Lancashire Automotive Photography – Vintage Cars Hit Leyland

Lancashire Automotive Photography – Vintage Cars Hit Leyland

Winters coming and the weather is getting a bit more un predictable. For this reason the show seasons over which means I have to grab every opportunity I can to get out there and photograph cars (or anything else for that matter). This time my cousin had told me of a small display of vintage cars in Leyland at Worden park where I had been earlier in the year for the Un-phased Show.

I headed off one Sunday to go have a look it was only a small event with a handful of cars but the quality was good and attention to detail and hard work gone into the preservation of the cars made up for the small amount of cars.

The cars ranged from little minis which are still on the road today to big rare Mercedes 350’s the likes Adolf Hitler used to own. This was the makings for some interesting images. As the cars of yesteryear are always that bit different of the cars of today as design and materials are massively different due to safety and cost issues of todays market.

Where else would you find wooden spokes on a car? or belts holding the bonnet down? The whole look of the cars are unique to the times they were produced the big box like shape of the old Austin’s to the silique lines of an MG Midget also the technology vastly differs like crank handles for instance what was the means of starting the car 70+ years ago would never be dreamed of in today’s world and probably if you showed a kid of today a crank handle they wouldn’t have a clue what it was for and wouldn’t believe them if you told them.

I might not photograph or pay attention to the older cars in my photography but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them I found the day a breath of fresh air looking round the cars, Looking how different the cars were back then. Unlike now how advanced the technology has come from good old mechanical problem solving ways back then. To the 1000’s of sensors I have on my 5 series BMW that seem to do nothing apart from bring up warning lights and flash at me when something as simple as a cd skips.

Overall I saw the day as an education on how far we have come in the car world with technology and design rather than a day for photographing. Not that its bad thing as the cars on show were really looked after and couldn’t fault the time and work that had gone into the preservation and restoration of the cars on show. Hopefully I will get myself to some more events like this in the future possibly a few hill climbs events or the super car Sunday that runs through the summer at mitten hall.

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    Model Photography Manchester – Portfolio Build up


    Model Photography Manchester – Portfolio Build up

    One of my friends was in the middle of expanding her portfolio and was after adding a few new images to add to it. She asked me if I was interested in shooting her, As I hadn’t done a model shoot for quite a bit I jumped at the chance.

    Nat came up with the idea that she wanted a shoot with her car, As cars are a big passion of hers and as she owned a Subaru impreza this would be the perfect car to use for the shoot. Next was for the location as another photographer James Lu from Birmingham was jumping in on the shoot and was visting friends in Manchester we decided that Manchester would be a good spot as I know Manchester best out of the three of us I took it upon myself to find a location I turned up at the meeting spot half hour early and had a scout round the surrounding areas and found a few nice sports for the shoot I had in mind within the Trafford park area .

    With the location now sorted I met Nat and James and showed them to the final location. My lenses of choice for the day was going to be mostly my Nikon 50mm f1.8 and my Sigma 18-70mm F2.8 which would be bolted to my Nikon d7100. In addition to this I decided I would use a bit of off camera flash (SB700) to add that bit of special something to the images but used mostly as a fill light.

    We went through the shoot changing poses and locations around the carpark the area was different with each wall offering a different backdrop be it the corrugated metal of a warehouse wall or a red brick wall topped in barbed wire these all added to different looks for the images. This also gave quite an industrial/urban feel to the images which tied in well with Nat’s choice of clothing.

    I continued to shoot for the hour getting some great images in camera which made me excited to get back to the computer and edit the pictures from the evenings shoot. If I was to do the shoot again I would probably want to choose the time of day so I had more light to play with through the windows to add more of a lighter feel to the pictures but apart from that I felt the whole photo shoot was a success.

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      Automotive Photography Silverstone – Trax 2014

      Photography Silverstone – Trax 2014

      Well the time is back again for me end of the car show season for me and as normal I attended the car show finale for me which was trax. The show is held at world famous Silverstone circuit in the UK.

