Ford Focus RS

I wrote a week or so ago about my slightly inebriated photo shoot of a Ford Focus RS. This (like the Audi A3 and VX220 before it) was carried out for Richard at Performance Car Dreams a sports car sales and sourcing company. As well as sourcing and selling very nice cars, Richard is also a nice guy. So no reason not to use his services. My only issue is that if I buy the Focus RS he’s currently selling, I’ll end up single and homeless. I would have a nice car though….

So I shambled around a field with my Vivitar 285HVs and my new radio triggers to see if I could get any interesting photos. I ended up bright yellow from the pollen of all the lovely yellow buttercups, and had to run squealing from several wasps but apart from that it was relatively uneventful.

This here photomographic image was taken using the two Vivitar 285s to the left and right of the frame, triggered by radio.

Ford Focus RS

As Richard needed some shots to help the car look as good as possible for the sales advert, I took a few interior ones and detail photos as well, which are alright I s’pose.

Focus RS seats

Focus RS gearstick

Focus RS brake caliper

Starting to get a few more cars lined up for shoots, which is nice. Nothing more to say at this stage!

The end

chop chop

I’ve always had problems when I take any time off work – I end up going out and beating the living hell out of my bank balance buying all manner of things I wouldn’t be buying if I’d just gone to work.

Today on a routine visit to a superstore I find myself buying a set of knives. Not just any knives though – Global knives, which are all sharp and pointy and made by Japanese people. The price was too good to refuse; at about 60% of the cost of buying them online it would have been rude not to.

Global Knives Box

Knives are good because you can use them for all sorts of things, including but not limited to;

1.) Cutting.
2.) Slicing.
3.) Stabbing.

I probably wont do any of 3.) if I’m honest, it’s not really my scene. I do like a bit of cheese though so 2.) will be fairly common.


I should hope so too, with what they cost if they aren’t sharp then I’ll be pretty annoyed.

I’d like to say I’m some sort of gifted chef and need to spend sick amounts of cash on knives but this would be a big fat lie. I’ll use these for cutting bits of cheese and avocados in half and that’s about it. But all the time I’ll feel like I’m Gordon Ramsey or Heston Blumenthal.

Global Knives

All these knives apparently have a specific function but in reality I have no idea what those functions are so I’ll chop away with whatever random one I lay my hands on.

Global Knives

Global Knives

Anyway I’ll lay off the pictures of knives now for fear of looking like some sort of total psycho.

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trying to focus

Best pun ever, because I’m taking photos and have to focus, and the car I am photographing is a Focus, and I’m very drunk and finding it hard to focus.

In the style of an episode of a mediocre US TV series, flash back 24 hours. Richard sends me a text message as he needs me to take some pictures of his Ford Focus RS before he sells it, and I’m happy to oblige, so I scrawl some notes in my journal in what is possibly the least preparation I’ve done for a car shoot since I started the whole journal affair.

My Booky Wook

Fast forward to lunchtime the next day and I find myself at a barbeque at a friends house. Naturally as it’s one of the first half decent days weather of the year I start swilling beer and eat a load of meat and get some nice sunburn, before rolling home in time to do a photoshoot.

So to recap;

1.) Not enough preparation
2.) Full to the brim with beer and meat.
3.) Sunburn

It was never going to result in the best photographs ever but I did get a chance to use my new radio flash triggers and they are a definite improvement on the optical ones, although the range is still a bit lacking, which was a disappointment.

I rolled around on the grass firing away and got about 70 odd shots which I’ll no doubt whittle down to about one that I don’t totally hate.

My flashes went off most times I wanted them to though – woo!

Ford Focus RS,  flash test

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radio killed the video star

I had already purchased optical remote flash triggers for my Vivitar flashes a few weeks back. The optical triggers work by detecting the output of another flash (or strobe if you are so inclined to call it that) and then triggering the attached flash when light is detected.

In practice the optical triggers were quite simply sh*t. As in they almost never worked, either triggering the flash totally randomly or not at all. Fun for about two seconds then utterly enraging, especially when you spend ages setting up a shot, wait for the flashes to cycle up to full power, and have one flash fire for no apparent reason. So you have to wait 10 more seconds for a recycle – only for the other flash to fire on it’s own.

To summarise, these optical triggers were only any use in a studio environment and even then not really much use at all.

Ebay to the rescue, hopes I.

The industry standard for triggering off camera flashes are called Pocket Wizards. They however cost an eye-watering pant wetting amount of cash that I am simply too cheap to pay, so I bought three Chinese radio triggers for about 1/10th the price of one pocket wizard. The stylish packaging doesn’t inspire confidence – particularly when the only bit of English text says “Suitable for advanced camerist”.

How bad can they be?

cheapo radio flash trigger and slaves

cheapo radio flash trigger and slaves

The answer is not nearly as bad as the optical triggers, but still not that great. With only two flashes involved they work very well. Factor in a third flash and the reliability seems to fall off with all three firing only about one in five tries. I can play with the settings to try to improve this, as I think it’s a timing issue. Hopefully it will get better. They are still a world apart from the optical ones so I’m not unhappy.

cheapo radio flash trigger and slaves

I’ll use these in anger as soon as possible then see what they are like out in the real world. I may smash them all up if they don’t work. Another dent in the bank balance in the name of bad photographs. Onwards, ever onwards!

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mini mayhem

Last week I had a chance to shoot a z-cars bike engined mini, owned by a work colleague.

First things first, this car is nuts. Rather than a mini A series engine it’s running a Suzuki GSXR 1000 engine. In the back. I kid you not.

Sequential gearbox, wilwood brakes, 4 point harnesses, if you know what any of that means you’ll probably like the sound of it. If you don’t you are probably bored already.

You can find the full set of a dozen pictures here – z cars bike engined mini, or you can just enjoy the highlights

z-cars bike engined mini

z-cars bike engined mini

z-cars bike engined mini

z-cars bike engined mini

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