From crash testing to 800bhp

Knowing I had an epic restoration shoot I set off with the type of images / ideas and kit I needed. Not knowing what car the subject was I was in for a shock. Once I eventually found the right building as I drove past it as there was no signage, or give away clues to it being anything to do with the automotive world. I was told that it had some special cars…

The first glimpse of anything out of the ordinary was two silver front nose’s of a couple of XJ220’s. Seeing one is always a good sight to behold but two!

I thought …yeah I’m in the right place! Finding a small door as the entrance I walked in to a workshop which I think I counted about 20 XJ220’s. As you can see by the colour I had a good idea which of these extraordinary cars was the main subject for the shoot. A stunning deep metallic blue which grew on me very quickly.

This XJ220 was the original MIRA crash test car which has had an epic restoration by Don Law Racing.


The opening DPS image above is the main image to open the story. After turning the car around in the fairly small amount of space (when you have a car that’s just shy of 5 meters and 2 meters wide). In the end we used 4 lights to get the car to lift.

JJP_3625info JJP_3588set up

This darker image shows just available light … I’m just taking images here as quick snaps so I can work out whats going to be the better angle and alignment for the centre of the magazine and where the crease will lay.

Moving onto the final image with green and red lines.

The red lines show the angle and rough spread of a couple of Speedlights (small flashguns) Hidden just of camer right for No4 and behind the nearside of the Silver XJ220.

No.s 2 & 3 are a couple of studio heads fitted with barn-doors to clip the light so it doesn’t spill everywhere in the frame… mainly concentrating on the car.

Like I said with the car being so wide and long a couple of lights were needed to cover evenly. The Speedlight  No.4 was just added purely for the black Speedline black wheels as you can see from the darker image the wheels can be lost in shadow.

Happy with the result….


On this one above only used one studio head high right out of shot and one Speedlight with narrow angle to highlight the Jaguar badge on the front grill… just to give the front a little light.


A couple of Speedlights ….. One tucked behind my head to the right and one obviously in the drivers foot well to light the subject.

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Just a couple of images of the Engine which with the LeMans spec added gives this road legal XJ220 800 bhp….. nice!


The final closing shot with e one studio head off to the left and one Speedlight off to the right…

A great pleasure to see such a workshop in high demand from XJ220 owners from around the globe who need their beloved cars serviced and repaired.

Until nest time


Rare Ginetta – going strong

A ‘Life Cycle’ shoot for Classic Car Magazine…

The G23 was an early prototype for Ginetta, this particular chassis number is No.2. Its been owned by the same owners since they bought it from Ginetta. Recently undergoing a full re-build with alot of the work undertaken by the owners…

Not so much to shoot here, alot of old 6×4’s and old car magazines it has appeared in previously. A few rig shots for an opener and a few statics to give a flavor of the car now.


Not one of the images used but the engine bay was tidy with its nose end hinged bonnet.


Not keen on shooting cars on driveways but this could have been a lot worse, plus the life cycle is heavily involved with the owners and so it fits more into the article than a ‘normal’ driving car specific one.


At least the background was ‘clean’ and plenty of area to work around and position the car.


A major feature is the little ‘port-hole’ windows, (forgot their proper title!) which I captured from a few different angles… capturing the Ginetta logo where possible…



The other rig shot that wasn’t used. Did take this for a DPS, or aat least as an option. I may blog a quick ‘Behind the lens’ piece as I took a quick shot of the set-up and surrounding road.

Nice little shoot and article and this was the first rig shot taken on a D810 which was nice to use the full resolution on the rig. You can see the short article in the ‘In Print’ section of my portfolio.

Until next time… which may be a blog on the next cover shoot… : )


‘Life Cycle’ – Classic Cars Editorial

Each car I’ve shot for Classic Cars Magazine has been for a different editorial piece. For example the last post was for ‘The Collector’ piece and this Laser Capri is for the ‘Life Cycle’ article.

JJP_0055Not quite back home in the North East for this one but getting there… at the North end of North Yorkshire. As ever my mind is on the opening image and the DPS. This was another one of those moments of interest when you see how the magazine has used the images you shot. Not a DPS as such but 3/4 of one.

JJP_0117Depending on the size of article and how much space the magazine has allocated will dictate on the size and number of images used. For a number of reasons I like how this image above turned out which for me would be a good shout for a DPS.

So the reasons I like this image… well firstly it was the first auto shoot with my latest camera. I had a couple of D700’s and a few months back replaced on of them with a D810. Still getting to grips with different features that the D700 doesn’t have and also the file sizes…not to be taken lightly!

The other main reason for liking this picture other than seeing the added resolution and step up from the D700 (which is still a fantastic body and one which I still use regularly) was how the post process went. The day was a dreary and with the worst sky you could have to try and photograph…flat white. So you’ve got to capture both the darks and lights in order that they aren’t too dark or to light so you can pull the details out post process. Nothing added to the sky other than effectively reducing the exposure and visa-verser for the car and shadows.

It did help that the car was red and so did add something to the flat colours and levels. As ever the use of a polarizer never goes amiss.

JJP_0146Finding a smooth road as possible, quite enough to move the tracking car in and out is another task to add to the mix….

Incidentally as I type I’m researching some kit in order to help capturing these type of tracking shots more successfully. (More details may follow)

JJP_5990The article focuses on the life of a vehicle and the owners that have owned it. This Capri started off in Essex and now runs around North Yorkshire with the new owner who alternates it with another Capri and runs them all year round.

We shot a lot of documents relating to the car and one of them was this Ford brochure from 1985 which I’m sure I had a copy from my first car show at the NEC with my dad and brother.

The double page of a Laser in the brochure (below) I had to show as it could have been taken from a photography book from the 80s with its Cokin style sun set and tobacco filter…

Those brochures were like an encyclopedia back then….



