I love it when a plan comes together, Frankie Jim from Canon contacted me a couple of months ago in regards to running a workshop in collaboration with Porsche Club GB for their members. It seemed like a perfect idea to celebrate Porsche’s 70th Anniversary, but the challenge for me was of course to make it something for the members to remember and talk about for a long time.
Frankie wanted to find two contrasting photographers for the event, and he certainly did that as the second guest photographer was Rod Fountain, a Behind The Scenes photographer for Top Gear. Rod has very little time to set up his shots (although the film crew usually put the cars in pretty good places) and has to work using mainly available light within a short period of time minding many obstacles along the way. I think that as photographers you never stop learning and if you can pick up even one tip then it has been a useful experience. The tip I found most useful from Rod was how he goes from a faster shutter speed to a slower shutter speed in just one pan using Tv mode and a slide of his finger, this gives two contrasting shots in one pass which I think is invaluable.
Compared to the work I do which is much more in a controlled environment, I usually have more time to adjust my shots and more time to set up artificial lighting to get the edgy look I love. It is so much more technical but I feel that I will be shooting a lot more natural light shots from now on to not only speed up my shooting but vary my portfolio.
Arriving on the Thursday to set up; the lorry arrived before the rest of the crew… as I started to unload the lorry I realised quite how much kit I had ordered. The great thing about advertising shoots and events like this is that I can get all the kit I need, more than I need sometimes but it means that if scenarios or weather conditions change I have what I need to still make the most out of the experience. I have to admit I felt like a kid in a candy shop, there were lines and lines of Canon cameras and lenses for everyone to play with along with all the gear Manfrotto, Broncolor and Lastolite had sent me.
The first workshop day was Friday the 13th, duh dun daaaar… luckily it all went relatively smoothly. The first day was set up for the Canon Pro Service members, and tickets for this day (75 available) were sold out in just under 1 hour, nearly crashing the PCGB website! That is the fastest one of these event days has ever sold out. I knew that these members were going to be looking for more technical details than the PCGB members so I set up a rather lovely interior shot for them to do of a rare 356 Coupe, following this I got them to shoot a few contrasty detail shots of the exterior. These were both shot with the Canon 5DS and the 85mm f/1.2 II USM lens, a Manfrotto tri-pod and up to 3 Broncolor 1200L Move Lights.
In the second half of the day the set ups were repeated but instead of doing the exterior shots I got the group to help me set up the surprise shot which was a Porsche 997 with green smoke. This was lit using 5x Broncolor Heads, 2x Para 88’s, 2 x Standard Reflectors and 1x 1×4′ Softbox, a manfrotto tripod, a Canon 5DS and 35mm f/1.4 II USM Lens.
Day 2 was set up to help the Porsche Club GB members take better shots of their vehicles when out at shows, this is the day that would work better for Rod as I am sure 99.9% of the members would not have access the gear that I have. However, I did mention that they could in fact use a speedlight at night to light their vehicles in a similar way to how I was with my larger units. To make sure that I had a variety of cars to shoot I went out to the car park to see what the members had brought with them, and during the talk I read out their numberplates jokingly saying that I had damaged their vehicles. Instead I planned to use them on a couple of sets. The first shot for the day was the interior of a Porsche Targa 4 GTS using the studio gear and then the Porsche 356 Coupe outside using natural light and some chandelier glass for diffraction effects.
I thought it would be a great addition if we could demonstrate a rig shot at the event, unfortunately there was no scheduled time for this so instead I took some time out of lunch to demonstrate to those who were interested. Thanks to Peter Webb who lent us his Porsche GT3 for the shot, using a Canon 5DS, 17-40mm f/4 lens and an 8 second exposure.
The second group photographed the Targa interior shot and then helped me to set up a Porsche Cayman GTS for the final set. You should have seen the owners face when she saw smoke bellowing out from her beloved car; however, she was more than frilled with the results.
Overall it was a really enjoyable weekend, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Porsche Club GB’s General Manager Chris Seaward, Canons very own Frankie Jim, Top Gears Rod Fountain, the amazing man with a brush Mark Lacey and all the sponsors including Manfrotto and their partner brands. It was a privilege to be part of this experience and I look forward to the next one!