After I finished shooting Simon McKinley’s Escort MKII, and had experienced it from the passenger seat, I knew I had to find out where this power plant comes from. It didn’t take much effort to arrange a visit, a quick e-mail to Connaught Competition Engines and before I knew it, I was standing in their reception area. I’ve wrote about my visit and the history of CCE already for Speedhunters so I won’t repeat myself. I will echo the amazing feeling I got from the moment I set foot inside. No fanciness, just an enviable focus on producing a product that performs. I’d like to thank Phil and all the staff at Connaught Competition Engines for making me feel so welcome during my visit. Shot for Speedhunters.com Connaught Competition Engines
It was back in August last year when I took a couple of days off from a hectic Speedhunting schedule to unwind and reset my brain. Since I was in the area, it would have been rude not to use the familiar surroundings of Nürburg village as my base for a few days… The Nürburgring and the area surrounding it is beyond superlatives. It is the most important motoring region in the world. Staying at the Lindner Hotel with a room that opened out onto the Green Hell itself, I spent the morning relaxing on the balcony, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the day. It was the sounds that day in particular that caught my attention. Throughout the course of the morning, the sound of a high revving combustion engine echoed around the hills. The sound was unlike anything I had ever heard before or since for that matter. I’m the sort who struggles to wind down, so after twenty minutes sitting in my room, I took to the roads in an attempt to pass the time before the Nordschleife opened its gates for us tourists. Even on a Monday afternoon, in the middle of August, the Nordschleife is no less intimidating. No photograph or video that I’ve ever seen has accurately portrayed the inclines, descents and off camber nature of the course. I sat trackside at Pflanzgarten for quite a while, just taking things in. The track was quiet save for a camouflaged Civic Type R doing some filming. With time ticking closer to opening hours, I made my way to the car park at the Nordschleife’s entrance where I found more cars present than I had expected. With around half an hour before the track opened to the public, I parked my car in the shade […]
Sometimes the stress of everyday life can take its toll. We all have our ways of relaxing and letting off steam but my personal favourite is a spirited drive across a familiar piece of tarmac. Earlier this year I was introduced to the A4069 in Wales whilst on assignment for Speedhunters. Although I was working that day, I knew I needed to come back at some stage and really spend the time learning and appreciating the route which cuts through the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. Fortunately for me, the road isn’t too far out of my way when travelling from Ireland to London, so I make a point of taking the slightly longer route whenever I can. I’ve already wrote about the experience on Speedhunters (link below) so I won’t bore you with my ramblings. Before I finish I just want to say, I’m already looking forward to the next trip… Pursuing Performance on Speedhunters
I’m sure a lot of other photographers will relate to this, but the last thing you want to do when you’re on holiday or ‘off the clock’ is to lug your DSLR around with you. At the same time, being a photographer is something you can’t switch off so it’s always best to have a capable camera to hand. I’ve never really bonded with traditional point and shoot cameras before, I’ve just never used one where the quality was good enough for me. Back in 2010, Sony released the first of their mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras – the NEX-3 & NEX-5. At the time, this was exactly what I was looking for – a small capable camera with the potential for expansion down the line. It’s taken me nearly three years to write this review, but it’s only looking back that I’ve come to appreciate just how important the NEX-5 has become in my arsenal of equipment. Although it has no doubt been replaced several times over by newer and fancier versions, I’ve never really felt the urge to update this compact. It’s magnesium alloy construction has ensured that it has stood the test of time. Even looking at it now on the desk beside me, it still looks like a new camera. Its 14.2 megapixels has always been more than I’ve ever needed and its dynamic range still blows me away. It can get a little bit noisy higher up in the ISO range but I still find it more than usable at ISO800. I originally purchased this camera with the ‘pancake’ 16mm f2.8 and the more versatile 18-55 f/3.5-f/5.6 OSS kit lenses. When equipped with the 16mm (25.6mm equivalent on 35mm) lens, the camera is very compact and can be discreetly carried on your person. Quality wise, it’s […]
It’s actually quite difficult to write a review of a year whilst trying to avoid every cliché available. I guess it is always good to take the time to look back and appreciate things and learn from mistakes. Speaking personally, 2012 was a bit of a hit and miss year. Although there were certainly some fantastic moments, there was also a lot of time that needed to be endured rather than enjoyed. Photography wise, I don’t think I built upon my technical skills and ideas as much as I would have liked to, mostly due to a lack of field work in comparison to other years. However, these are all things I can focus on for 2013 and try to evolve further as a photographer. I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who comes here, to those of you who take your time to send me e-mails and everyone I’ve interacted with over the last twelve months. I hope that your best moments of 2012 are your worst ones in 2013.
We all have dreams and goals in our lives. Some are big, some are small but with enough work and dedication everyone of them is achievable. You just need to want it bad enough. Throughout my photography career, I have and continue to work towards two goals. 1) Shoot a full season of Formula One and 2) Shoot for CAR. I can now scratch the latter of the list. A couple of weeks back, I received an e-mail from Ben Barry, the deputy editor of CAR in the UK. He asked me if I was free at the end of June for a shoot that I’d have particular interest in, but couldn’t elaborate until closer to the date. Intrigued, I ensured my calendar was free and agreed to meet CAR writer Ben Pulman at a secret test track outside of London. A couple of days before the shoot, I received a brief with three important words: GT86, AE86 & Tsuchyia. Those of you with an interest in drifting will surely recognize the name Keiichi Tsuchyia, also known as the ‘Drift King’. Tsuchyia-san is the godfather of drifting, and without doubt one of the most important people in the history of the sport. CAR wanted to celebrate his history whilst also exploring his involvement with Toyota’s new GT86. The brief I received illustrated clearly what CAR wanted from the shoot, and allowed me to plan in advance what equipment I would be relying on. Unfortunately, on the day of the shoot my appendix decided it no longer wanted to be a part of me. Shooting in much discomfort and pain, I was limited in my movement and abilities. It was pretty upsetting, as this was something I wanted to deliver 110% but I just couldn’t. I pushed on as much as […]
Post processing a digital photograph is one of the most important aspects of modern photography. Sure, you’ll hear plenty people complaining that it’s ‘cheating‘ but you’ll usually also notice the same people can’t tell their arse from their elbow when it comes to editing an image. After all, even traditional film photographs need to be dodged, burned, exposed etc. before they are fit for purpose. I guess it comes down to each individual situation. Personally, if I’m shooting an event I’ll limit my PP work to a minimum in order to ensure I can get my photographs out as soon as possible and also to give a fair and honest reflection of what occurred. I do think it’s wrong to remove / add items to an image which is to be used for traditional journalism purposes. That is cheating in my opinion. If you’re tasked to create an image fit for advertising or promotional use, then all bets are off. It’s requires a huge amount of thought and vision both during the shoot and through the processing stage. Although I currently don’t shoot a whole lot of commercial work, it’s something I’m interested in. Whenever I have spare time, I usually find myself searching the web for the best contemporary examples of high end commercial photography. I then try and figure out how the image was lit and processed and see if I can replicate it. This is all part of a personal drive to improve my skill set. What I’ve included below is the images which were used in the creation of the above image. It was pretty much an afterthought to use this shot so there are definitely a lot of things I would have changed if I was shooting it again. But what I really wanted to […]