At the time of writing, I’ve been working freelance longer this year than I had been as a contractor. It’s only a small amount of time, but I’ve learned that it has been important to enjoy every victory that comes my way. Other victories that I welcome are invoices that are paid on time and messages from Audi Ireland to come and collect another ‘S’ series car…
The S1 quattro is the latest new ‘S’ car to be introduced to the Irish market. Whilst it shares its name with the iconic Group B car, the similarities between the two are limited. As the top tier A1 model, the S1 features some impressive numbers and statistics: 230hp, 370Nm, 0-100 in 5.8s and an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. All of which is transferred to the road via its quattro four wheel drive system. The model I had the pleasure of shooting was the Sportback variant, featuring an extra two doors over the three door hatch. Perfect for loading camera equipment into then.
If you’re reading this from outside of Ireland, you might not be aware that – for a change – we’ve been enjoying a rather spectacular summer here. The downside to the great weather is that the rest of the population has the notions of going outside and visiting scenic venues dotted around the country. This makes finding a location quite difficult indeed…
I collected the car on Friday morning before heading straight back to Waterford. With a harsh sun shining on the south east, I took this time to clean and prepare the car for an evening shoot. With any car, I’m always careful to ensure the paint is kept in its best possible condition and even more so with a brand new car. This means using cleaning methods that are paint safe and will not add swirls, holograms or and light scratches to the clear coat. It’s much more time consuming than just driving the car through a brush wash or even a hand wash at a local shopping centre. But, for the peace of mind that knowing the car is going to be pristine, the extra time and effort is worth it.
Once the car was ready, I took the relatively short trip to Mahon Falls in Co. Waterford. With an open car park near the falls themselves, it provides enough room to comfortably shoot the car against the backdrop. Thankfully, there were only a handful of others enjoying the sights so it gave me more room to manoeuvre around. With the day being calm (both figuratively and literally), it was a good opportunity to deploy my flash heads for what felt like the first time in an eternity. Working alone, it took a couple of hours to grab just a handful of shots. They were worth it though, in my opinion. With the sun setting but with cloud cover increasing, it was also the perfect opportunity to grab a friend and capture some panning and action shots of the car as it made its way over and back across the narrow mountain road into the Falls. A perfect way to wrap up the day. Thank you, Derek.
Saturday, unfortunately, saw a break in the weather. Whilst the rain stayed away (just about), there was a dramatic fall in temperature and back at Mahon Falls, a significant increase in wind. The latter of which forced me to leave the flash heads in the car and to return to shooting with available light. It wasn’t really something that bothered me as the light was quite nice and I enjoy shooting in this manner anyways. In fact, I’ve spent the last couple of months focusing on getting as much as possible right in-camera. This might mean more time shooting, but isn’t that preferable over more time in front of a screen after the fact? The day was spent completing a comprehensive shot-list provided by the client, and re-shooting some of the previous day’s compositions (so as they would match in colour tone if they needed to be used as a complete set).
Sunday was spent grabbing some surplus images, but this time in an urban environment. With a 5AM alarm call and the city still sleeping, it was the perfect opportunity to grab some rig shots. We were fortunate enough to be granted access to the grounds of the new House of Waterford Crystal, situated within Waterford’s Viking Triangle. This allowed us the space and freedom to shoot the car, without inconveniencing others.
With the car due to be delivered to the first journalist the next morning, after I returned it, I wanted to have the images delivered ASAP. After each day’s shoot, I would flag the picks and grade them up to scratch. Come Sunday evening, I had everything finished but also had the comfort to check everything and check them again. Like I mentioned above, spending more time in-camera cuts down on the amount of time in post processing. A huge bonus in this instance.
I’ve attached just a small selection of the finished shots below, including some behind the scenes shots and even an iPhone shot to give you an idea of the location I was working with. If you have any questions, please get in touch with me at any time.