1973 Porsche 911 Demonstrating Lens Differences

This aubergine 1973 Porsche 911 is owned by former Head of Photography, John Gulliver of Ravensbourne University. Having completed my photography degree at Ravensbourne I was aware of Johns beautiful classic Porsche and asked if I could borrow it to shoot a series of images for a talk to explain the differences between wide angle and TS lenses for Canon UK & IE. The camera body of choice for this series was a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.

The first two images demonstrate wide angle distortion. The first image (Left) was shot using a wide EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 24mm, you can see that the bonnet is elongated stretching the car towards the viewer; this type of shot is great for use in editorial magazines as it really grabs the viewers attention. The second shot (Right) was shot using an EF 50mm F/1.2L USM, automatically you can see the proportions are different to the first image and are closer to the true shape of the vehicle. Our eyes generally see between 50-90mm, anything wider than this (wide angle) will distort your image so the proportions are not correct, anything longer than this and you will start to compress the image. For advertising purposes I always avoid shooting wider than 50mm unless the brief requires it.

So you have decided to shoot a wide angle as you want to throw that bonnet towards the viewer and you have decided to shoot from a higher viewpoint to make the car sit lower. To get the whole car in the frame you have had to tilt your camera down; which has then caused your verticals to start converging. This happens as when you tilt your camera your sensor is no longer  in line with your verticals and instead forms more of a parabola shape, to keep your verticals vertical you must always have your camera level. So how can we keep our camera straight and be able to get the angle and composition we want? This is where the tilt-shift lens comes into play, we are not using the tilt-shift lens for its cool blurring facility but instead so we can tilt the composition to get everything in that we need. Once the camera is lined and levelled up you simply tilt the lens to get the whole car in, this makes sure the sensor stays aligned with the walls and you end up with vertical verticals. (Left EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 24mm / Right TS-E 24mm F/3.5L II)

When shooting rig shots you have no choice but to shoot a wide angle as to get enough space between camera and vehicle to shoot at 50mm is not always practical or safe. I usually shoot between 17-24mm using an EF 17-40mm F/4L (Right @ 17mm), however as Canon had sent me a load of gear to try out I thought why not shoot as wide as I can. The image Left was shot using the EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 11mm, this is Super-Wide and to me the distortion has almost made the 911 look Banana shaped, not very flattering! Therefore I have come to the conclusion that I will never shoot rig-shots wider than 17mm.

I hope that this little blog has helped you get an idea of how and what you can use different lenses for, I would like to thank Canon UK & EI for lending me the equipment to test and the opportunity to present my talk at The Porsche Club GB.

Matt’s Porsche 987

Matt Prebble’s 987 looks so dark and menacing, it really suited this rustic location on an industrial estate in Kent. This project was created as part of a series for Canon UK & IE. The first image was a collaboration between myself and retoucher Gosia Klosowska and the remaining images I retouched myself.

Simply Porsche

Hey Everyone, it has come to my attention that many of you did not get to see your entry photo from the show and/or did not know I was in attendance. Below you will find a proof of your vehicle, please note that I didn’t manage to get everyone but did manage 743 of you. Follow the link below to purchase and make sure you add your image number in the comments box at checkout (hover over your car for the number).

9×6″ Prints £10.00 (+£2.99 Delivery)
Personalised Memorabilia Mugs with Show Details and your name/car name £12.00 (including Delivery, currently only white mugs available)
Print & Mug Bundle £20.00
A3 Archival Quality Prints £35.00
High Quality Downloadable File £35.00

You can have these printed on various materials including Canvas, Acrylic and Aluminium

Personal photoshoots are available upon request and are bespoke, these start at £650 plus expenses, to enquire contact me at darren@darrenwoolway.co.uk

*All images have currently only had cropping applied, upon purchase images will be checked to make sure that they look their best.

A Cayman GTS, a Canon and a Grenade…

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.

Porsche 997 with Purple Smoke

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! 

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