Photographing the Nissan GT-R

The GT-R with the seven sister's cliffs as a back drop, on an icy morning

The GT-R with the seven sister's cliffs as a back drop, on an icy morning

Boys and their toys. 

I kept suggesting to a friend of mine that he should lend me his supercar, with a nervous laugh after every time I pitched the idea to him. Then it happened.... "when do you want to borrow it?" So....this is happening then. 

I wasn't just going to borrow a car like this and take a few snaps on my iphone, I had to do something better with it. This proposition happened at pretty much the same time that I started dabbling with drones, so I called in a favour and borrowed a DJI Spark off another friend. Then I thought to myself, why just take stills of it? Let's make a video!

GTR Badge

GTR Badge

All of you continuity experts out there will see that there is no way that I could have shot the video and all of the photos in one weekend. You got me! The first time I met up with my friend he was driving it, and we bagged the drone shots, the slide shots (see the video for how I did this), some sunrise shots with Devil's Dyke in the background, and some moving shots of the car taking off. These, believe it or not, were taken on a Brompton (once again borrowed) using the DJI Osmo. My roots as a landscape photographer couldn't just be ignored, I shot the below image which was the backdrop to the car at sunrise. 

View at Devil's Dyke

View at Devil's Dyke

Concentrating on the photography, I approach photographing cars in the same way that I shoot buildings. I try to shoot as much as I can using natural light, especially when you are working with a shiny product like a white car, you are bound to get the reflections of any flashes of constant lights. Therefore all of the photographs in this blog are shot with natural light.  

Wide shot

In this instance I had a shot list, a kind of a story board that made sure that I covered all angles, told a story in pictures (and eventually a video). In the same way that I approach photographing properties, I make sure that I get the wide shots, details shots, and since the subject moves - some motion shots. I start by requesting delivery of the car at sunrise. 

The iconic rear tail lights of a Nissan Skyline

The iconic rear tail lights of a Nissan Skyline

Day one, it was a crisp Sunday morning, we get plenty of shots and I am back in time for a late breakfast. Success. I put in a second request "I didn't get any shots of us driving it, how do you fancy blitzing around Ditchling Beacon at the weekend?" He agrees. I get a GoPro suction mount and hand over my trust to rubber cup that it is going to hold onto my camera at 70MPH* on a windscreen. I mount it onto the car, and we take a drive through the South Downs, what better way to spend the morning. I then follow this up with pursuing the car and mounting the GoPro on my car bonnet, and throw in a few backward facing shots in for variation. 

*There is no additional information, we were doing 70mph. 

Details shot of lights and spoiler

Details shot of lights and spoiler

I didn't want this shoot to be all about me and my fetish for this car, ever since I watch the first Fast and Furious, or nostalgic memories of playing Gran Turismo on the Playstation. The owner tells me that he wants to get the car into a car magazine, awesome - some additional purpose to our fun weekends. Parallel to the photography, I included the owner in the video clips, and have made him an edit specifically for him; as a thank you for lending me his car. I even throw in some slow motion footage for a cinematic look, everything looks awesome in slow motion!

Immaculate Alloys

Immaculate Alloys

Interior

Interior

Under the bonnet

Under the bonnet

Air grill

Air grill

Then it happened. I got the keys. I had the car for the whole weekend. I had a story board for the rest of the video, because up until now I wasn't driving the car....and I had the kit to make it happen. I also had a two wing men lined up to shoot the drone footage of me driving it and gimble work of me in and around the car. Another birthday had passed and now I was the proud owner of a Zhiyun Crane, allowing me to make awesome moving footage; not possible on the slider. 

Icy conditions at sunrise

Icy conditions at sunrise

Saturday sunrise, John Reese White and I rock up at Beachy Head and the conditions are sketchy. it is -3. I park up and around the corner drifts a Porsche and a Lotus Elise, appreciating the makeshift ice rink that we have to work with. The drivers look at me in the GTR to suggest that I was going to join in with the Dohnuts. Not today people, not my car, I am not even eating dohnuts in this car!

Photo taken by John Rees White

Photo taken by John Rees White

Panning shot of me ice skating in a supercar - By John Rees White

Panning shot of me ice skating in a supercar - By John Rees White

John Rees White working his magic

John Rees White working his magic

We carve through the southdowns, and even though I think I am giving it the beans, my passenger looks at the dials and tells me that I am only applying 44% pressure on the accelerator. It is still just above zero, so today is not the day for racing. I return John back to his family in one piece. 

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Day 2, aka the day I have to return the car, arrives. I pick up my friend Martin Johnson in Hove and head down to Madiera Drive; you know, the place where they do the trial races to see how fast you can get your car to go in a straight line. I picked the location for a sweet backdrop, as I have another sub-zero start to the day. It is cold enough for the drone to be giving off plenty of warnings, and we just about managed to get enough footage. 

Front lights

Front lights

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You will notice that the photos above and below are not taken on Madiera Drive on that Sunday morning. Essentially I was too scared to get the car washed, I don't want to hand the car back scratched. I had taken it to Eastbourne and back and it was no longer looking shiny. But I managed to disguise this in the video and drone shots - so I might get away with this! 

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Well, I may have exhausted all angles of this car (pun intended). And I have also created a video of this car, which is a complete experiment (and a first for me). It is a test of the last year's experimentation with video to see how good a video I can create. As the final YouTube video covers, I use various pieces of kit, some methods that I am experienced in and some experimental techniques that may or may not work. The point is that this is a long way from where I started on youtube in 2016! 

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I like a bit of adrenaline to keep things fresh, but I am not a car fanatic. I know enough to survive in a pub conversation. But I can now say that I have driven a Nissan GT-R around a racetrack (different occasion!) and now I have driven one on the street of Sussex. 

Well done for making it to the end. More adventures to come, stay tuned.