Here’s his first post—let us know if there’s a specific topic you want covered!
This summer I was contacted by The Official Ferrari Magazine to photograph Canadian fashioin-mogul Lawrence Stroll with five cars from his extensive Ferrari collection. I am estimating that the cars were worth between $80 to $100-million combined. I travelled with my assistant Neville Black, videographer James Park and just about every piece of equipment that the three of us owned—I wanted to be prepared for any situation.
We started location scouting at Le Circuit in Mont Tremblant, Quebec the day before our shoot. We had to figure out where we were going to shoot the portraits, where to find the best lines-of-sight, best backgrounds, best driving speeds, etc. There was a very real possibility that the subject would not be all that into the shoot, so we had to be ready to get the most important images first and go down the list until the plug was pulled. Thankfully the subject was in a great mood and was very gracious with his time. We shot 3 portrait situations and shot all five cars ripping around the track.
For the portraits we wanted to keep things simple. We used an Alien Bee kit, with an octobank on the main light and a silver beauty dish on the backlight. The light weight and portability of the kit gave us all of the flexibility we needed. We couldn’t out-light the sun at high noon, so we just wanted to get a nice main light on the subject and a light behind him to give a bit of depth and separation.
During the on-track action I was hanging out the back of a Land Rover as it ripped around the track and the subject keeping pace with us as close as he was able. I shot the majority of these images on a Canon 1D Mark IV with a 16-35 mm f2.8 lens. I was shooting at f22 at between 1/60th and 1/15th per second shutter speeds. I used slow shutter speeds to show motion on the track. I wanted to make sure the viewer knew the cars were moving and not just parked conveniently. We would pace the car for a lap around the track, then we would jump out and shoot the car from the side of the track at a pre-determined spot with an appealing background (many times with Mt. Tremblant in the background).
It was one of the best assignments of my career to date.
Check out Blair’s behind-the-scenes video, then follow him on Twitter (@gablehead) and let him know what you’d like to see here next. Thanks, Blair!