      The weekend started on the Saturday due to early entry into the show and also having a show stand with northern modified it ment I would have to travel the day before and stay down Silverstone. Me and a few friends decided to head down a day later and camp. We headed down the M6 at 12 o clock Saturday afternoon hounded by roadwork’s and temporary speed limits. We arrived at the camp site roughly 5 hours later. The tents were pitched up camp at a campsite 5 min away from the circuit at whittle bury park which was quite a really nice campsite compared to some of the fields I have been stuck on for a car show.

      After a night of barbeque food and banter and a bit of camera experimenting (long exposure experiment in picture above) I went to bed for the 6 am start which my body wasn’t going to be happy with. We made the short journey to the petrol station to jet wash the cars off while stood waiting for the car wash saw all the modified cars making way to the show quite a few calling in the petrol station as well. With the cars cleaned we were back on the road we joined the ques to the show however the staff at trax seemed to have it sorted and the queue into the show didn’t last very long and was in before 8am.

      As everyone was setting up I decided to have a walk round with the sky being hazy this made the sun light was quite soft as it was looking it was going to be a very sunny day. Which makes life hard work as a photographer at cars shows. The bright sun and Harsh shadows and light plays havoc with the camera sensor and makes capturing pictures that bit more tricky.

      I walked round the pits and trade stands as knowing how busy this area would be later in the day I thought I would go here first so I could get some images of cars without the general public in the way I called by the time attack pits for a catch up with my friends at Japstone racing and talked myself into a pit lane pass which would help get some track images later in the day. I then carried on walking round the pits and grabbed a few images of the club class and the pro class cars.

      By this time the gates were now open to the public so decided to have a walk round the rest of the show grabbing pictures as I went along trying to find cars that stood out to me and among the vast amounts of Corsa’s, Astra’s and focus RS’s I did find a few cars to take pictures of.

      Next I decide I would go capture some track action the pit lane pass I had been given was going to be used for the time attack knowing that the pit lane was going to be the only un obstructed place I could get any motorsport images from the day at this time I managed to set up the camera for the club and pro classes so I could get them going down the pit straight and also pitting in for the teams to check the cars over when needing to.

      Next I decided I would have a trip over to the grandstand top see what I could see of the BDC drift racing however as I have said in the past Silverstone is very un friendly when it comes to photographers so I ended up just sitting watching the drift racing from the grand stand rather than taking any pictures.

      I Continued my journey around the show managing to get round all the various car clubs grabbing pictures when I could and constantly fighting with the harsh sun light which had no started to hinder my pictures and became a problem but carried on non the less.

      It got to about 4pm and decided to call it a day with over 800 pictures over the two cameras I knew I would have along edit session ahead of me. Overall the day was a good day out trax always proves to be a good show and this year was probably the biggest Trax to date. However I still have the same problem with Silverstone is that of the 10ft fences surrounding the track making photography difficult to capture the track action.


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        Car Show Photography – Trax 2013 Silverstone

        Car Show Photography – Trax 2013

        Automotive Photography - Honda Integra DC2 seen at trax silverstone 2013

        Last Day of the season had come and the destination was Trax 2013 modified car show at Silverstone. Trax is the last car show of the season for me but I also class this as my favourite. It has so much to offer from Drift racing to time attack there’s something for everyone to watch. On top of this the infield of the famous Silverstone track is full of modified cars to look at.

        I arrived at the show at 9am after a little wait in traffic, the sun was out and Really bright making me think that any shooting would have to be before dinner due to the harsh light and strong shadows the sun would create unless we had rain but from the blue skies this didn’t look like it was going to happen.

        Automotive Photography Silverstone - Honda CivicI entered the Silverstone  grounds and parked the car up and got the camera gear out this was all I had with me was my D200, 50mm and kit lens I did have my flash but the remote triggers I had on the day decided they didn’t want to work (which have now been replaced) so that made the flash out of the question as I am not a fan of on camera flash.

