24hrs with a 968 Sport, a Camera and some of the best Roads in the UK.
So, a good friend asks if you can drive his Porsche 968 Sport around for a day and take some photos. It took less than a nano-second to say yes. Absolutely yes, yes please, and so with a date agreed the journey began.
It was 10am on a beautiful July day, and with a fresh latte in hand and the sun already blazing down, I knew this was not going to be a tough day in the office. Matt and I headed off together to collect the 968 Sport in his Porsche 911; a tuned, pimped and super lightweight 993. The plan was to collect the 968 from the garage in Shoreham, where it was having some electrical work completed, then drive to a weighbridge to have the 993 weighed. Matt had poured blood, sweat and tears into shaving Kilos off the weight of the 993 and was craving confirmation of his investment.
Experience has taught me that from a photographic point of view, an industrial estate with the sun directly overhead is a fairly challenging environment to make any car look good. I have taken photos of some of the world’s dullest cars in my time as an art director, so knew that poor light and boring background is not ideal for exciting shots, Porsche or not. Waiting for the Sun to drop a bit was key, and that meant waiting a few hours. What to do? How about we hit the Sussex B Roads with me driving and enjoying the 968? Enjoy it I did.
I dived into the analogue experience with a hint of trepidation, 250 horses through the rear wheels; no traction control, no fancy double clutch semi-automatic gearbox and no airbags. Maybe the trepidation was due to a previous 968 experience as a passenger back in 2013, which ended tragically in an Armco at Paddock Hill, Brands Hatch with a sore shoulder, a crushed car and the driver in tears as his beloved car was towed away.
Banishing those thoughts, I bedded myself into the jet black cockpit and made myself comfortable. Porsche just got things right with this car, everything is where it should be, easy to use, perfectly positioned, letting you look out over that long bonnet and enjoy the countryside whizzing by as you hurtle round bends with a huge grin on your face. A few hours later with the 993 weighed, a few photo locations scouted and a pub lunch all ticked off, the day was nearly over and I had barely got my camera out the bag!
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”Ferris Bueller
Why don’t I just bring it back tomorrow? I was insured on the 968 for 24 hours, what’s the worst that can happen?! And with that, I left Matt and headed East from Brighton in a bright red classic sports car that didn’t belong to me, at full pelt.
By now the 968 Sport and I had become one, we headed towards the South Downs with the Sun setting behind as I raced from one hilltop viewpoint to another, stopping frequently to capture epic landscape vistas with the low setting sun glistening off the svelte lines of the 968. By the time I arrived at the iconic Beachy Head it was nearly dark, the fuel gauge was reading low but there was still just enough light to frame the Porsche against a glowing skyline. Perfection.
The shots on the camera’s memory card would not be the final image, it’s all about balancing the exposure of the background and the car. Set the exposure to background and the car will be too dark; set the exposure to the car and the sky will blow out. I concentrated on positioning the car, catching the light, accentuating angles, creating depth of field and highlighting the Porsche icon.
Let there be Leicht
With the car safely back in Matt’s Garage, and me back home with hundreds of images to look through, I got to work sorting the wheat from the chaff picking some of the best shots to edit in Lightroom and Photoshop. Back in the day this process would involve many hours of retouching. My first car shoot was pre-digital, when we had to take multiple film exposures of every part of the car and then layer and edit each piece like a giant puzzle.
Digital Cameras, RAW files and Lightroom now make it so much quicker and enjoyable. You can paint adjustments, tweak and finesse each part of the image, gradually building up the composition until you are 100% happy with it. It is easy to overdo it, I was aiming for a realistic but polished image. I worked on getting the sky exposed nicely, the bodywork colour corrected, a bit of extra lift on the wheels and lights, and then removing anything huge and distracting from the foreground.
I spent a day or two playing around with the images until I had a collection of 968 shots to show Matt. These would be the imagery used to promote and sell the car to the classic Porsche market, the 968 sadly losing its garage.
But, as in every Bond movie, the Hero lives to fight another day. The 993 went to Market and the 968 little piggy stayed at Home. The car is still with Matt and that means I might, if I’m lucky, get to enjoy another 24 hours in the Sun, in one of best Cars I have ever driven…
Surfer. Biker. Coder. Porsche.