Prototype Silver Cloud

This was the first shoot with Classic Cars very own Quentin Wilson. It was a pleasure to work with Quentin and to get an insight into this special Rolls which he helped to gather more info on the car and subsequently acquire for its current owner.

The prototype of which only 26 were created of this lengthened Cloud.

With the original brochure we couldn’t let the opportunity pass without capturing a few images.

We started at Ian’s (Cloud owner) business address as it had an interesting period faรงade but enough greenery and space in the carpark to shoot the details and some interaction images as above. I wouldn’t have normally added this image with my edit as there’s distinct pointing going on….but just because of the genuine laughter and interaction between friends.

For the driver it was comfort but this statement of a car was always taking the comfort of its rear passengers as paramount to its opulence.

For its age the seamless technology of the discreet screen to create a silent cocoon for its VIP riders.

The walnut dash and trim about this rolls was highly polished and with that …..highly reflective. So a little time spent trying to place the small flashguns and strobe’s to minimise some unwanted hotspots.

As well as Quentin driving the car which you can see later on this image to show the rear and the comfort was a main shot for the article. This image above wasn’t the final image that was used but for me just worked with the expression, lighting, seeing the tree in the background to help with the motion… for me just conveyed the kernel of the story of this special Cloud.

As well as capturing some images which would suit the opening DPS, the owner mentioned of another contact in the area with a house that could be of use as a backdrop for the Rolls.

Well if Rowington Hall once owned by Henry VIII isn’t opulent enough then I don’t know what is. So as we arrived we thanked how things had gone and started to shoot the car against the hall. As well as being simplistic, clean, elegant, the door for me just caught my eye being not to far from the Rolls’s roof colour.

Just letting the car sit there and not trying hard at all but just to let the Hall and Cloud help each other out to enhance each others beauty.

I took just a couple of different images as an opening DPS and thought that this was a strong contender for the opening image. No lights, just natural daylight and being overcast just helped to diffuse and help to highlight the lines on the stretched Cloud.

As well as having Quentin in the image I shot a few frames pulled back to gift a little more statement of the house without loosing the Rolls.

Again just to give more options I sent the Rolls around the drive which was a perfect oval in order to grab a few panning shots.

With these four images above it was just letting my mind wander and with the rolls being such a size it wasn’t hard to miss. So with the large windows of the Hall it was a nice opportunity to grab a few images ‘left of field’ and off the brief to keep the mind and options open.

Not the most nimble of cars so the tracking images just needed to show the car grinding through the sweeping roads.

More than adequate the images above for the DPS but the rear would have been in the gutter but the story is all about the length and rear stretched element of the Rolls.

I did warn Quentin that the power of my Zafira diesel was something to behold… again was good to have those moments chatting generally and enjoying seeing the car and its lines.

Simple interior driving image…. I do recall an Audi driving squeezing us tight against parked cars as he was on a mission to get through a built up village. I learnt that day what ‘Audi’ stood for…. thanks Quentin : )

A great day and shoot, no frills, no nonsense, good conversation, great car, engaging owner……. happy days. One to remember.

Capri Cover

Third cover in a row for Classic Cars Magazine marking the 50th anniversary of a British favourite….

As ever the group tracking is mainly for the cover shot, maybe a DPS and also to get a closing rear shot.

A few examples of some of the images sent to the mag for the cover.

Full frame image with final cover selection….

We shot the pairings both on the outer track and also the inner handling road…. aka ‘the snake’ The pairs were in their Mk’s pairs.

Enjoyed this shoot because it challenged you to look beyond the fact it was 6 Capri’s and top try and pick out the details and feel of each Mk.

The image below is the set up (kindly taken by the owner!) of the images above. Just a single flash head firing through the opposite door.

A decent shoot, Capri’ed out for the day…. some images taken that day that I’m happy with : )

Accelerators Group Test

At the time of shooting this group test I didn’t know that this would be the middle of three covers in a row for Classic Cars Magazine.

The group tracking for the opening DPS and cover we got straight on with.

Chosen opening DPS…

These cars have plenty of details around the bodywork so plenty of options to shoot from. Can’t remember if the corvette was selected in the brief for the lead car …. either way the higher ZR logo gave a nice lead into the other cars.

Fairly tight group… gave instructions before setting off each lap and then just got the corvette to manoeuvre around to get various angles to fit into a DPS.

The layout below fo the final spreads…

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” ย 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.


6 Wheels to Recovery…

Still in the middle of the summer sun we had this great 6 wheeler to shoot. The location of this shoot was on the land of the owners friend…. and a great location it was. Big enough and varied where we could get all shots done without leaving the private land…. happy days ๐Ÿ™‚

Beside a giant shed / warehouse with a car lift the owner liked all things automotive and had another shed with some nice details….. below.

