot.

The Capri owner shot a copy more stills off ….

You can’t see on this shot but another essential bit of kit are gloves… especially when you tracking etc as you need some dexterity in your fingers to help you keep a hold of your camera and change the settings whilst on the hoof… The gloves I’ve found to be great for these are Karrimor running gloves you can get from Sports Direct stores for about £5. No need to cut holes for your thumb and finger tips to spin the dials etc as these are fairly thin and have thin rubber gripped palms and fingers. If you look for ‘photographic gloves’ you could be paying upwards of £30… on my second pair of these karrimor as they are just fantastic…. little tip there 🙂

A rear tracking of the three again on the straight road … unfortunately my radios had given up due to over use and the cold weather and once I got back got a couple of fulls charges ready for the next shoot.

All in all this shoot turned out better than it started… still for me plenty of room for improvement and was a little disappointed with the days shoot….

Still found some more great roads for shooting and hope to return again… maybe I’ll just take myself off with my weekend toy once the weather picks up and shoot myself 😉

The final layout article above….

If you have any thoughts on this blog, what you want me to write about more then please drop me a line 🙂




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