Studio Sessions

Over a century of automotive history, all displayed within 25,000 square feet. Forty years in the making, Studio434 is now the home to over 160 cars and 60 motorcycles. An extensive and privately owned collection, it's primary use is as a museum and storage facility, whilst offering rental options for advertising and TV. By no coincidence,  at the back of the mezzanine floor lies a purpose built photographic studio with an infinity cove.

Working with Studio434 to photograph their impressive collection, it soon became clear that this could be a service available to private clients and car clubs. This has proved a huge success with top marques such as Aston Martin and their Heritage Trust, collaborating on their centenary project.

With the cyclorama measuring 8x8x2.2 metres, the studio space is able to accommodate almost any vehicle. Working in a controlled environment, it is possible to change lighting setups from shooting in high key to changing the mood and creating automotive art with dramatic effects. Better still, whilst your pride and joy is in the spotlight you are welcome to look around the impressive collection at Studio434.

Located just two minutes from junction 24 of the M25, we have seen clients travel from as far as Wales. If you are interested in having your car photographed, please feel free to get in touch.


Blancpain Endurance Series - Von Ryan Racing's McLaren MP4-12C GT3

Come rain or shine, the opportunity to involve myself with a professional motorsport outfit such as Von Ryan Racing is something I would grab with both hands. That said, the weekend just gone was very much filled with the earlier part of that statement....rain.

Some of you may recall last year when I photographed Stephen Jelley and his Porsche Carrera 911 GT3 Cup car. This year, Stephen is racing around the globe for Von Ryan Racing in one of their McLaren MP4-12C GT3 race cars, and I headed off to the only British round, Silverstone, to meet the team.

With only 20 race-prepped 12C GT3's being manufactured for 2012, Von Ryan Racing were announced as one of the first teams to get their hands on two marques for the Blancpain Endurance Series. CEO of McLaren Racing, Martin Whitmarsh said "Our clients are looking forward to receiving a GT car full of Formula 1 technology". It's thanks to this that you will find features such as a steering wheel design deployed by Lewis Hamilton in his MP4-24 Formula 1 car.

With the rain continuing to hammer down outside the pit lane door, it gave me the chance to get up close and personal with the 12C-GT3 race car. Ron Dennis (Executive Chairman of McLaren) is well known for his 'clinical' nature, with his factories having workshop floors so clean, you'd happily eat off them. With that in mind, for the next shot I created a minimalistic look, losing distracting elements and detail outside the door as a McLaren GT mechanic continued to work on the car.

The Blancpain Endurance Series competes across international circuits such as Monza, Spa Francorchamps and Silverstone featuring grand tourer race cars modified from production road vehicles. With the three-hour race drawing closer, the team of mechanics set about final preparations, one of which included bringing the engine up to temperature. The thunderous noise of the 3.8L McLaren V8 Twin Turbo echoed throughout pit garages as numerous sets of wet weather tyres were prepared...

Before the team made their way to the water-logged grid, the first of the Draper brothers strapped himself into the hot seat for the first stint, whilst other team members eagerly looked on at the timing screens...

These cars can exhaust all of their fuel in little over an hour, so pit stops are a chance to refuel, fit new tyres and swap drivers. Air jacks are fired from underneath the car, where single nut wheels are removed with airlines, meaning a tyre change takes only a matter of seconds. The tank is brimmed with 97 litres in less than 40 seconds and the new driver is strapped in. An exhilarating, adrenaline filled experience.

Unfortunately Von Ryan Racing's second car (pictured above) suffered a collision in the opening stage of the race, splitting the radiator and resulting in a loss of coolant. Undeterred, the team of mechanics set about fitting a new radiator during a pit stop and managed to get the car back out in the race with little time lost...

The 12C GT3 car features a new front splitter, door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvres in the front fenders which make it look at home on any circuit.

It's only the second race meeting for these cars, but they have quickly earned the title of 'worlds most expensive flame-thrower'. Apparently, during a 24 hour race at Spa, it's not uncommon to see these cars produce blue-flames down the entire length of the back straight, something i'd love to see and capture!

The clatter of spanners and smell of race fuel brought back fond memories of when my brother and I used to compete many years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed being back in the pit lane and documenting the atmosphere of a high-brow race team, an absolute pleasure to work with such a fantastic crew. For a full gallery from the day, please feel free to click here.

Events - DTM 2012, Brands Hatch

You'd be hard pushed to describe DTM cars using words alone. The 2012 season is well underway, and this weekend sees the British round take place at Brands Hatch Race Circuit in Kent.

It's great to see BMW making a comeback in the series with their devastatingly good looking BMW M3 DTM. The 4 Litre Naturally Aspirated V8 engine makes a brutal noise as it thunders round the 1.1mile circuit, throwing flames from the side-exit exhaust:

Seeming to deny the laws of physics and navigate corners at impossible speeds, this is one motorsport event I look forward to each year.

With this being Brands Hatch, and one of my favourite 'spectator' circuits to photograph from, the obligatory 'Druids' shot was repeated on the impressive looking BMW M3 DTM of Augusto Farfus, lights ablaze...

This years coupes look fantastic, and interesting liveries/aerodynamic packages make it my favourite motorsport event to photograph. Gary Paffett placed his AMG Mercedes C-Coupé on pole, with home crowds having high hopes for the Englishman to take victory on home turf tomorrow.