        As well as photography I also run a car club in my local area, this gives me opportunity to go to the shows I do and means I normally attend with a big group of friends as I had to shoot quite quickly due to the sun I decided to have a walk round the show by myself grabbing shots when I could this also gives me time to sit and wait for people to pass the cars as I’m by myself I can shoot in my own time without anyone having to wait about for me to get the images I want.
        Automotive Photography Silverstone - Seat Leon Stanced out on some Rotiforms alloy wheels
        I managed to get round the show before dinner but the weather had took a turn from the worse and from the bright sun I was fighting against at first, it now looked like I would be trying to shoot before a storm set as a big dark cloud had appeared over Silverstone. I checked the weather on my phone and the rain was too set in for the rest of the day as I hadn’t had much sleep that weekend due to a couple of nights on the town in Milton Keynes I decided to call it a day and pack the camera up and head off for my 3 hour journey back up north.

        _DSC0038The show was great it had lots to offer the only problem I had with it is due to health and safety Silverstone has surrounded the track with 6 foot high fences making it very unfriendly for me as a photographer. This ruled out me getting any track action images as I didn’t have the views I would at other tracks like Oulton park and Cadwell which means if I am to attend Silverstone again for any motorsport images I am going to either need a media track pass or a bigger telephoto to capture the images I want.

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          Automotive Photography How To: Make An Engine Composite Picture


          Automotive Photography How To: Make An Engine Composite Picture

          Anyone that reads car magazines have no doubt seen the pictures of cars with the invisible bonnet well I have done a few in the past and thought I would do a outline on how I create the pictures with the most basic of photography equipment.

          • What you will need:
                • 1 X Camera
                • 1 X Tripod
                • 1 X Car
                • 1 X Copy of Photoshop or photo editing package
          • Park car in front in the location you plan to shoot, Then Place tripod and camera in front of the car and take a picture.


          • Now leaving the tripod and camera in exactly the same place quickly run over to the car and open the bonnet then take another picture.


          • Now take both the pictures back home and open up in Photoshop.
          • Make any edits you require to both the images to make the pictures pop i.e play with levels, contrast, colour, brightness etc.

          Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.39.27

          • Select the image with bonnet open and ‘copy’ the image (Ctl & c on windows cmd & c on mac) and insert into a new page we shall name this page composite for tutorial reasons.
          •  Then go to the picture with the car with its bonnet closed and copy the image again as before now place this image over the new document labelled ‘composite’.
          •  Now select the eraser tool and set the feather to a hardness of 0%  and then start erasing the bonnet away to show the engine on the layer below. Once you have done flatten the image and save and there you have it.

          Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.43.05

          I don’t claim to be a expert at Photoshop and other people have their ways of doing thing but just thought I would give you and insight into my way of editing the image should people know a better way of doing this as I’m always keen to learn feel free to email me.

          row 2

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            Motorsport Photography – Legends Fire Rally Blackpool


            Motorsport Photography – Legends Fire Rally Blackpool

            Here was my annual trip to a local rally in Blackpool the past few years I have gone to watch the rally on the Blackpool promenade at night but this year I thought I would take the afternoon off work and go and have a look at the cars checking in at the start stage at the Blackpool Norbeck Castle hotel.



            There is a wide variety of cars that enter the event so I knew I would capture some nice cars if I sat round the pits and watched the cars coming in to be checked out for scrutenearing. The cars ranged from small Sunday rally minis to competition level Subaru’s and ford focus’s and even the odd group B rally car thrown into the mix such as metro 6R4 and a Ferrari which nobody would picture on a rally course


            I only spent a few hours at the event but managed to get quite a few images I was favouring my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens on the day I hadn’t used this before on static shots but the quality of the lens blew me away on how crisp the images were


            I also opted for my new 35mm lens f1.8 for the close up detail shots giving me the shallow depth of field (blur background) I like when taking close up shots throwing the background out of focus which I think makes the image more attractive and giving the subject more importance. I solely picked the 35mm as I already have the 50mm but with places like shows and events I have to stand quite far away with the 50mm to get a car in frame due to the 1.5 crop factor of the d7100 body thus making the 50mm lens more like a 85mm so by using the 35mm lens I get the 50mm focal length I desire.


