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It’s a little hard to follow my previous act (now at a staggering 935 likes, THANKS!!!), but alas the show must go on! This month I’m proud to have my work featured in another issue of Panorama Magazine, the official magazine of the Porsche Club of America. I’ll go off on a small tangent and gush about how bold and gorgeous the cover is. Of all the magazines I’ve been published, this cover may take the cake for most daring. No words, small subject, and a blue title atop a blue image are all big risks. If magazines had balls, this automotive issue would have 3..pairs. Panorama is able to push the limits a little more since they aren’t in direct competition with newsstand magazines, which is why I love working with them so much.
Inking the pages this month is a pristine Sunflower Yellow 1974 Porsche 2.0 liter 914 nestled in Summerton, SC. David Matthews is not only the owner, but the author of the article as well…no relation to my favorite nostalgic high school band. After losing his zest for life, David was looking for a diversion to take his mind off of…stuff. The solution is this eye-blinding 914. Like most older model cars, love can be closely correlated with how much money and time is invested. Given the 25 years of marriage to this car, you can say they’re strictly living by their vows.
This is an interesting car, and the Deep South is a particularly interesting place as well. In a region that is mostly populated by F-150s and combines, a screaming-fun-yellow-raspy-German-oddball Porsche is easier to spot than acne on Paris Hilton’s forehead. The low weight (~2,150 lb) and torquey engine combine for an exhilarating ride. No matter how you look at it, this is indeed a Porsche, and therefore a permanent part of history with the automaker that sets the bar for sports cars.
Riding my bike around my town of Greenville I can’t help but hear the name George Hincapie twice on any given day. He is one of the most well known and friendliest figures in cycling; most notable for competing in a record 17 Tours de France, and having the craziest legs in any peloton. So when Hincapie announced an 80-mile Gran Fondo in the mountains of upstate South Carolina, with HUGE cycling names such as Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, Tejay van Garderen, Ted King, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie… I had to get involved. This is the type of event that if I wasn’t behind the camera, I’d be throwing a leg over my Scott CR1.
PAVED Magazine, in my opinion one of the most beautiful publications that focuses on the art of cycling, picked up the story and was proud to provide the images you see below. The lovable and always honest Neil Browne not only wrote the article, but suffered through the gran fondo as well.
The ride started and finished at the Hincapie-owned La Bastide Inn where the stories and beer were flowing. Hincapie’s farewell to his professional cycling career was the center of attention, but by the end of the day all of the riders were thinking more about what the 7,000+ feet of climbing did to their battered legs. Hincapie said “Cadel (Tour de France winner) thought it was a lot harder than he expected”… now that’s saying something. No wonder George and Hincapie Sportswear call Greenville, SC home.
Blankly staring at my flickering monitor, eating a PB&J sandwich, while listening to my favorite creative music (Ellie Goulding, Daft Punk, Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco), I simply can’t think of a witty fun way to begin this blog article. And it’s driving me crazy! Why is this happening?!? I got plenty of sleep last night, and it’s even raining outside so I’m not (that) tempted to ride my bike. Is it because this article is about Dario Franchitti–one of the most decorated racecar drivers in history?.. A truly humbling genuine man that is so accomplished, yet so modest and friendly, that it’s hard to evoke in words?.. Yea I think it has something to do with it.
I got the call from Panorama (Porsche Club of America) to ask if I could make the drive to Tennessee to shoot Dario and his insanely immaculate, but well driven 1973 911E hot rod. Of course these conversations are always humorous because how could I possibly turn that down? This is the kind of car you KNOW that you’re driving. No ABS, no power steering, no cushy suspension, raw. It’s not as fast as a Porsche GT, but it certainly feels like it at half the speed. Did I also mention Dario Franchitti is the owner? Thought so. Pack my gear, I’m on the road.
When meeting Dario as he was pulling his 911 out of the driveway, you could tell this Porsche isn’t just another car in his garage. We made eye contact for a few seconds, then his attention was immediately back on the car, triple-checking every detail to be sure every millimeter was spotless. “Only one cat in the world can do that” as he pointed to the hood. Looks like his fearless feline can’t distinguish a priceless 3.7 litre 325hp 2,150-pound fire-breathing piece of history and a cardboard box. Rolling over the Tennessee mountain roads in the backseat, listening to the melodic sounds from the exhaust, it was very refreshing to witness someone so famous with the means to buy any car in the world, so attached to a classic car.
A few shots of me working the camera, or is it Dario telling me HOW to work the camera? Photoshoot styles for Porsche mags are usually less processed and more natural. This feature was no exception, so a lot of attention goes into composition straight out of the camera. Over the 3hr time period we got some great shots, thanks largely in part to my very lovely assistant Sarah…OK she’s my girlfriend! . The entire experience was such a joy. The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful, and we even got to chat about one of my favorite shows South Park.
David Conklin did a superb job with the article, yet I’m afraid to say that the magazine can only be picked up if you’re a Porsche Club of America member, or know someone who is a member! How convinient, my writer’s block is going away and now I’m finished… Oh well, I guess I’ll go ride my bike!
This Champion Motorsports Porsche Turbo RSR is going to be hard to beat for the title of best car that I’ve shot. It is arguably the fastest all-around AND most beautifully crafted street-legal car in the world. Beauty is subjective, but being the fastest is objective… and I can attest to the fact that this car is FAST! I like to call myself a speed freak, but even I had to check my manly regions to see if they were still there after a few hot laps in the passenger seat. Riding shotgun with Jared Cullop in a 600hp car that goes 0-60 in 2.6 seconds and corners like it has velcro for tires is a life-changing experience. It’s not all about the power; the suspension, aerodynamics, transmission, and power must all work in unison… and the team at Champion pieced this car together so well Captain Planet would be jealous.
The photoshoot was an absolute dream come true. We had a full day of shooting and driving at Virginia International Raceway… This “raceway” doubles as a resort mind you, with top notch dining, lodging, spas, karting, and golfing. As fun as that all sounds, I had to keep my eyes glued to the back of my camera. A full day of morning fog, beautiful skies, a magnificent car, people, and a few new camera techniques produced this:
A little behind the scenes iPhone action included. The fog gave off a huge beautiful softbox effect, but lacked any directional lighting, so I used the flashes to make some artificial light direction. That combined with some photoshop magic I had the look I was going for. The front angle image was photographed with the cover mind, but obviously a different image was chosen. No complaining here, they both look great!
I love my assistants, so my first thanks goes to Kyle McManus for the extra hand. The team at Champion Motorsports is a true class act. They had the RSR humming like never before, as if building the world’s sexiest and fastest street-legal car was a walk in the park. Obvious thanks to the staff at VIR, for making the coolest hotel rooms with a view ever. And last but not least, the editor Pete who hooked me up with the shoot! Woohoo!
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Champion Motorsport just released this beautiful homage video of the same 911 Turbo RSR at a local airstrip. This car is fast becoming one of the most iconic 997′s in the world. It’s impossible to find a bad angle on this car.