Photoshoot - Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato In The Studio

With the car currently under auction at Monaco, this is one Aston Martin that James Bond won't be getting his hands on. After our photoshoot in the scrapyard, the last thing Evanta wanted me to cover was some studio style 'brochure' shots. These images would be used in the upcoming DB4 Zagato brochure and fact sheets.

Using the infinity white cove at Studio434 was a first for me, and a great chance to experiment with some different style shots. Not only that, it was a great chance to witness the impressive collection that resides in the very same building. I could have happily spent hours taking a look around the collection of fascinating cars.

The detailing and execution on this car is simply stunning. I briefly mentioned in my previous post that this DB4 GT Zagato had a customised Oxblood Red Hide interior, combining certain components from the original DB7 donor car. With it still retaining luxuries such as air-conditioning, airbags and heated seats, this Zagato is certainly a pleasant place to be. With these cars being built to order, measurements are taken for pedal and seat size to ensure a bespoke fit.

Working in this cove meant the use of constant lights, something i'm not overly familiar with (but soon grew to love) and can see myself working further in this way. CT Gels are necessary when mixing flash and constant light as there is always a big discrepancy between colour temperatures. With all of the necessary shots now captured, we turned off the house lights and started to get a little creative with the Elinchrom Quadra's day-light balanced modelling light.

Lightpainting, a technique whereby an external light source is 'painted' selectively over the car, illuminating or highlighting certain areas of your subject. Conditions were not ideal with some natural light entering the studio from nearby skylights, which hindered the shutter speeds somewhat. As such the above and below images were created from multiple (6-7) frames, having different sections of the car illuminated each time and composited later.

It creates a surreal effect and makes the car take on a whole new appearance, emphasising the curves of the car (ideally suited for the nature of this car). In my personal opinion these shots stand out above the rest and will no doubt be found printed onto metallic papers in my portfolio. Working in ways like this just goes to show how versatile one piece of equipment can be, and the Elinchrom Quadra system which I could no longer be without has come up trumps again!

Once again it was an absolute pleasure to work with Evanta on their DB4 Zagato. If you're interested in checking out the auction of their car, you can visit COYS website here. Thanks for reading and if you found this post interesting, don't forget to share it! :-)

Photoshoot - Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

For most, the thought of returning to work hours after landing back from holiday isn't appealing. That is, until you see whats booked in. At the London Motor Show in 1960, Aston Martin unveiled another masterpiece. Their DB4 GT had been placed in the capable hands of coachbuilders Zagato, where a smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic version was hand sculpted. With initial plans to build 25 cars, demand at the time was low and Zagato ceased production after their 20th unit. This makes the DB4 Zagato one of the most valuable sports car of all time, with opportunities to purchase one being extremely rare.

That is, until now. Built to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the original Zagato, Evanta Motor Company have created a classic Gran Turismo fused with modern day technology. This blend, on what is often regarded by many as the most beautiful GT car of all time makes the culmination of over two years hard work time well spent.

With just five days between completion and shipping it off to Monaco for auction, we headed to a contrasting location to capture some publicity shots. Evanta's creation is simply flawless, with it's one piece body shell being hand crafted from modern day carbon fibre and kevlar materials.

There's more to this car than meets the eye, as some of you may have noticed that this DB4 Zagato in particular features widened arches and no door handles. That is because this 1960's based Aston Martin has well and truly been brought into the 21st century.

Life for this car started out as an Aston Martin DB7, before Evanta removed the heavy exterior bodywork and reduced the wheelbase from 102" to the Zagato's original 93". The exterior stays true to an original Zagato (bar a few touches here and there), but the similarities end there. Nearly every component on this car is bespoke, from the suspension and braking system to the Oxblood Red Hide interior.

Evanta certainly made this DB4 Zagato look the part, and they wanted to make sure it had the power to match. Shoehorned in under the bonnet is the V12 engine from the donor DB7. That means that this classic GT features a modern day ECU-Driven, Tiptronic fed, Aston Martin V12 Supercar engine.

Creature comforts such as air-conditioning, airbags and remote controlled door actuators are all features on this car whilst a race-spec roll cage is hidden beneath the interior. One can only imagine what it is like to drive this race-bred GT, but being the only car of its kind in existence I doubt I will ever get to find out. If the noise it makes is anything to go by, it will simply be phenomenal.

The car is currently making it's way to Monaco to be auctioned. If your interested in finding out more about this truly unique, one off creation, you can visit Evanta's website here for a photographic build diary.

With a keen passion for everything car related, I really enjoyed working with Evanta and the beautiful DB4 Zagato. Look forward to seeing what other creations roll out of their workshop in the future!

Photoshoot - Honda S2000 GT

Something I haven't done in quite a while, is photograph the other passion in my life. I'm a keen automotive enthusiast, stemming from a background in racing during my teen years. Owning a Honda S2000 GT has always been a dream of mine. Everything about the car appeals to me, from the convertible roof right through to the 240bhp 2.0Litre 9,000rpm screaming F20C engine. Theres something particularly nice about their only being two seats?!

Having owned this car now a total of three weeks, I am happy to say it exceeds every expectation i've ever had of owning one. Truely a superb car which has sparked me into dabbling abit more with my automotive photography. Hopefully I am able to adapt all that i've learnt over the years into producing some cracking shots to show off this iconic sports car.