‘Coal Power’… The Steamy Landy

I’m sure you’ve seen this steam engined Landrover over the past few months since its creation at the end of 2017 such has it made local and national news…

Fairly local to me on the boarder of Yorkshire and Lancashire on the tops the weather was in the balance and didn’t disappoint due to the sun, sleet and snow within a few hours.

Meeting the creator and owner Frank with his distinctive Lancashire accent, flat cap and steam engines you could have mistaken him for a Fred Dibna. ‘Mildred’ as the landrover is commonly known as was already prepped and fire well and truly underway ready for our arrival. Not so much as a turn of a key but cleaning the fire box, building the fire and getting the fire going in order to produce the steam to power this Landy into a colossal speed machine….. : )

Not the easiest vehicle to get into position so you shoot what you can where it is, plus the snow …

So off we set for a little run…. well literally for me was a run. I shot from the flat bed to try and get an opener and get the story in one shot.

The location was fairly remote but still had the passing motorist looking baffled with the site of a miniature steam engined Landrover cruising at a comfortable 5 mph…..(not sure of the exact speed but I would say thats a fair assessment : )

The image above made the final cut but not as the opener….. was hard not to have the centre of the frame cutting through a key feature such as the firebox… Still trying to get some motion in the background you can see on the wall to the right of the frame…. having to drag the shutter a lot..

No sooner had we set off we found somewhere to turn around….. you can do a lot of shots in a short space of time while your only doing walking pace!

A little oil to keep the thing running smoothly then we were off again.

Soon found out the steam from the chimney wasn’t a constant bellow of smoke but only came when setting off and increasing speed.

The images above show the incredible speed of my good self as I run along the wall, stopped and shot a few frames before running ahead of the Landy to a new position and repeat the process…..

No need for any rig for this set up but a sturdy bumper and somewhere to hold on to then shoot : ) …..

You could almost do tracking shots whilst walking along side it…. at least I got a little exercise …

Getting back to the base and another chance of getting a large plume of smoke…

Great little details of using the iconic 4WD knobs as the whistle…

Frank turned out to be a very interesting character… being the only sailer to have sailed around N & S America in a figure of 8, owns various companies… just a great time just getting to know him and what he’s achieved.

The image above was never used in the final article but just added here so you can see the original small scale steam engine he built and where the engine came from that is now in the Landy.

Very interesting and another one for the memory bank : )

Difting in a 90…

A still winters bright morning I headed back on the way to the homeland to the North East and to Teeside Autodrome to shoot an extreme ninety for Landrover Owner International.

While an open drifting session was taking place on the track we had permission to camp in an inner section of the track which wasn’t in use. Most of the shoot was done on these three corners. The sky was blue, the sun was low and seemingly more bright and intense than our fair shores see.

I shot a few images on a corner and still wasn’t happy so we moved the 90 to this small puddle which was only about 1cm deep. Knowing that this was a possible DPS we kept going .

No lights added to this shot but only polarised and the moon wasn’t added after! The image below taken on the trusty mobile shows the great vastness of the puddle ๐Ÿ˜‰ …… With the D810 having a grip I could only get the lens about 2 inch off the floor… so took the grip off, covered the contacts on the base of the camera body and sat the camera directly on the floor. A simple wireless trigger as my shadow was in the frame.

Wide as possible made the puddle into ….. well a bigger puddle ๐Ÿ˜‰

The interior was just as bonkers as the exterior… all custom made. Had to use a studio head to kill as much shadow caused by the harsh sun.

All about the details, showing off the creative and handy work of the owner.

fought against the sun on the image above as I didn’t;’t want the sky to be lost so a bit of fill flash and then pulling it a little more post to get some detail in there.

The article was just as much about the owner as well as the car. As well as taking the normal tight head & Shoulders shot this as an alternate portrait. With a shot below of the couple of lights used to light the side of the 90 in shadow.

The light at the back mainly to light the owner and add a key light to him and light the back wheel and arch. The light to the far right was a general one to fill his face a little more and to light the front off-side and to soften the shadows caused by the back light.

I kept the light sup for the images below where I took these images with quick succession to get a few variants for the art editor.