The final DPS below of the image above. Just lifted a little of the levels but the removal of the pylon which was needed ๐Ÿ™‚

Was pleased with the location and had just enough space to get the rather large 6 wheeler in front of the ‘garage’ and just wide enough to make a DPS.

Only one real angle to shoot from due to other buildings and a kids trampoline (which I did look at moving, but it was secured to the floor). So shoot above and below. The images above and below aren’t to bad but as we couldn’t see the lifting arm it doesn’t really warrant or have the same impact as the rear shot.

Just one light below used to lift the owner and Mikes faces and the engine bay…

The first shots we did was to get it on the ramp so we can see the main the engineering mods underneath.

If theres one thing I wish I was is that I knew more mechanically … ย but I’m not. So when it comes to shooting technical stuff like this I need to know what I’m shooting so I need a quick explanation there and then and a complete pointing out of what I need to show in the image. As far as I can remember on the image above is that the shaft in the centre has been off-centred on purpose….. other than that I can’t remember but just needed to show that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Getting a couple of lights under there to light people and vehicle is a lot of moving and testing to get a decent even lighting.

Once outside the sheds I mentioned a vertical shot would be good … just in passing without really thinking about it….. probably was thinking out aloud!

No sooner I said that a large extendable digger truck came round with a large bucket…. harness on and up I went. Think the only boring angle on this vehicle is directly from the top ๐Ÿ™‚ ….. still worth getting variety when you can.

Getting the tow Landrover to tow something and shoot the complete story was the aim. What else would be good to tow other than a series 1 Land Rover which the land owner had ….. again happy days ๐Ÿ™‚

The images below are of the process of hooking up a vehicle to tow.

I almost just sit back and watch the process before re-doing the process with shooting the key bits to show the story. Just one speed light to help lift the shadows and balance the levels out.

The image above and below has a speed light just stood on the near side corner of the Series 1 wing again just to light the harsh shadow of the owners face.

Shooting a few driving images was a little bumpy due to the rough tracks and so had to shoot a far few frames to a get a couple of acceptable images.

A few cornering, panning shots to finish off a decent day.

Like the shot above… just the angle, the fact the speed light stayed propped up and didn’t fall. Also there was just one big bush on that stretch we could capture when driving past to give a bit of motion.

Really enjoyed this day. There was about 4 friends there who were all lovers of automotive and were more than happy to get involved and help out. As well as plenty of coffee and home made bakes to keep us going through the day….

The only downside of the day was that I forgot some insect repellant as bugs just munch on me! With some well grown Horse-flies that a I couldn’t avoid I still have the scars from the bites months down the line. Still beats working …. ๐Ÿ™‚

A Disco 2 modified for purpose…

Well a return visit to a private disused quarry used now for fun with 4x4s. First shot here for Bentley Motors back a few years back.

This shoot was not to my mind a potential cover shoot so to see it on the shelf (below) was a canny surprise ๐Ÿ™‚

The story was to show what was changed on the Disco and also seeing it in action on some rough ground. Started to get the car into position for the opening shot of the article whilst it was nice and clean.


As well as the natural light images above I wanted to light the vehicle to add some texture to the image. before that we shot some images as it was going over this mound to get some movement at least into the wheels…

Shooting fairly wide in order to get a DPS out of the frame.

Started with a couple of lights either side of the camera… with the light to the right slightly lower than the camera in order to see whats going on underneath.

I did shoot a few verticals …. this one ended up being the cover…

The final image above with the cover overlaid so you can see what section of the frame was used.

After getting the front shot then we repeated the same process and as the Disco went over the mount we shot the rear…

On the rear I needed to get a bit more light under the Disco so had to get a speed light on the floor under the back end (green arrow) … Then dig a little recess with me boot to get the speed light laid down, then make sure the camera angle was lower than the flash and any flare.

The Blue and red arrows are showing the rough angle of the two Phottix Indra Heads…

After the initial shots for the opening DPS we moved into the middle of the quarry which is very open and flat. Also the water wasn’t as full as I remember the last time due to the very long hot summer this year.

Got the simple engine and interior images plus a few more… The engine bay was very very clean.

The lighting on the day was really good as the cloud cover was light and even so the sunlight was bright and consistent. The light grey colour reacted well to the light and so I didn’t use any artificial lights to help the scene.

Mike (news editor for LRO) had another idea for an alt DPS to show the story a bit more.

