60 Years – DB4

End of November on the tops just South West of Huddersfield…a tad brass! At the home of the late David Brown, former owner of Aston Martin and the shoot to commemorate 60 years of the DB4 for Classic Cars.

At the airstrip/field that was owned by David Brown where he flew his De Havilland Dove and after a days business / pleasure then back in the hanger. One key feature at the hanger which is still there are the tyre tracks so that the Dove aircraft could be lined up perfectly for the hanger. You can just see the three lighter tracks on the image below with the nose wheel track running directly centre of frame.

This DB4 on the day was used all year round by the owner and as we found out only got a clean once a year. So the first 30mins were spent giving it the best quick wash/wax we could with the products and cloths I had. I wish I took a quick image on my phone of before but was concerned as we had a decent schedule to shoot to with light fading fast around 3:30-4pm.

The same shot above and below but with the hanger doors opened (below; also you can see the aircraft alignment tracks clearer on these shots.

Just added these two images as they are both shot with polarisers but with the above shot you could say it was ‘dialled’ in more to cut the reflections from the roof and tops of the side panels as the background was light this helps just highlight the car. The image below was the opposite with it dialled out so the light reflections on the roof and side panels revealed to help the car stand out from the background.

Both images have a couple of studio lights just off to the left and right almost parallel to the car just to give it a little lift and help the brightwork come out more.

With the car being dark and the background, neutral and flat there wasn’t anything really to help the car stand out.A few lights and the sun just coming out now and then just to add to the mix we moved on to getting the car out and about.

I can’t recall if we went straight to the old tractor factory in Meltham straight away or did the driving images first? Anyway the story was we trace a little of the past of David Brown and his empire. Nothing left really at the factory other than a few signs and this was the best angle to get a clean shot as there was a. whole row of parked cars on the road behind the BD4 above.

Quick swing of the car around then a rear shot of the same above then we headed off on to some of the roads that David Brown would have taken to test and develop these iconic cars.

Before that a few detail shots of the car were taken at the airfield.

Near Slaithwaite but as in the article Sam Dawson correctly adds that this is pronounced (Sla’wit)…. the light was brightening up a little and so there was a little texture on the clouds.

The images above just getting a few different angles for DPS as well as straight on tracking.

With the area being as much a part of the story tried to get one or two location / driving images as well.

With the light fading we headed off to our final destination which was the family home which is now a hotel / venue establishment.

Shooting a DB4 which would have graced this place on a fair few occasions to finish off this story before the final appointment which was to interview David Browns grandson.

Sitting in his former lounge and the place were he grew up the light was dark and every light seemed to have a different colour temperature… So with that in mind I added a little light to help give some shape to Adam Brown but with it dialled right down so its wasn’t too distracting for the interview. Waiting for a momentary hand-gesture or factual expression so I wasn’t taking hundreds of frames when I only needed a good selected handful.

An interesting day, great to see how close I live to the automotive history that is the DB era.

…still pleased I had plenty of layers on thought!

170mph – High Speed Kicks

Down in Dunsford Aerodrome, the home of Top Gear for this cover shoot for Classic Cars. Five cars, an outer track to ourselves to get this cover shoot in the bag.

If I can I try to get the cover shot and opening DPS shot first or at least the group tracking done. Weighing up these owners I didn’t think we would have an issue and first impressions were correct. This road unlike the track at Longcross was pretty flat so couldn’t rely on an incline to see the rear row of cars better. So getting as high up as possible in the tracking vehicle….. and a long arm ; )

A couple of images below showing the order of the cars (the order is at most dictated by the mag so unless the colours of the cars can help out and balance things we run with the brief)

The final image chosen for the cover and the cover overplayed on the chosen frame. You can see the space we can play with the full frame and also the colours… I don’t go too wild on the processing and always allow the mag room to tweak.

A quick option for a DPS which turned out to be the chosen image and also a rear tracking shot as an article finishing image.

The image below was shot for the opening DPS that only saw the editors floor…

Framed and shot over 5 images…

These screen grabs from my phone show what the interface looks like for the CaseAir from Tethertools… I use as I can see a live view from the camera where the lights are positioned and so just makes things work a little faster instead of returning to the camera after every shot. Great bit of kit.

Once the group stuff done it was time for the pairings. This is where finding a slightly different angle from the last pair comes into play. Looking at the pairing first and seeing what details you can shot from and two starts the process and then shows whats left to do.

First few images below shooting from the Corvettes badges two the Aston.

Love the front of the TVR…..

All the variants and pair tracking shot, now onto details and interiors etc.

With the interior and engine shot for each done after that its one or two details as options.

The sun made an appearance now and then which kept you on your toes…

Shot each car as a pan profile again as another option for each car to mix and match in the article and these wouldn’t all be used but like I said as a back up / option for the layout.

On the day there were two cars which could be written as potential number spot…… So we shot the two as a final single car static and the Aston above got the final page of the article.

Little selfie to finish off the day with the Top Gear studios in the background… : )

The final layout…

DBS at 50

This was a good shoot for me in the sense that it was my first cover for Classic Cars. Happy with any covers but shoot a lot for Classic Cars over the past few years it was nice to get the opportunity to shoot a cover shoot.

Down in Surrey its a decent distance for me and being a cover shoot with 7 cars all arranged with owners to come together in one place the emphasis is on you to get the job in the bag. This upped the anti a little for me and I found myself building up the pressure as well.


This article is 19 pages long and so being my first cover shoot for CC I was eager to see the final spreads and which images were used and how…..the usual stuff as I keep mentioning on my blog.

The image above was the first hint of the article which was a full page ad in the Decembers issue showing whats coming up in the Jan’s issue. Happy days…


The original image above un-cropped / full frame… and you can see the slight tweak with the car spacing.