Using the same lights for the show below used in the final article to show the hight of the car which is hard to not appreciate unless you see it in ‘the flesh’.

Moving swiftly on we used the remaining corner in our little oasis amongst the burner rubber and noise around us to get a few more rear statics and a few panning shots…

We had the chance of a couple of laps straight after the lunch break before the drifters came out again to grab some tracking shots.

A fairly tight track with plenty of long corners funnily enough which were good for drifting! …. hard to get your bearings with only a couple of short laps in order to get some tracking done. Again leaning towards another DPS chance and framing for that but still with enough detail to crop in for a tighter frame or possibly a vertical.

After that we returned to the centre of the track to grab one or two rig shots. The set up shot below shows the mounting point and using the red/white corners to add into the frame to keep the story throughout the shoot.

Original RAW frame above and the finished edit below. The only landscape frame I did and again a DPS option. In one run or push I use a lot of the other frames to grab the sky and use to remove and mask the rig from the final edit.

Below one of the two vertices we shot.

I took a short video of the rig and getting the 90 into position which I hope you can see by this link.ย Green Drifter 90

The final layout of the article below.





All in the detail…

When you work for yourself you work when the work comes in… sounds daft but is true, with me shooting a lot of automotive work I tend to find in the depths of winter my work quietens off due to the weather. So when a job comes in for late December it makes a good change.

Shot this defender on New Years Eve only about 10 miles from home…

To say it was chilly would be an understatement, up on the tops of the moors the wind is relentless and unobstructed. We had some sun which was fortunate and only the lightest of drizzle.

First off to get some statics in the bag and get an opening DPS as an option. The sun was in and out of the clouds and with it being low it was harsh, so we covered each image with and without the lights on to cover options. Had the Def in two positions, straight on as above and then just a 3/4 angle. The reason for the nearside of the Def was because the sun was that side and being a black vehicle it needed a light more light to lift it. Also if I had one side in shadow that would to be far too black to pull back with just shooting available light.

While lying on the floor its easier just to shoot a few more frames to give a few options especially with this Def 90 being bold then the images could have a little more bold as well…

Moving onto the details which this 90 had more than enough! …

Always taking advantage of various angles and especially with this having a soft top.

When the sun came out it was low and harsh… best thing was that it really helped light the black body but made shooting the tracking shots a little bit of shadow dodging time.

Using the surrounding topography to help get a view into the cabin while the roof is off… sending it to and from this location to get a variety of images both vertical and landscape.

This one above must have been one of the first images here before we took the roof off to show off the interior.

The opening DPS and the original full frame.

Last order of the day for the driving images was an interior driving image…with the roof still off.

Standing in the back and a large roll cage to steady myself on was in order as this thing had a decent amount of pull off the mark.

This shot above I wanted to get more of the road in to or at least to see the horizon. The issue was the roll cage you can see, as if I came behind and below that then I wouldn’t see that much of the cabin due to the bucket front seats and I wanted to see more of the cabin in this shot.

At the end of the shoot the sun was blazing in the sky and so I went around and shot a few more details with the red front sun-visor being the main one I wanted to get the light through it to emphasis the vivid colour.

The final article above…

This was a good change to the normal quiet winter and pleased I wore thermals and water-proof trousers as there was plenty of lying down in heather and moorland!

Until next time.

Jona : )

In the Dales Green-laning

Its always nice to get into the Dales and mix business with pleasure. The 2nd green lane shoot for Landrover Owner International. Decided to get up there the night before so we could get going with out issue first thing in the morning.

I’m really liking these jobs in the sense as its just using the bare minimum of kit. I take over the top really as you never know but really its just a wide, telephoto and the old 50mm and away you go.

3 defenders for the day and three dogs ๐Ÿ™‚

The reason why I like these types of jobs is that although there’s a brief you don’t really know you’ve got the best image until really near the end of the day. You need to show the variety of tracks and surfaces, the landscapes, terrain, obstacles etc etc Also individual shots of the vehicles used both front and rear but really the main shot is the opening DPS. The big vista shot that hopefully is inspiring.

