Like most of my work, there’s always an embargo for publication, so I’m often writing about things several months after the shoot. This Total 911 shoot is one such, it’s just been published in the Jan 2010 issue and you can buy a copy here.
I owned a 930 Turbo a few years ago, but sadly finances at the time dictated that it was a heart-rather-than-head purchase and ultimately it had to be sold to release funds for other projects. It was a lovely car and I miss it dearly, to the point of not allowing myself to read such things at Total 911 until recently, as it was just too painful – yes, really.
So when Phil Raby calls me to shoot some 911′s, then tells me it’s going to be two 930 Turbos, my heart skips. This could be painful, like catching a view of your ex-girlfriend across the room, laughing with her new partner. Sure enough, it was. I caught sight of the wonderful Turbo LE, sporting the same chin spoiler with extra oil cooler just as mine had, plus the four pea-shooter exhausts, I felt a physical pang. Writer Kevin Hackett and I stood by as the cars were started and I felt a pain and lump in my throat as the car sprang into life with that typical bark, slight engine hunt up and down while the old ECU wakes, then settled down to that busy idle.
Concentrate, Neill. It’s just another car. Only it’s not. 911′s have always ‘done it’ for me. Plenty of people out there just don’t get it and I’m fine with that, but if you’ve been bitten, then nothing else matters.
On this particular shoot, I was using the Canon 5D mk2, plus one of the first Canon 7D’s, my regular 1DS relegated to backup duty, despite it’s imposing structure. Main reason was to become familiar with them before the first of our new Shooting Supercars series, where the two cameras were to be used heavily. Lighting was the superb Elinchrom Quadra packs that I’ve quickly found myself unable to be without. Fast, plenty of power and above all, lightweight.
We head off to the first location and I’m following the cars to the timber yard. The wonderful winding Yorkshire countryside means that Kevin ahead in the Turbo LE is often lifting off the gas over the blind crests in the road. When he does, there’s a lick of flame from the pipes as unburnt fuel hits the glowing turbo. Kevin’s having fun.
Statics shots complete, we head to the location for moving shots. Kevin and I jump into the LE for a quick recce of the road ahead. Then I remember why the Turbo was so addictive. From the passenger seat, there’s a huge lag, but then you feel the gathering wave of power, just like the beginning of a tidal surge when surfing in the sea, gathering until the tacho seems to be moving at the same pace as the speedo, the flat six noise becoming muted behind us by the wind noise from the old style body shell’s A pillars. You can’t help but grin and suppress the giggle in your throat.
Kevin’s words do the cars justice, putting you in the seat and recalling the hedonistic 80′s, so go grab yourself a copy of the January mag if you’ve an ounce of soul in your body. You’ll love the cars and remember the shoulder pads. Personally, I won’t rest until I once again have an aircooled Porsche 911 sitting in my possession.
As for the cameras, the 5D was, as ever, superb, delivering great colours right out of the card, with the minimum of post required. The 7D? I liked the rapid fire burst rate, higher than my 1DS, but when shooting the tracking shots, I found the lack of weight actually a hindrance, my arms much more used to the ‘heft’ of the 1D series cameras when hanging out of the back of a camera car. Purely personal, nothing against the 7D, it’s a superb piece of kit and I’m sure that if I owned one, I’d quickly become used to it.
The Quadras were super reliable. I’m, constantly amazed at how many high output shots I can get from the batteries without running out of power. plus they seem to take very little time to recharge and are quite happy sitting in the car boot feeding off my inverter. A natty little by product of their compact size is that you could probably just about squeeze them behind the front seats of a 911…