Do I have favorites? Sure. During my tenure at Mopar Muscle, I was one of only three photographers invited to the very first NASCAR Dodge test session at Talladega. It was in October 2000, before the Cup program started at Daytona the following year. Strapped into the rear of the Talladega safety clean-up truck, which was basically twin, seat-belted bucket seats facing rearward on a pick-up truck normally used to brush grease-sweep with, we went along the front stretch at about 75 mph with two cars behind us. We had a test driver in a new NASCAR Intrepid, and noted collector-vintage driver Tim Wellborn in Richard Petty’s original 1973 Charger, which is permanently housed in the Talladega Museum collection. Anyway, the fresh Intrepid was almost on the bumper of the truck, Wellborn was on the banking, the light was great, and the photo was terrific. We ran it on the cover and in the centerspread of the magazine, and a huge blow-up copy of it was hanging on the wall in the SRT tech center in Auburn Hills the last time I was up there.
Of course, there are the static images of cars. People are always amazed at what goes into shooting a car feature – I’m lying on the ground two blocks away, or I have a camera that is almost in the dashboard, or I’m scampering up a ladder (though I get nightmares about that as I get older – one of these days…). My current favorite, being used as a screen saver on the machine I’m writing on, is actually the final one I shot this past year. Let’s be honest, in a world of Superbirds and ’71 Cuda droptops, it can be hard to make a 1970 Duster, even a nicely modified one like Joe Sewell’s, appear interesting. So, I waited until sunset and ended up in an urban parking lot in a fairly large industrial town here in east Tennessee. As the winter sun went down, the emissions spewing from a local paper plant gave the entire sky a surreal orange-ish hue; my wife Linda held the strobe and I got this cool stuff on the Duster with this glow around it. A sample is here, and the whole feature is set to run in Mopar Muscle soon.
Light is what makes photography work, and I’ll probably always find some other shot by another photographer that I wish I had taken. My challenge becomes one of figuring out the best way to make the most of the opportunity any shoot offers. I have some of this stuff up on the quartermilestones.com website. Digital cameras and Photoshop is a big plus, but it is no replacement for the great light God puts out there at dawn and dusk. Guess it’ll be an early wake-up call for me, and I’ll be late for dinner…
Stunkard’s most infamous shot was this one of Brian Kohlmann’s fire burnout, that was later used as a poster by Mopar. Shameless plug – just-announced – personally signed 20x30s on custom Kodak metallic paper are available for the guy who wants the real deal – $159.95 postpaid normally – special to MoparMax readers for 99.95.
|Kohlmann in a borrowed car getting a scare as a ‘flite grenade goes off at one of the Super Stock Reunions of Frank Spittle at Virginia Motorsports Park. GSMH6503C||Sunday mornin’ comin’ down – Bob Reed with a smoke, a Hemi, and a hangover…|
Bogus bootleggers Stunkard and Hakim cruising the Tennessee mountains in a new SRT 8 Charger, passing a restored prewar coupe from the weekly Elizabethton car cruise. Cost: one element in a $1200.00 lens, ruining it for the race weekend. Image: Priceless. GSSRT1
Stunkard can be found here at MoparMax once a month, or all the time over at www.quartermilestones.com.