The shot above was taken in mind for the ford element but also a possible double page spread.

To get the final shot is wasn’t until 4 hours into the trip that we came to the above location. As the title for the article, ‘Four Seasons in one day’ depicts, it was a real mixed bag with every thing from heavy rain and snow. We had real dense fog, low sunshine with which the landscape kept changing rapidly. The above shot was a few shot before the final opener below. We’d all stopped just for a brief moment as the low cloud just lifted to reveal Pen-y-ghent which had been engulfed all day until then…

I then took off on foot, as ever when your jumping in and out of the Defender to run ahead or stay behind to get the shots needed. Going past the wall you can just see to the left of the picture I got into position for the chosen image and then waved the three defenders onwards.

Think I took about three frames of this set up with the defenders at various points along the track but keeping them left of shot so they wouldn’t be lost in the gutter of the page. About 100 yds in front of the three defenders you can see a slight left then right bend in the track.

This was taken at that point…. this was used but as a vertical crop again the reason I shoot with the D810 as the rather large file sizes allow a lot of crop without loosing definition. (see below for final spreads)

This one above was one of the last images shot for the day and just tried to get another DPS or page filler…

As well as the opening big shot they like to use a small tight images of all the vehicles for the front cover as a taster… This one above taken fairly early on in the day to get some in the bag.

This one made the cover and again a tight crop which turned out a decent little image.

Just to show the extreme fog we had on the tops, framing in my mind for text to drop over the sky.

Also remembering to capture verticals and individual images of the vehicles. Seeing this little ford its a case of just stopping everyone and jumping out, getting into position and shooting a few frames. I took some landscape and vertical as above, ones where the water is frozen and then with a little more motion as above.

Once you get some shots in the bag and settle into the day you tend to only get out if the shot your about to take is going to give you something different that you’ve already got. The above shot was simple enough to get onto the footbridge and get each defender coming through the water. The gground coming down the slight incline there was slippy and so its not a rushed or frenzied approach.

Trying to get a little bit of story telling as well, locations and things to see along the way.

Another opportunity to get all three close to each other with another angle.

You can be forever running up hills and trying to find another interesting angle to keep things interesting for the reader but also for me ๐Ÿ™‚

Took this image as we ended up turning the engines off as the guy on his horse had a lot to say…. didn’t mind as this was nearing the end of the day and the low sun just came out of the clouds and had a great tone to it… beats working ๐Ÿ˜‰

The image above … well its only happened 3 times for me over 20 years while on a job and a rainbow comes out. I’m really loathed in shooting them as its just so twee’ … especially for a photographer but how they used one of the shots was good. Plus were talking in the Defender on how the day is panning and how the article could be written. The title was already set dew to the weather we had so on that basis I took the images as it was weather related ๐Ÿ˜‰

Final impromptu stop above for a final leg stretch before we all went our separate ways. A great day and was really pleased with some of the images.

Only 6 pages but liked the images chosen for this one ๐Ÿ™‚


Which would you pick???

This shoot was for Land Rover Owner International Magazine. This shoot will ever been ingrained in my head, not for the side wind and rain atop the Yorkshire Dales which proved interesting but for the fact that I was just getting over two days of a sick bug and was still a little green…

The joys of working for yourself ; )

JJP_7355 JJP_7401

We started off with some statics and getting a few detailed images to go with this specific article… Not a green-lane article or an individual piece but this was asking the question which of these two would you choose for a weekend ‘toy’ if you will…


Not knowing if this was a potential cover shoot I looked for opportunities to get a few cover angles in the day. This above was a track we stopped on because of a nice puddle of water just out of shot at the bottom but also lent itself to a decent long scenic view. Of course coupled with rolling fog!

JJP_7452ย  JJP_7471

These two images were obviously at the same location but were taken about 1 min apart. The one on the left was the first run and again looking for a potential cover or a full page image. The clouds were moving fast and I asked for another run and sure enough just as the ‘defenders’ (easier to call them both defenders even if technically they aren’t!!) were gone over the crest of the hill for the second run the clouds suddenly cleared for the second pass…. on the right.

document2812939690158386830.indd JJP_7715

The final DPS above and the original image. Having the D810 as I mentioned in a previous blog, is really helpful as you have soo much detail and file size that if you crop a good third of the image out you can still very easily use that for a full double page spread.