            I have still yet to get to a proper daytime rally stage yet to capture rally images so hopefully I can get to the Grizedale stages which are staged in the lake district in November


            _DHR2284 _DHR2211


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              Motorsport Photography – How I have progressed


              Motorsport Photography – How I have progressed

              Since a young age I was always interested in cars, probably cos my dad was a mechanic so spent time at the garage after school waiting for him as a kid. As I grew up so did my love of cars reading magazines like max power fast car etc and watching the world rally, f1 and British touring cars. So when I picked up a camera for the first time this gave me the chance to capture the images I saw in the magazines as a kid and recreate my own.
              Gordon shedden on track at Oulton park in the BTCC

              Over the past couple of years as a photographer I have been to multiple races up and down the country experiencing the Hightower of the time attack series to the side ways action of the drift racing all capturing this at the same time

              Jap performance rb25 engined Subaru in the euro drift all stars at Birmingham wheels

              As with any profession you get better with time and from looking at my images I can see how I have progressed as a photographer by applying new skills and techniques to my Motorsport photography as well as gaining better knowledge of my cameras so let’s have a look how my images have developed.



              Here we have a Vauxhall Vectra taken on the pit straight at Oulton park as you can see I have managed to get a bit of a pan on the picture where the car is in focus but the background is blurred to give that element of speed found in Motorsport photography but as the spokes of the wheels are still quite defined this therfore let’s down the element of speed I originally aimed for and the whole picture but i was young and less clued up but still find this a good attempt for what was my first outing at a motorsport event with my camera.

              Here we have a BMW at the BTCC Oluton park here I have managed to drag the shutter open for that bit longer and therefore the element of speed is increased making the car look like it’s going fast.


              Rob Austin Audi a4 in the BTCC at Oulton park

              Here we have the fans favourite rob Austin in ‘Sherman’ the Audi a4 here I have used for ground to help with the element of speed if you can see the grey blue in the foreground is actually a lamppost so this is adding to the blur effect also I have managed to drag the shutter for 1/60th of a second as oppose to shorter shutter lengths I have used in previous years.


              Alfa Romeo 90's British touring car running in the super tourers at the gold cup Oulton park

              Here’s this years attempt and now able to pick up the camera and dial in the settings and coming out with a good pan pretty much every time and keeping the background blurred and the car in focus which can be seen in the car lively which isn’t distorted I’ve even started to experiment with different lenses this was taken with my 50mm lense which would normally be used for portraits which also proves you don’t need a massive telephoto to get Motorsport pictures

              hopefully I can continue with the progression until I can one day create flawless Motorsport photography you see in publications.

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                Automotive Photography Santa Pod – The Fast Show 2014



                Automotive Photography Santa Pod – Fast Show 2014

                The first show of the UK season had arrived and my first destination was Santa pod located in Bedford, which is a drag strip surrounded with a car show. This was the first show of the season that offered a mixture of cars and styles. Ranging from the big BHP of the drag cars to the stanced out motors, including bagged BMW, Mercedes and even Vauxhalls with a few JAP cars thrown in for good measure. The event stretched for two days, firstly the Saturday being a normal ‘run what ya brung’ which is purely about setting good times and competing with your friends for the quickest 1/4 mile time.

                Automotive photography Santa Pod- bumblebee

                Come sun down the drag strip closes and the party starts with the rave tent in full swing and beer flowing with the madness continuing in to the early hours of the morning. Secondly, Sunday morning should anyone not be nursing a hangover after the alcohol fuelled antics, will be out at the first sign of daylight armed with a polish and micro fibre cleaning their cars and parking up onto a stand to show off their pride and joy.

                The weekend was a great show with lots of polished examples of the British show scene. Anyways less of my talking, I will let the images show you…









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