Reunited with the Vauxhall Firenza

posted in Editorial

Reunited with the Vauxhall Firenza

Another one of 6 articles in four car magazines in November… This one was shot for Classic & Sports Car a few months back in the middle of the summer sun.

As I write this I’ve just discovered that Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams passed away in early September, so these images are a little more poignant and have little more weight to them.

The story and reason for the shoot was to re-unite Barrie with his 1974 race winning Vauxhall Firenza reg UHO 288M.

“The last time I saw it was on the day of the race itself in 1974”  B Williams

Barrie was 79 at the time of this shot and only just retired from racing in Jan this year was in no real rush to get the shoot done but I found myself taking images as the interview was taking place in and around the car. Trying to capture the feel and natural atmosphere of Barrie’s interaction with the car and also his expressions whilst talking to Ross (Automotive Journalist)

The sun was intense and light really harsh. The first few frames of Barrie was to get as natural a pose / portrait as I could with just available light inside the car.

The image below was one of the first set of these portraits…

The decals of ‘EJ Baker Motors Ltd’ was another original aspect to this race winning Vauxhall so this portrait below was used in the final article possibly because I included some of the decals in the image. This was one of the earliest images of Barrie after just getting into the car… again just using available light and letting the outside light expose out…

I knew the main story was the car and Barrie’s affiliation with it so knew I wanted to get a good selection of portraits as possible. While Ross was pulling stories and details from Barrie I set up one Phottix Indra head to light Barrie from the front through the windscreen and just wandered around getting a shot with ross in the image as well. Again not knowing of they would run with an image of Ross and Barrie together but just trying to give a variety of options for the layout and feel of the article.

I don’t know why but envisaged that the portrait could be a full page bled image so shot portrait for most of the posed lit images.

For me the portrait above was one of my favourite, for the lighting combination of just one head shooting over the roof of the car and the sunlight acting as a back fill. Just looking now at Barrie’s history before I blogged one of these images was used as an obituary on the Classic & Sports Cars website. Just reminds me just how photographs capture a particular moment, event, emotion and that over time can become more poignant and ‘weighty’.

The current owner and responsible for the restoration brought various documents and photos just to add to the already rich provenance that the car holds.

Really wanted to keep the images unposed as possible, well the ones including Barrie, Ross and the current owner. yes the posed images of Barrie were orchestrated but that was completely warranted …. it was the other little details like viewing images and documents above I wanted to capture naturally as they just unfolded in front of me.

After the talking was done and we had enough I let the three of them go inside for a quick drink and shade from the sun while I got some details and statics.

The restoration was really good and to a sympathetic level without tearing out the original character of the car.

Once that was done it was just the driving images needed. Barrie took to the wheel and we did a short circuit near to his home where we grabbed a few different angles of him at the wheel. The image above was just one of those ones you shoot to give a different angle. The owner was in the rear and made a good light stand for me holding the speed light to fill the interior.

Really pleased with the image above which was used as the opening DPS (below)… the trees in the background close to the car helped give the sense of speed and the lighting just worked as we were in and out of the shadows so the lighting was dancing all over whilst out and about. Also good to see that the framing was almost bang on and the whole frame was used.

After returning back to Barrie’s we left our cars there and took the owner and friend out on a run to get some more tracking images.

The two images below were the last ones we shot …. only just beside the cornering shot this monument was an interesting back drop so asked them just to make a short run while I lay flat on the warm tarmac and fired off a few frames as they came towards me.

We found a decent straight bit of road we could us for some panning and rear tracking. The light metallic silver paintwork was great under the bright sunlight…

Leaning out of my car you can just see I’ve clipped my front wing in the frame…. I normally leave these in and send them to the mag as they can then see the full un-cropped frame and so if they needed to ‘shop’ out my car then they could.

The final article above.

Was a pleasure to be asked to shoot this particular story and all the more made poignant with the recent passing away of Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams.

I’m pleased with this set of images and thankful that the reuniting of Barrie and his winning car was captured.