We carried on a few green-lanes and kept hoping out at certain points to set up a few drive-byes. On a foggy day you can get some pleasing muted colours which just suit the ‘defenders’ and a scene that for me epitomises the make and model.


Stood in a heavy rain coat and over trousers I was fairly comfortable (apart from being sick!) but the rain I couldn’t do anything about. I was soon running out of clean lens cloths to try and dry the front element as a fare few of the images had rain circles on them…


Sometimes its easy to forget about a rear shot so when an opportunity stares you in the face you grab it and say thank you : ) … again the flat sky had a little definition in the clouds so without over doing it making it a little dramatic helps along the way.

JJP_7687 JJP_7758

The image above was at the highest point of the day and the wind was fairly sideways! …. The portrait shot on the right I was definitely thinking of a cover shot.


This was never used in the article but was taken shortly after we set off… For me the Series 1 was fun but the 90 would be my choice, a little more creature comforts and a far more comfy!



Series 1 Landrover Resto

A quick article for Landrover Owner International which we documented that saw a 1st time restoration project. This was at the time I shot it the nearest magazine shoot to me…which was a nice change.

We ended up doing the tracking shots about 2 miles from my house, as that was the only roads I knew well enough that would be quiet enough to hopefully get some images.JJP_0941

For me I was happy with the results from these tracking shots. A bit of post work to give them something as the day was damp, foggy and really flat. I can’t really imagine shooting this defender in a nice sunny scene for some reason….I think that day suited it.


This one on a 90 degree bend was the closet I’d like to have got… but still made a decent shot.


The only rear shot we got…complete with telegraph antenna. I could quite easily take out the post but leave the image as a good starting point for the art editor to have a little room to move on.


The interior is what it is and this being an everyday ride did its job well.


We did a few panning shots with some puddles to splash through… I’ve posted this one as yes I knew I was going to get a little spray but it turned out to be a tad more!!

Once I get the layouts I’ll post in the ‘In Print’ Section.

until next time…


LRM – May Cover

(Little late in posting this one…. but here goes)

Trip down to the Norfolk north coast was in order to shoot the 3 soft top Land Rovers to mark the start of summer…

The sky was blue, the sun was out but…. while waiting for the vehicles to arrive the clouds came in slowly which was not the best to try and show the start of summer.

JJP_1204 set up 850px

To catch what was let of the sun and blue sky we got straight on to shoot the cover. The first bay we got moved on which didn’t help the cause. We eventually got to bay 2 and got a couple of covers shot and a couple of set ups before heading off to get some other shots.


This was the final image for the cover were you can see some sky work was done to help the ‘Summer’ feel. There are some things you can control….the weather is not one of them.


The set up image above shows the couple of lights we used… The long wheel based Land Rover which is on the cover is a very dark black with a hint of purple so the lights just help lift the paintwork and help with the lack of sun…

Although the sun kept coming in and out cracked on and got the covers shot.


Out of all three, the one that had me was ‘Tembo’. The most utilitarian of the three. An ex army model from Canada. The own had converted and made this Land Rover into …. well it was great. So much so I even got a mention in the copy…

“Our photographer Jonathan Jacob quickly fell in love with Tembo and when we moved from the beach to one of the nearby greenlanes he managed to sneak a ride in Tembo.”

Even if that ride was only 10 mins it was great. The temperature was dropping and got a bit brass but the cock-pit in Tembo was really warm and for me a great way to travel down that there greenlane. : )


Has to be said this was my first shoot with 3 cars… To get the angle of the story, what if any will be the main vehicle, the lead story. The owners were all accommodating and willing for us to try a few things out.


With the first two Land Rovers shot we had the last one… a short wheel, tuned up by ‘Tune My Defender’.


Again lit from both sides at the front to lift the dark body work and to help the failing sun.


Was a pleasure to work with LRM on this shoot and look forward to the next opportunity.


As ever till next time.


You can see the final layouts in my portfolio here.