cars

2017 - A Period of Growth

On first glance, 2017 seemed like a bit of a letdown after the whirlwind of 2016. 2016 was all about crazy new experiences. That year, I flew to Pikes Peak with media credentials to live with a race team, flew to Texas for another team and followed them to New Orleans, and flew back to Colorado for an endurance race. Other than a brief trip to Detroit at the beginning for 2017 for the NAIAS, the farthest I went for work was Topeka. Glamorous, right?

But the more I dig through this years photos (of which there were a lot), the more I realize that this year was massive for me, just in a more subtle way. Instead of big bucket-list events, 2017 has been about polishing what’s here. Shooting nearly every day that weather permitted, in a variety of conditions, has forced me to be more accurate and confident in my camera work. As compared to the studio work I used to do at Pure Pursuit, where the light never changed, this year has seen me shooting at all hours of the day, in all types of weather, indoors and out. So I’ve had to get much better at predicting what settings will work, reading my meter, and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

This year I’ve also made it a point to assist photographers who are more talented and educated than I am. I bring nothing to the table other than some manual labor, but I take a lot away. Watching how others work is helping me develop my own composition skills. I have no formal education in photography. Everything I know is from trial and error, and watching a lot of YouTube videos. I’m slowly learning how to stack foreground and background elements around my subjects, as well as how to treat the light as a physical element. Instead of just trying to hide from it, use it. Shoot right into it, catch flares, play with shadow lines.

Does all that make me seem like a pretentious artist?

Sweet.

Here’s to the people that made 2017 possible:

  • Britt-for going location scouting with me in the middle of the night, tagging along for rainy photoshoots, and generally being the most encouraging and supportive partner imaginable.
  • Travis Carroll-for letting me tag along on shoots and learn how real photographers work, while showing me what’s really possible.
  • Travis Young-for generally being a rad dude, and reminding me that this shit is supposed to be fun
  • Tom-for loaning me equipment that I couldn’t afford
  • Joe-for tagging along on late night shoots to make sure I don’t get hit by a car or stabbed by a hobo.
  • Robert and Kris-for giving me a shocking amount of creative freedom, and trusting me with cars worth more than my house.

Apologies to anyone I missed.

Without further ado: my best shots of 2017.

Descending like the Mongol horde.

 

Sunrise. Two photographers. Three videographers. Six cars worth a total of $360,000. 2,854 horsepower….Magic.

My biggest client, Pure Pursuit Automotive, is a nationwide dealer and broker for “sport luxury” cars. Basically, if it costs over $40,000 or has more than 300hp, they deal in it. A while ago, I got pulled in for a fast, run-and-gun shoot at the crack of dawn. We needed to churn out as much content as possible before the light changed and spoiled the setting.

The West Bottoms is basically a cliche now for photographers in Kansas City.  For those non-locals, it's a section of the city that used to be thriving with slaughterhouses and warehouses, but has since fallen into disrepair.  It is on it's way back up, but is still rather gritty.  The rusted girders and scarred bricks lend a shocking contrast to the gleaming luxury rides.

2013 BMW M5

I had to work quickly, as I still have a full-time day job in addition to my contract work.  So when the rest of the team rolled in a bit before seven o'clock in the morning, we rallied the troops and started divvying up the work.  By the way, if you've never seen a pack of M5s, Stingrays, 911s, etc roll down the street at sunrise, it will bring a tear to your eye.  So the game plan was to split the photo work in half, and have me tackle two cars in an hour before I hit the road.

First up was that Bavarian brute, the M5.  I am a sucker for BMW, and always have been.  This might be a result of my father owning a 2002 when I was growing up.  I directed the driver to a favorite little courtyard of mine, and I got to work.  Seeing how we were on a time-crunch, I just went hand-held with no lights the whole time, which was tricky. Seven in the morning, in an alley, with a polarizing filter on the lens really cuts down on the available light.

Now that's a set of brakes.

After we finished the BMW, we swung back by our bivouc to swap vehicles.  From there I hopped into a 2014 Stingray with another driver.  Now, I was never the biggest Corvette fan back in the day.  The C6 was a substantial improvement over earlier generations, but the interior just felt so cheap.  A car of that potential should not feel like a rental Cobalt inside.  But the C7 Stingray is just stunning in person.  It photographs well, don't get me wrong, but in person, those just have PRESENCE.  It may not be pretty in the traditional sense, but goddamn is it striking.

Now that's an entrance.

Shooting on this little bridge reminded me of why I love Kansas City.  We parked in the dead center of the road (granted, it's mostly a utility road, not a main thoroughfare), and whenever work trucks came by, they waited patiently for us to move, and weren't upset at all.  I love cities in which weird art projects are considered mundane.

By this time the sun was up higher, but still not throwing much light down underneath where we sat.  This was very much run-and-gun, as the clock was running out, and we kept having to move for traffic to pass.  Once I wrapped up, we headed back to the rest of the team, and I hurried off to my other job.

All in all, a successful, and educational, morning.






Cars and Coffee

This weekend I attended a Cars and Coffee event hosted by the Kansas City Auto Museum in Olathe.  It was their first event like this, but they had a surprising turnout.  I didn't shoot too much there, as I actively dislike taking photos of cars crammed into parking lots.  You have very little freedom in the way of composition.

I did get to see a couple interesting cars, though.  Most noticeably a BMW 2002, a BMW Z3 M Coupe, and a Lotus Elise.  Those probably aren't rare out on the coasts, but for us in the suburban Midwest, they were certainly unexpected treats.

To offset the uninspiring scenery and composition, I went a little flashier than normal on the edits.  Some of them are on the border of being too Instagram-esque, but it was a fun experiment.

 

E30 racecar.

Mmm....Lotus.

All in the family.ac