Moving the Disco to a place that you couldn’t get to any other way was on a decent incline. The issue was to try and shoot it in a way that showed that but there wasn’t anything within the frame that you could orientate and get scale or angle from. Again a couple of Indra heads either side of the left and right frame then a speed light in the boot of the Disco. The couple of cases near the tripod were some of my kit so we could fill the frame a little more as it looked a bit empty…

Once the staged shots were done we then moved to the lower part of the quarry again and sent the Disco around to get some water, mud to at least show that it could get to remote places.

No particular order the final layout and article.

A final image of a driving shot…. well a took a few frames whilst back at the top of the quarry as we were packing down again to have a working feel of how the Disco is a working vehicle.

Great working vehicle and very clean, that is until we had it round the quarry. ๐Ÿ™‚

A 101 home from home…

A very rare sunny still day in the North Yorkshire moors. Just over the horizon on this first image is the location for a few groups tests I’ve shot for Classic Cars…. and typically its been very….. very windy. For some reason this day was as still as anything with a clear blue sky and the temperature was just right.

The story was of this 101 Forward Control converted into a camper so that its owner Andrew can carry out his Drystone Walling (thats the technical term ; ) while still being on site as much as possible. Only working within a short distance from home he bases himself in the camper and can be on a job easily for up to 4-5 days at a time.

This first image was the opening DPS. This location was on a farm where he has been working regularly for a few years repairing the walls. There was a couple of locations in this field but this location is where he’s got uptown so far. Just positioning the 101 up this steep hill to create the story in one shot. Had to use one Phottix Indra head fired straight at the front of the 101 to light it up as it was really dark in colour and in shadow.

After shooting this opener we needed to see and shoot what else this 101 can do. How Andrew has modified it in order that it can accommodate his working lifestyle.

These images are not in the order we shot so I’ll just pick up on one or two things to give you some background ๐Ÿ™‚

The winch at the front, fairly standard but an essential kit in moving some serious stone around.

Didn’t need too many motion images but just wanted to get the environment that it is used in… unlike the day we shot it the weather up there can be a bit bleak!

Peter (Automotive Journalist and encyclopaedia of thinks Classic Landrover) took behind the wheel on a tight single track and amongst the faces or trepidation theres was this one ‘happy’ face but think it was more so nervous panic.

Its not pretty the 101 but functional, so any side pans are effectively just a box on wheels…

As well as tools and power from the 101 it carries everything Andrew needs to carry out all sorts of work he takes on.

Inside the vehicle was always going to be a massive part of the shoot. Ss just showing where he spends his evenings away whilst on location and how that feels.

The cabin is spacious and with plenty of power there are some creature comforts in there. Just one studio head bounced of the ceiling to light the cabin and rear living quarters.

The normal gearstick is a long and comes from the back of the engine and so you almost reaching behind you to change gear. Here this shot below is to show Andrews modification to install a ‘normal’ gearshift and you can see the square tube length that attaches the original stick to the new one.

Running hot and cold water for washing up, cleaning tools and even a shower…. plus a waste bucket : )

Also installed is an air-compressor…. can’t remember for what specific reason. Just had a small speed light tucked in the storage compartment to light the connector pipe and Andrews face.

A shot from the rear doors into the living space…. everything in its place and a place for everything ๐Ÿ™‚

Andrews home made awning which is used for some shelter for eating alfresco but also is used to shelter from the rain whilst working. Drive the 101 along side the wall and then you can create a shelter so work can continue.

A decent day and vehicle that has been adapted for a specific use …. Great to see it in action and thankful for some decent weather up there. : )


Super Saloons Cover Shoot

Its taken me too long to write a few lines about this cover shoot down in Longcross…..

Back in July it was in the middle of the fantastic summer we had and we had 5 classic saloons to shoot for a cover for Classic Cars. The brief was fairly specific for the cover… it was going to run with the Merc as a single cover but with a small group of the other cars as an inset on the cover.

The image below is the small group of 4 for the cut out…. Tried a few different angles and focal lengths. you can see the stray car in the right of frame…. knew this would be only used as a cut out so no need min moving it.

We added the Merc within the group and shifted the cars around so we could get a final group shot.

Details, Interiors, engine images for each car before we set off on getting the cover and tracking shots.

This Audi was in mint condition and for me would be my choice out if this lot. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Jag had plenty of nice details to be able to get some interesting angles.

Like I said the cover was always going to be the mere as a single tracking shot. Below are a few options that made the cutting floor …

The final cover and layout above with the group shot from above inset.

The original image below and then the over lay of the final cover to show you what was used and added.

Really do like the D810 as you can used half a frame and still get more than enough detail for a full page image. Again you can see I leave the images with enough in them so they can be tweaked more by the art editor.

You’ll be surprised just how much gets filmed at Longcross with its test circuit. Theres a scene from Transformers I spotted a while back but the most recent one I’ve seen is a Vauxhall advert which is currently on TV now shot here.

