Blood, sweat and tears. Emphasis on the blood, switch sweat with shivers, and replace tears with fried inverters.

This past Saturday (3/26/11) I had probably one of the most substantial as well as one of the most painful and costly days of my photography career.
I planned on meeting up with my friend Joey Batista, who owns arguably one of the nicest E30 M3’s stateside. Seriously- this thing is a trophy riding ON trophies…except they’re BBS RS’- which are the holy grail of European wheels. They look good on everything, and everything looks good on them. Check out his website for full details on the car:

Now, this day started out well. I had all my equipment accounted for and working. Batteries for both camera bodies were charged, Vagabond II was plugged in and good to go, lenses were clean, flash tubes on all my strobes have been replaced and are 100% functional. The one thing I forgot to do Friday night after work was cut out an additional spot in my Pelican case for my third light which now has a flashtube. My friend Kyle Scheidel of Tallboy Photography was due to arrive at any moment, we were going to pack up, and go meet Joey at his friend’s house. I figured I would cut out the extra spot in the foam really quick and we could still go. THAT was a mistake.

After frantically hacking away at the foam for a few minutes, I noticed you could pull it out and just pull it out of a seperate layer of the foam. I placed the razorblade I was using down next to me, pushed out a cube, then grabbed it- upside down. I didn’t notice this until it was halfway into my finger, however. After pulling out of my finger and getting blood not only on my pants, but the case and foam, followed by the carpet as well, I went over to the sink and ran it under luke-warm water and put pressure on it- as you’re supposed to do.  Kyle got there, we bandaged my finger up, got the rest of the foam cut, and hit the road.

Without the Vagabond to power the lights.

We got off the highway thankfully right near my house, I ran in, got it, put it in the car, and went to meet with Joey.
We ended up coming back to Middletown and went near the Portland bridge- where I shot my friend Jeff’s car. Joey parked it in a GREAT spot right near the bridge so I busted out the lights. I figured I’d just use one strobe for some fill on the dark side of the car and really make the wheels pop and get a little of the Audi Pearl White paint to stand out a bit. I hooked up the light and set it to full power to combat Mr. Sun- who was out in full blast today. I fired a test shot, heard a loud ‘POP’, and looked to my right.

White smoke was pouring out of the top of the inverter like a Chimney in December. My heart sank and the frustration kicked in.

After shrugging it off, Kyle and I decided we’d just use some natural light for these, then find a place with AC power so I could just run extension cords and use the lights that way. With the help of Mr. Sun and Ms. Cirrus we got some nice diffused light from the clouds for a bit to get some GREAT shots.

and following these, I (in my opinion of course) produced some of my best automotive images to date;

While shooting these my hands had no sense of feeling whatsoever, due to being in the extremely windy and cold shadowed area under the bridge, right near the river. We packed up and headed out almost right after this shot. Joey’s friend mentioned he had a Porsche 996 Carrera in a storage facility along with some power we could use and a great location- Kyle and I gladly obliged, as Kyle came to learn some off camera lighting. He was not disappointed with the results, and will be purchasing a set ASAP. I can tell you that much.

We pulled into the storage area and the sun was going down FAST at this point. I was concerned, but moreso excited to see the Porsche and the 997 GT3 stored directly above it. For those who don’t know- I’m a Porsche fanboy. I love them, I cherish them as one of the most beautifully designed cars ever- and I don’t mind the engine is in the boot. I digress-

We set up shop, and as the sun was going down, Joey’s pearl in the paint started catching some of the rays of light. After the strobes were set up, power turned on, and everything was metered: I started snapping away. One of my first shots (and after much editing) produced this:

The thing is- this wasn’t a pretty image out of the camera. In fact, this would be an image that normally- I would scrap right away. This is where I’d like to give a huge thanks to Kyle of Tallboy Photography for taking the time and having the patience to show me how to make an okay shot into a jaw-dropper. Kyle showed me a few tricks in lightroom that I can’t WAIT to apply to some of my portraiture and makes me beyond excited to try more car shots. Thanks again Kyle!

Would also like to thanks Joey’s friend Chris for letting me borrow his 70-200 F2.8 IS II L and 16-35 F2.8 L for some of these shots. The hospitality between Joey and Chris was awesome and they’re a great group of guys to hang out with, with some CLEAN, fast- and beautiful cars.

I haven’t even touched 60 or so shots yet, so expect this to be updated with more. I also plan on featuring this car through and hopefully a magazine as well. Stay tuned!


About travisrockphotography
My name is Travis Rock, and I'm a 20 year old photographer.

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