Spotlight: David De Borja (@Deborja) x Lexi x FRS x BRZ

Well that was a mouthful.

Anyway, David finally sent me all the photos from the photoshoot we did a few weeks ago that I did the BTS shoot for and he gave me his blessing to share on here with everyone else. As you might have already seen/read – the shoot was an amalgamation of a whole bunch of other shoots – Jason Tang’s BRZ, Steve’s GTR, some rolling shots, and some of Lexi with the cars too and the below is the result of all that.

I mentioned many times before as well that it’s interesting to see another photographer work their craft – you only get to see where they’re standing and what they could potentially be taking a picture of, but you’ll never really ever get to see what they see through the viewfinder at that moment in time. When I photograph and when I look through the viewfinder, I try to envision the endgame or the result that I want to end with the photo. Before going into a photoshoot, I like to imagine the location, the car, the colours, the time of day and the lighting and put it all together in my head to know exactly how I’m going to colour-grade the photo, what look I’m going for, what angles will look best and when I finally get to shooting and looking through the viewfinder becomes an easy task – it just comes down to pointing, aiming and shooting. The idea and the way the photoshoot is going to turn out has already solidified in my head and I “know” what it will look like before it’s even done. I know – it sounds like blasphemy and crazy shit – but that’s truly my way of preparing for a photoshoot.

With that said, being an observer at a photoshoot almost causes me a small level of anxiety – only because I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t know what it looks like through the viewfinder and the always-prepared-photographer in me wants to know! And so after bugging David a few times – he finally got around to doing the photos and I know he’s a busy guy – the guy is doing a photoshoot every hour of the day it seems. I’ll be eating lunch and he’ll be shooting one car and when I hope on the gram again, he’ll be shooting another car before I’ve digested my last meal. Anyway, I was stoked when he sent me the photos today and I was stoked to share them with you. I was particularly excited to see the photos with Lexi because my car has never been shot by many people other than myself, let alone with a model. In short – it’s a different perspective for me and it’s refreshing to see my car in a different set up than its usually in. The mood and tone of the photos paired with the colours of Lexi’s outfit turned out great!

Check out David’s instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/deborja/

Rooftop Shenanigans?

I guess every photoshoot that I’m not actually doing is just a shenanigan now cause I don’t know what else to call it lol. Yesterday, David had a few of us come out to do a quick photoshoot downtown. He’s been wanting to do some urban/downtown rollers for a while now and he got his chance! I met up with Steve in his GTR to get our cars washed and we rolled out to the top of the parkade downtown. I’ve never actually driven all the way up to this one before since I’ve never had the need to but it ended up being a really nice spot.

There was a bunch of things going on yesterday afternoon – between Steve getting some shots of his GTR before he sells it, some model pictures, a BRZ and FRS duo shoot, and rollers – we were all just following David’s lead. It’s a weird thing to not be the one coordinating the shoot since that’s what I’m used to.

Being the bystander at a photoshoot is a new thing to me… Like, where do I stand? Am I in the way? Should I talk to the photographer or do I shut up? Is it creepy to watch while the model is posing on the cars? I dunno – me and Steve just ended up talking cars anyway and looking away while awkwardly trying to get out of the way LOL. Personally, while I’m shooting – I enjoy talking about the persons car and what they’ve done to it and what their plans are. It might not look like it, but I’m listening and it helps me add a little flair to the write up that I usually do, or if you talk about a certain aspect of the car a lot, it hints to me that it’s something you probably enjoy and like a lot, so I’ll take pics of it. For me – while shooting – the silence is likely as awkward as it is for you standing there watching me LOL!

Anyway, most of the shots below are just behind the scenes shots and random things I took while we were there. I can’t not bring my camera to a photoshoot and take some pics, even if it’s not my photoshoot…

Since these weren’t really serious photos for me, I ended up getting a chance to try out my new polarizer and played around with some different colour gradings to give a different effect. I typically like to stick to a very natural feel with a very minimal post-processing look but sometimes playing around with sliders to give a different look makes it a bit more interesting. I typically tend to favour the warmer and yellow/orange hues over cool tones like the above, but I tried something a little different today…

Which one is the photographer?! Just kidding – Steve just grabbing some shots on the sidelines while David does his thing.

I was able to snap a quick pic of the GTR as well – one for the books I suppose. I never did get a chance to shoot his GTR while he owned it.

A view from the top of the parkade. A nice overcast day with some sun peeking through here and there – perfect weather for pics.

And then me in my creeper mode… David shooting Lexi with my FRS and Jason Tang’s BRZ.

Focus switch…

Me just snapping randoms of my car while Jason T’s car gets all the attention.

Here is where I started getting a little crazy with the colour grading and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m 50/50 on it because I think it gives a cool feel but I think it’s just “not me” that I can’t fully hop on board yet. Lexi was looking off to the left at David while I shot this and it ended up looking pretty good. What do you guys think? Too much? Looks OK?

Another random shot I took just cause David was off doing something else. Sometimes random shots work and sometimes they don’t… Here is when it doesn’t but I edited it anyway.

Another shot of David doing his thing. I’m really looking forward to seeing these pictures as I’ve never been to a shoot with a model with cars while someone else was doing the shooting. Yesterday was completely new and strange to me because it was so out of my element but interesting to watch. Like I said in my previous posts with Mike and Ricky – it’s crazy to see how different shots can be of the same subject once all is said and done.

Another random that I creeped on to take.

And one last one of David taking shots with Lexi.

