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 .


Skyline GT

Its a small world…

This Skyline I saw back in Feb this year at London Excel for the London Classic Car Show. A great looking car and sounded not too shabby as well… It was back to the North East for this ‘Epic Restoration’ for Classic Cars Mag.


As all the other Epic Restoration shoots, (XJ220, Lea Francis Sport) its fairly image light with the main opening DPS image as a static image within the workshop / garage.


A few units beside each other with this body shop unit the only space we could use… One main studio light to light the front of the GT up and a speedlight to light the offside wheel as the wheels were black they needed a help along the way…

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A really tasteful restoration, plenty of details to capture and the metallic silver finish really looked good.

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Even the engine bay was just as impressive as the rest of the GT…

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This car had bags of history and one previous owner from new. The items on the left above were an original 8 track cassette from factory. Two bottles of race fuel additives, a Chinese drivers lucky charm and the original torch that came with the car from factory which was still in working order. All the documents were there and from just the few stories the currecnt owner has managed to gather really make this exceptional Skyline stand out…


A couple of lights to lift the car from the background…


Really good to see this car again and to hear the backstory of its life and how it has been creatively restored into this fine example.

More posts to come soon…


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.

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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