Photographing Porsches in the darkest spot in the UK
Picture the scene – you've been led in convoy behind the wheel of a Porsche 718 Boxster T to one of the UK's darkest spots. On a clouded-over night. In the rain. And you've got a frunk full of camera kit to use.
That was me on Wednesday night last week. I knew I had to get some shots that night to try and show off just how dark it was, but I wasn't quite prepared for just how little sodding light there'd be in the Kielder Forest, in Northumberland. If you imagine the UK to be a bit like the world of Game of Thrones, Kielder would be just below the wall.
I didn't see any wildlings, but I did set my camera up for a two-minute exposure on a tripod to try and at least get some background detail – usually some moonlit clouds scudding along and blurring, or some stars poking through. A two-minute exposure would normally turn night into day, but I was still rewarded with a whole bunch of nothingness – just some noise and hot pixels from my Fuji X-T2's sensor.
Plan B then, was to leave my camera set up, and quickly light-paint the 718 T and 718 Spyder using the only light source I had to hand – my iPhone's torch. It was quite amusing running back and forth between the cars and my camera, which I'd turned down to a 20 second exposure. The resulting image is from five photos stacked on one another and quickly merged together using the 'lighten' blend mode in Photoshop. It looks a bit crap and totally surreal – there appear to be two Porsches floating in inky blackness. But I'm not a pro photographer so ner.
If you squint you can make out the light bouncing off Kielder Water behind the cars, and the reflected tail lights of a Macan at the bottom right. You can't hear me swearing as I genuinely struggled to see my camera and tripod each time I wanted to take another shot. And you definitely can't hear the bemused mutterings of another few journos who were stuffing themselves with coffee and cake out the back of the Macan.
And yes, I have written this post to prove that I do some actual work on these things. Long story short: if you want to photograph cars in the darkest spot in the UK, you have to get a bit inventive.