Running with the sun and shooting all around the track to give a bit of different flavour. However the cover image I mainly shot on the straight as the sun was directly on the from of the blue merc.

Along with the owners of the cars we had another photographer …. Racheal (you can check her instagram out… @rpautomotivephotography) who took a few images of me out the boot of the Andrews (journalists) car….. (thats Racheal ๐Ÿ™‚

The image below was taken on the run whilst Racheal took these images. I do have a harness as you can see and used it as the rear seatbelts in the car were too long at full extension. Just find that seat belts can be easier to use than the harness. Don’t worry I’m never not strapped in somehow.

The image above looks like I’ve got my finger over the lens….. just turning the polariser to see whats giving me the best look for the merc and BMW.

With the shoot rounding up and some cars already left we had to get a driving shot of Andrew and so the Merc was a great choice with its light interior and giant sun-roof.

In no particular order the final layout below…


EMPI Beetle

Been a while since shooting for Octane and this was an interesting Beetle. An original EMPI Beetle restored sympathetically retaining character, a few dints, faded decals…. and for me looked fantastic and gave me more than enough details to focus on and capture.

The day was bright and decided to shoot this natural light. The light paint colour and the brightwork were all nicely light on this overcast but very bright day.

I tried to keep the post processing a little muted…. no real reason, just liked to keep it subtle.

The owner had a vintage jacket in the Beetle that he found in some store and bought it….. way to cool not to try and get it into a shot.

The interior was fantastic and a visual feast…… The above image I shot a few different angles but liked the wooden locks on the doors and just liked the retro feel of the cabin.

The image above was included in the article and I remember seeing it once we opened the engine cover and didn’t really give it much more thought than …. ‘thats cool’. I shot the engine images and just before we shut the engine lid I took a quick image of the badge, again trying to capture wider than just being tight on the detail in question…

Just goes to show you just don’t know what will be used so its always with anticipation when I open a magazine for the first time and seeing which images are used of mine…

Seeing things through, in a different way. Walk around the car, open doors….. keep looking. A car is a car at the end of the day and so pushing yourself in finding a new angle, new way to look at this or capture details is what keeps the creative juices from drying up or getting in a rut.

The decals that have warn over time gave a great feel to the car and the EMPI badge above was one of the most intact ones. Just liked the iconic shape of the light cluster and simple framing…

Liked the EMPI details and little hidden ones as well…. (above)

Simple clean tracking images of what we could get on the private single track we used…

As we had some time I wanted to rig the EMPI and see what we could get. With the owners consent we rigged just the windows which then limited us on what we could shoot. I really wanted to see an EMPI badge in the frame.

These are the few variants to the finished opening image. The sun was dropping in and out so had to play about a bit as I shoot these images at least 2 seconds… Played just a little with focal length as the first one was elongating the Beetle too much…

Just a little photoshopping to take out the rig…

The final image below which was used as the opener.


Pleased with the article and my mind as ever was thinking could I have done anything better……


A great car to shoot and pleased with the results….. : )





Mantra Power

A cold wet damp morning near Merseyside…

Funnily enough both myself and Ross (Journalist) shot this Manta a few months previous in a three car shoot for another magazine….

Today it was the turn for Practical Classics to cover this home restoration project.

The final opening shot below and another ‘pose’ sent to the mag… Used x4 lights to light the Manta and the owner was light be the ambient daylight. One light behind the car in the far corner bouncing off the ceiling, another rear nearside to light the back corner of the side you can see. then one just tucked behind the door to the right of camera to light up the front wing and the BBS wheels. As they are turned away from the back light they needed a little light to get them to pop. Final light would be the speed light in the Manta lighting the interior.


The image above looks a little dull which I think is how this site handles the images but I do keep the images neutral a little so the mag has room to play with.

These ‘Epic Resto’ shoots are fairly set in the brief but theres always room for anything else. These few images of the engine is just a mock up of the owner tinkering. The one above I shot to include the Opel flag, which is another angle people like is to see whats in other peoples sheds / garages…. : )

What other parts / interest you have in automotive is another angle to get into the story as these are just as much about the owner / restorer than just the car.

Front and rear tracking of the car to cover another DPS opener option or general images to drop into a single page.

Good job I remembered me waterproof trousers…..just a little wet around the ankles and legs : )

Shooting the car previously I knew what details and other areas I had to work with…. again didn’t need that many as the article is only about 5 pages in length.

Little light to help the interior as it was a dull day. It was a comfy ride and a nice car to be around : )

Great to be on a shoot with an owner who is as laid back as Neil, with a real passion for cars and enjoys the day, despite the weather .