The interior was in decent shape, with its chunky gear stick and ‘retro’ analogue clock…


Not many other shots required for the ‘Life Cycle’ article but a few of the current owner and writer Nigel Boothman talking about certain aspects and details of the car.


Until next shoot / article appears be safe…


You can see the final layout and article in my portfolio ‘In Print’ section.

‘The Collectors’ – Classic Cars Magazine

With just over half of the Hughes collection to shoot there was still enough to feast your eyes upon with 9, covered, stored vehicles ranging from the 1940s through to the 90s.

Using the words from the article (credit – Ben Field) John Hughes …”left that morning as an owner but came back a collector”.

This shoot for Classic Car mag was to capture images for the next installment of ‘The Collectors’ editorial. Looking at those with a passion to find and collect cars with real intent and purpose.

John Hughes is no different. With the help of is two sons they have high standards in looking for the right car. With an immaculate, full and detailed history the car has to have low miles and be the best example available.

With ‘Classic Cars’ each editorial and story has its own style and angle for the images which for me keeps things interesting. For this as you can guess it majors on the cars and owners. So when you walk in to this collection the first thing I’m looking for is the DPS and finding the opening image.

We shot a wide range of images in the main storage unit with the three guys…


Each car had its own specific cover as you would expect. The Blue cover for the Bentley was a bit dark so had to light that separately to try and bring some detail and the logo out.

Fairly tight for space in there and with only one angle to really shoot a DPS and get some lights in without getting in the frame.

The shot which did make the opening spread was the garage that housed the 1967 E-type, 1990 F40 & 1941 Jaguar SS100. Having two iconic super cars of their own age in the E-Type and F40 side by side joined with the elegant lines of the SS100 was a sight to behold…


With one strip light in the space we weren’t going to get far with that so we used 3 Bowens studio heads to light this space. One on the floor between the E-type and F40. Another shooting through the side window of the garage in-line with the wing-mirror of the E-Type. The final head was directly behind me tucked in the corner as far as possible.

Shooting with the 17mm I had about 40cms between the SS100 and the wall to get me and the light in….a little cramped.

JJP_0777 Coming through the door into the garage you couldn’t help but see a key design feature between each of these cars… Each had louvers and from that angle they all were so evident. (see image above)… This shot never made the final editorial but was something that linked all these cars together other than occupying this tight space.

JJP_0840 The SS100 like all the Hughes’ cars was in immaculate condition. (You can see the window which we used to angle the flash through as there was no room to have the light in the garage beside the E-Type.)


The Willys Jeep for me was just another twist in the collection. Stored in a modified shed (doors widened) this was just another example of how the Hughes will only buy the best example possible.


It was like the Jeep was lifted from active duty and brought into the modern age. All tools / accessories present and accounted for. So much to look at and take in, a place for everything and a purpose for its inclusion.

JJP_0803 Certainly a Ferrari flavour running through this collection and was a real pleasure meeting John Hughes and his family.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Richard again, all be it as I had left my tripod on location…

Till next time


You can see the final article via my portfolio ‘In Print’ section.

911 Restoration – Leeds Porsche Centre

This was at the time the closest automotive magazine shoot that I’ve had… only a 20min drive … happy days. Shot for Classic Car magazine the 911 Turbo won ‘Best Mechanical Restoration’ and was only a few points of being the overall winner.

If I were to shoot in a garage I’m more used to the smaller shops or mostly private garages. The Porsche Centre Leeds certainly was on another level altogether. Clean, organised and the whole place spoke ‘efficiency’.

The first port of call was to get the main DPS (Double Page Spread) shot sorted as that was the lead image into the article. This restoration shoot predominately is intended for within the magazine and not for the cover. A similar style from one resto article to the next is the aim which still leaves you enough room to compose a shot.

Arranging the vehicles and finding an angle that works in the DPS and also has interesting elements, tells the story and also has room for title and copy.


This is one of the initial shot / testers to see what elements work, if its too busy or too empty. Also can just get some lighting in there to help focus the readers attention. The car being red and all the other cars and its surrounding all fairly neutral made this even easier.


The car on the jack in the foreground wasn’t going anywhere and although it was red also from this angle it didn’t interfere to much with the 911.

This car and its owners had history with the centre which made it all the more interesting and tied up the story nicely.


A few lights were also needed to get an overview shot of the interior from the drivers side.


In the article each member of the team talks about there specialist area and what they had to do with the car. This image on the left was shot to show the interior but it never made the final article.

A couple of speedlights used in this one…one on the dash of the car and the other on the back parcel shelf.


Getting under the car to shoot a few images to go with the engine side of the article proved a little tricky. Purely to find an angle that wasn’t too extreme and also of interest which could be lit sufficiently.



All in all a nice shoot and was good to meet the workshop staff from Porsche Centre Leeds.

You can see the finished article and layout here.


London Classic Car Show 2015

Mixed thoughts were about from the auto world with the launch of the London Classic Car Show @ Excel. I was there with the Luxury Rallies company to whom I’m the official photographer.

With two rallies planned this year, a trip to Spa and also the Riviera Rally. A 7 day luxury holiday taking in some of the best roads in Europe and hotels to mix both scenery, relaxation and great company.

Back to the show….

The show was from the outset going to be the top sellers and grades of car…and it didn’t fail to deliver. At the center of the exhibition they had ‘The Grand Avenue’ which was the main focus for the live parades.


This was closed off for the parades of cars which ranged from all decades of vehicles through to group B, supercars and F1 examples.


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On show were some real top examples of classic cars …. as you can imagine, from a range of specialists.

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Well was a good show … met some great people…

If you want to see a larger selection of images then please follow this link.

until next time …