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Well here it is…(if you’ve not see it before! or not seen my Instagram feed)… From left to right, the final image as submitted to the mag, Then an overlay of the final cover to show the crop and then the full front cover.

Really happy with this and a few pointers to learn for next time … I shoot on a D810 for magazine work due to it giving me 35mb+ per image so that you can crop heavy into an image and still have plenty of resolution to print with (something I’ll mention later on)

From camera to the first car it may look not that close but it’ll be no more than 2 meters away.


Image above was in fact capturing a run for a cover alternative but in the end was the opening DPS cropped to a landscape, again showing why the nikon D810 is useful as it packs plenty of pixels into the frame and allows for some serious cropping if needed.

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The first order of the day was to start on the individual images of the cars as we were waiting for the last car to turn up. As there was 7 cars and plenty to shoot we needed to get started soon as. A little production line, a front 3/4 shot, engine bay and interior plus and details that were interesting or unique for that particular DBS.

All was going well until about 4 cars in when the clouds came over and decided to dump a lot of rain! Owners seeking refuge in their cars or diving into the trees for about 40 mins while it past. Thankfully my sunroof was open for only 10 mins until it was pointed out to me!!!!

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Eventually when all the details were done (apart from the last car which turned up) we needed to get on and capture the other images. Pairing off the cars we made a few passes along whats know as the ‘Snake’ at the private location. All these are un-cropped so when you get your copy of the mag you can see how they’ve cropped into them.

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Having three pairs and a single car predetermined you need to keep a variety of images so when printed a good selection of images and atmosphere is achieved… I’ll leave that for you to decide on how I did…

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A few more images that were shot for the cover and one for a possible DPS.


The Aston Works 4 door Lagonda was the easiest choice for being the single car… Here are a few more images that didn’t make the final edit….

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Took more side on shots for this to try and show the four door configuration… Again always little a bit of sunlight 🙂

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This one above was the one that made the article… sunlight as it was and not added.

Since this shoot I’ve shot another cover shoot at the came location and I do like it but you can go from heavy shadow to harsh sunlight within a split second so it does keep you on your toes!


Once all the tracking shots were done the last thing was to shoot each car and do some panning shots…


Just sending the cars back and forth, running to a new location each time to keep things varied. Getting both wide shots and tight shots of different cars.



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The overall winner of the bunch…. this image taken early doors in the shoot… before all the rain!!!!

Only took nearly 5 hours to drive back from this shoot!!!

Until next time…




Le Mans 24hr 2015

The latest motor sport event covered for my client… which was the same for Spa Classic & Nurburg24. Unlike the last two events we were late in getting press accreditation so it was more of a fact finding trip and to grab what imagery we could.

Instantly the Le Mans 24hr felt bigger than Nurburg…. well apart from the track distance!


Not sure if this was an Aston Martin parade which was lined up early Saturday morning but was the closet the general public got to some of the cars which were in the starting line-up.


It was baking on the Sat morning and the drivers were sat for a good 25mins in full race suits and lids waiting for the green light to enter the track.


Eventually the Aston’s were paraded onto the track. I’ve said it before but the Aston’s for me are THE best sounding car on the WEC series… (the dodge Vipers are good 2nd place though.)


A lot more action to see at 24 Le Mans than 24Nurburgring, maybe because the length of track is shorter and so you get to see more of the cars. Even Aston Racing team were getting putting on a show between them…


Like I said we didn’t get any track access so we could only get limited photo opportunities. The winning Porsche above #19.


Whilst shooting from the main Grandstand it was interesting to see the camera on a wire which ran the full length of the pit lane. It was about 1metre long and would have given some of the cars a run for their money on the straight…


Great atmosphere and buzz around the circuit which went on for the whole time we were there and didn’t look like it would let up… Plenty to see and observe and one thing that caught my eye was a GULF sombrero. If I were to wear one of them then that would be my choice.


Great place, more people than you could imagine, more tents than you could imagine!

You can see more images on the gallery here – Le Mans 24hr 2015 – Portfolio.

On British soil next with the GP and Silverstone Classic next month.

Till next time


WEC @ Silverstone

Silverstone held the WEC over the weekend just gone. I’ve got to admit I’m not that clued up on all the different classes that compete in the World Endurance Champoinship but I like the atmosphere and ‘goings on’ behind the scenes. The weather was on the chilly side but dry…which was a good start. We had a walked past ‘The Loop’ and took a few of the cars that were already out on the track before heading to the main area just behind the International Pit Straight.


For me all the engines sounded similar until the Aston Martins came around. There a re a few teams running them which for me was good as there was plenty of opportunities to hear that sound…. Vantage works V8 GTE… just sounded savage… (you can check out the Aston Martin 2014 season preview vid here to give you an idea)


We wandered around to the International Pit Straight to have a look what we could see. There seemed to be a lot of tyre washing and prep… so a fare few tyres got shot…


I was with a few friends who are serious F1 fans… So throughout the day they were talking to a few drivers who they knew / recognized. One such driver was Sam bird @SamBirdRacing (Mercedes F1 3rd driver last season)… You can see with the help of Sam’s sunglasses (below) I took a ‘selfie’ of us all. I think it was Andy’s jacket that got most of the attention due to it being a Mercedes team jacket and not a general jacket that you would find for sale…


Access to the pits was limited on the day we went, with only the National Pit Straight open for a brief 15mins in the afternoon. With no real connections with any team or driver I just wandered in the short space of time to see what I could capture.



We got access to the Art GT (Mclaren) team paddock and was good to see things behind the door… Seeing Ricardo Gonzalez (@ricardo_racing) amongst a few others preparing for the next outing.



All in all a good day out and great value.

You can see more images in my gallery here.