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We know that photographers, if given a chance, would shoot everything because each and every photographer has their own vision and for many it is a passion as well as a vocation or a hobby. Many photographers (even professionals) never get to shoot their dream assignment, but it does not stop them trying to visualize it and replicate elements in other shoots. Whether you are shooting a skier, a climber, a Formula1 race, a celebrity or your family, photographers are always looking for something a little different, a break from the norm. Something to make their work stand out from the crowd.
So what happens when you have one of the fastest, most desirable and most technologically advanced cars on the planet and one of the World’s leading automotive photographers and f-stop Staff Pro Easton Chang in the same place?
What happens when the same place is the middle of Australia?
Well, I am going to let Easton pick the story up from here…
As an Australian automotive photographer for the past decade, I have often found myself sent off to various parts of the world. Usually Shanghai, the US and other major automotive capitals, but rarely do I ever find myself sent on a shoot in the rugged Outback of my own country Australia.
We call it the “Outback”, when it actually encompasses the vast majority of the entire Australian continent interior. The Outback is nothing but desert, red earth and blistering heat. Making it an unusually travel-focused location for an automotive photographer.
The brief was one of the best I’ve ever received – shoot whatever hero shots I can, of the Porsche 918 Spyder in the Outback. It meant I could focus entirely on shooting what I wanted, how I wanted, with a million dollar hypercar shipped temporarily in from Germany.
We had to travel light, as hard cases weren’t practical when shooting on such a run, and with only one dedicated assistant. I hardly even used a tripod. My Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70 2.8 II, 70-200 2.8 IS and ancillary accessories was packed in my f-stop Kenti backpack. With my Phottix Indra 500 flash kits transported in dedicated f-stop large ICU’s. Our support car (a bright yellow Porsche 911 GT3) was equally as impractical with space as the hero 918 Spyder, so the soft cases made it a lot easier for us to throw our in and out of the awkward cabin and trunk space available.
After capturing some on-the-fly snaps on our way out of Alice Springs (the city in the center of Australia) we reached our target destination a few hundred miles north of the city. Where we found the newly unrestricted sections of Stuart Highway. Think Australian autobahn, only with desert and kangaroos.
Before the run, I took my time getting in as safe and as comfortable position I could in the passenger seat to photograph the dash at the right moment. Porsche Carrera-Cup winning racing driver Craig Baird and I discussed at length what was going to happen and what we were going to do. I wanted to get the shot, but I needed the both of us to be safe. I wouldn't have entered the car had I not been fully satisfied with the safety and expertise of the driver, the crew and the Porsche 918 Spyder.
After a few scouting runs for the safest, clearest section of road, I positioned myself in the passenger seat and snapped Craig pedaling us to 350km/hr (or 217mph).
After experiencing what was probably a record speed for a factory vehicle on a public road in the country, I immediately jumped out of the 918 and strapped myself into a helicopter to shoot some aerial imagery.
No rest for the wicked they say!
Nothing communicates the sheer scale of openness, loneliness and beauty of the Australian Outback as much as a view from the skies. The weather was perfect, and I had ample opportunity to shoot the hypercar kicking tons of red earth around.
Without a doubt, this commission was easily among the best experiences of my career.