In their 250th edition they decided to collect together 3 models that were on their cover, and available to buy new in the UK, when the magazine launched in 1990. They contacted Paul Stephens to see if he could get together a 911, a 944 and a 928 for the following Monday.
[Photo - Antony Fraser]
Paul contacted me as he sold me my 928 earlier this year. The lovely red 911 belongs to his wife, and the 944 to one of his staff. As it happens I was off work the Monday, so deciding it would be fun, I arrived just before 9am at Paul's premises in the deepest North Essex countryside. There I met Antony Fraser (photographer) and Johnny Tipler (journalist).
Each car was washed and lathered down ready for their close ups. It was fascinating watching Antony work, and the equipment he used. Digital photography has made these shoots much easier to produce, but you still need top equipment and years of experience to get the levels of results that Antony produced. Using a single large flash that was remotely controlled from his Nikon D800 camera, Antony was able to work quickly without a tripod to produce the shots. The morning was spent taking close up shots of each of the 3 cars. Sunroofs were opened to enable the flash to shine in and correctly light up the interior.
Then it was off on a 10 mile drive to a very remote location were we were hardly bothered at all. I think we saw 3 other vehicles in 2 hours. Here we first had to wash the cars again (Antony, rather amusingly to me, but rather obviously once you think about it, travelling with lots of clean water and cloths etc. to enable this). The first shot was a 3 car tracking shot following Antony's car (with his camera mounted on the boot lid). I was first, was part of the issue here was having the balls to drive close enough to be in shot, and enabled the other 2 guys to position correctly as well. This is where being on deserted roads was key as we took up the whole road as we drove up and down at 40mph to get the shot Antony wanted. Part of the problem was that the camera bounced as well, so whilst we may be in the right positions sometimes the pictures were just not sharp enough for publication. So off we went again, and eventually Antony announced himself satisfied. The shot produced is here, but unfortunately its not used in the magazine article. C'est La Vie.
Next shot was of the cars driving through the countryside. This essentially involved the 3 drivers going backwards and forwards, doing U turns in the process. This didn't take that long, with Antony taking pictures of all 3 cars. All the pictures from this session made print.
Finally we were about to pack up when we realised the sun was low and had poked out of the clouds. So we did a final set piece shot that literally took 5 minutes in all. This ended up being a classic epic shot, and indeed made it as the main picture of the article. This was interesting as I had been discussing with Antony how I used to love these kind of shots in CAR magazine back in the late 70's and 80's (when it was the only UK car magazine producing them). Turns out Antony's father Ian Fraser was editor of CAR back then....
I'm very grateful to Antony who sent me a set of pictures. All have been enhanced in Photoshop (of course), which to my mind is just another skill modern photographers have to master. Some of the resulting pictures are stunning.
More pictures are available to view on Photobucket