Jordan wanted to share an email about some photography stuff we’ve been working on, and he asked me to write this bit in first-person.
This is Kevin McCauley — I help the Modern Aircooled with these emails as well as with some photo stuff. As a professional automotive photographer, I am constantly shooting cars in ‘normal’ scenarios, but my creative itch to explore new techniques and experiment doesn’t rest. So sometimes, when I have an idea for a shot, and I need a darkened shop to serve as a studio, or an 18 foot ladder, or a Ferrari Testarossa, I call my friends at Modern Aircooled. And the things they’ve enabled me to do have been amazing.
This week, I had a new idea. I’ve shot with strobes in the past (powerful flashes synced to the camera) but they aren’t my favorite to work with. Lately, I’ve gotten into powerful, constant-lit LEDs — ideal for video, but powerful enough for dramatic photos. My thought was that if I could light the car with these lights that stay on, why not shoot the car from a drone, at night, to get a dramatically-lit, overhead perspective?
And there is simply no better car to view from directly overhead than a Porsche 993 Carrera 4S. Impossibly sculpted and wide, it’s the ultimate factory expression of roadgoing, aircooled Porsche 911.
We put red and blue gels on the lights and gave it a try. The camera on the drone doesn't have great low-light performance, probably similar to an iPhone (it’s a basic DJI Mini 2) — but the lighting was powerful enough that it was able to expose for the highlights without losing quality. I love how these turned out.
Below: behind the scenes of the setup. The red-gel light is next to the Mazda Miata, blue-gel light is out of frame to the right. You can see the tiny drone on the ground in front of the 993.
Earlier this month, I created a video tutorial about a different lighting technique inside the shop, embedded below: Taking your Light Painting to the Next Level: Short Exposures for Different Results
It has been amazing to create and have a collaborator willing to go along with my ideas, and I already can’t wait for the next one. If you have an idea of a shoot for your car, contact us and we can potentially make it happen!