And finally – something I’m OK at – a shot of Jason’s BRZ and my FRS together with more blue/cool colour grading. Hopefully when David is done I can share some on here for you guys!

Mini Red Roadster – Stanley’s Mazda Miata

A nice hump day read for you all is Stanley’s Mazda Miata. This one took a little while to post because I actually ended up getting tons of great shots of his car that I didn’t know which one to edit/post. I usually take a lot of photos at the same angle just in case something went wrong – shaky hand, something pops into frame that I didn’t want, bad focus… Whatever the case is, but last Sunday almost every shot of Stanley’s car turned out impeccable. I think it was a combination of a car that was a colour other than black or white, the nice bright/clear day, and the vibrance of the scenery around us – hard to fail and doubley hard to look bad.

I’ve never really seen Miata’s around and if I do, they’re usually beat to rust and you’ve typically got an older gentleman driving it. Stanley’s is one of the first Miata’s that I’ve gotten to spend a good chunk amount of time around and I liked it as soon as he rolled into the parking lot we met at. It’s hard not to love a nicely done car with simple, yet bold modifications.

The first thing that caught my eye is the bright red paint. I’ve always said that I loved shooting coloured cars – and most of our friends have black/white/silver cars so I don’t get that option a lot of the time. The only other red car I might typically get to see is Punit’s Integra.

I always seem to get the typical “cleaning wheels” shot. I mean… Clean wheels are important right? Not just at a photoshoot, but at a car show too………………………

His Miata sits on an aggressive set of 15×9.5 Work Meisters – again – one of my all time favourite classic wheels that just never go out of style and never look bad on any car they go on.

The one thing that I was kind of afraid of that day was the full-on afternoon sun. Very little cloud cover and pavement make for a lot of overexposure. Thankfully, all my favourite colours came out to play and helped out in the shoot. All the reds/greens/blues came out to play and resulted in a super vibrant photoshoot.

It also helped that Stan’s brand new paintjob shined clearly that day. Whewwww

Another shot of Stan’s aggressive fitment. Not too much, not too little… Just perfect.

That 90’s style though.

There isn’t an angle on Stanley’s Miata that I didn’t like and I’m generally quite picky. That’s probably why I got so many shots of it – I just couldn’t capture it all!

Another thing I miss from the 90’s is pop up lights. I do favour the pop-up look on cars like the Miata and NSX. It’s a cool feature that makes me a little jelly.

A cool little thing that Stanley showed me was that these were aftermarket replacements. You see those little lines running all through the front of the headlight? Those are heating elements for winter to prevent ice from building up on the headlight. They’re LED inside too – SO COOL.

The classic Smiley Miata face.

One of the funny things that I silently noted to myself while shooting Stanley’s car was the sound the door makes when you open and close it. Some of you might not understand it – especially if you’ve always driven in a car post 2000’s – but it brings me back to the day when I shot Romel’s AE86 (slightly off-topic, but related).

Here’s the link to the flashback if you’re interested: https://lifewithjson.com/2014/01/03/romels-hachiroku-ae86/

That day, we were talking about how Romel just replaced all of the door seals and it felt good as new. I didn’t understand it back then (maybe almost 9 years ago?) because it just sounded like metal hitting metal. Arif had joined me on that shoot and he told me that I wouldn’t understand (similarly to how I just told you up there) because my car was too new and that I’d have to try it to understand. Let’s just say, after opening and closing Romel’s door that day – it was like something I’ve been longing to experience again for a long time and admittedly, Stanley’s car has been the only car that I’ve opened and closed that has reminded me of that day.

It sounds like a silly thing but believe me when I say that it’s truly something different. This is one of those “you wouldn’t understand unless you’re a car-person” things. You feel the weight of the door, it’s solid, it doesn’t have any technological-feel like soft-close or auto-close. OK, I get it – I’m going on about closing a door – I’ll stop. The point is that this is one of those things from the 90’s that we’ve lost and we’re never getting back. Ever. I’ll say it again – you wouldn’t understand if you’ve never opened and closed a door on a well-kept classic car.

Not much more can be said about Stanley’s Miata other than it’s clean as hell. I’ve alluded to my liking towards the 90’s era car period but there’s something about a lot of the JDM sports cars from the 90’s that just doesn’t seem to age. Yes, todays cars have sharper lines and generally bigger bodies, but you take a car made in the 90’s and plop it right smack dab in the middle of cars like my FRS and an EVO X – which btw are also two very different classes of cars – and the Miata would still draw attention and it would still hold it’s own.

I’m not sure the same can be said about the cars made today. The styling has become so radical and extreme that maybe that styling can only last while the people can stand it? When big grills and multiple vents become outdated – will the cars that came with them become outdated to? Will we think the same thing about cars like the FRS, Type R, and the new NSX in 20 years? Maybe not…

One for you phone wallpaper fanatics…

And to end the post – one last profile shot overlooking the Rocky Mountains (which you don’t really see, but trust that they’re there). We’ll be going for another shoot shortly with some new gear I hope so stay tuned if you want to see more of Stanley’s Miata!

Quickie Photoshoot with Ken Au

Ken recently came from Winnipeg for a few days to cover off Driven and he asked if I wanted to come out for a quick photoshoot last Sunday morning. I’m always down for a shoot that I don’t have to do – especially if it’s my car LOL.

Anyway – thought I’d post them up. Give Ken a visit at his site as well: www.ken-au.com

I like this shot. The lighting and the angle just helps accentuate the curves of the stock body and the Arise kit nicely. Widebodies are nice but the stock body is just too good for me.