Rocket Bunny V2 x Arise Sport

Finally a photoshoot! Man, it’s been a crazy summer – 1.5 weeks to go before baby comes, so I mean – it could happen 30 minutes from now or it could be another 2 weeks before we’re +1 in the family. Personally, I’m hoping it’s 30 minutes from now but you can’t rush a good thing, I suppose…

Anyway, I recently just spoke with Steve at Sunday School and we got talking about his build. We’ve chatted on and off over the last year or so and he’s been saying his RB FRS is coming together but slowly… At Sunday School, he was stoked to tell me that it was done! Fast forward a few days and he suggests that we should do a photoshoot together. I’m down as long as Diana isn’t in labour or baby isn’t already here.

Some background information – Steve is also a photographer, but he doesn’t shoot cars. He shoots people and weddings – the complete opposite of what I like to shoot. The fun begins when my good friend Steve suggests that we should do a photoshoot during the golden hours of the morning to get some good light. In my defense, “golden hours” means 8 or 9 AM. To a “people” photographer, I guess that means 5 or 6 AM, on a Sunday, the day after a late wedding we were just at.

Whatever – I’m game – I’ve stayed out for late photoshoots, I’ve done harsh-lighting mid-day photoshoots, I’ve done my definition of “golden hour” photoshoots at 9 AM but I’ve never done true golden hour photoshoots… And I’m always up for something new. So this post begins at 5AM…

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We agreed to meet at a gas station near Cross Iron at 6AM. The roads were dead, my eyes were burning, and the clerk was looking at me like I was crazy. The sky was beautiful though.

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So I couldn’t resist taking some snaps while the car was still super clean.

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We double-teamed the shoot with no usual help and that was fine. The roads were dead on the way out to the location so I attempted rolling shots on my own. I couldn’t miss the opportunity to capture the sunrise behind us.

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I’ll admit, if I could get up this early all the time for photoshoots – I would. This is the type of light you can’t get no matter what and it’s just so calming. The roads are so empty that it becomes more of a relaxing drive at this time. Although my eyes were dry as hell, it’s hard to deny it was a good time.

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We got to the first spot but didn’t stay there long. I think I took this one shot and that was it. Mainly because we got up this early but we weren’t taking advantage of the sunrise. Everything around us was blocking it… So we moved on quick.

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We found a road with some nice S curves and the sunrise right behind it so we parked right in the middle and did our thing. The nice thing about shooting at 6 AM is that no one is even going to be on that road to bother you.

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Two of the same cars, two different styles. It’s nice to shoot them together because you see how different they can actually be built.

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Steve’s car on Rotiforms and mine on Volks. Differences in approach are evident all the way around the car.

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I will say this – Rocket Bunny has some wicked looking body kits that genuinely compliment the shape of the car and its’ lines. I enjoy every car they have a kit for. Steve’s FRS just has an aggressive stance and it just looks good. It’s one thing to see RB in pictures and another to see it in person.

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Nose to nose.

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Only at a few points in my life of owning the FRS have I wanted to put a widebody on my car. I like the stock lines too much and I honestly dread the day that I decide I don’t want them anymore – what I would do with cut up rear quarters LOL. This shot in particular makes me want it real bad.

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Out back, Steve got custom blast pipes made.

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Wide load.

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By this time, the sun was coming up but the sky was still pale and the sun wasn’t harsh. Absolutely awesome light.

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Shot of Steve doing this thing… Which by the way, I hope to share when he’s done editing.

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On the other hand, like I mentioned – I enjoy the stock curves a little more. One of the reasons I absolutely love the Arise kit is that it accentuates the lines nicely. Not that no other kit does, but the Arise bumper does a good job of taking all the stock body lines and pulling them down and towards the middle.

That’s one of my pet peeves about all the kits that are available – it looks like companies just put something together and basically disrespected the body lines altogether. FRS kits are not the only ones – there are plenty out there…

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Ass shot. I love the wide look.

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One of my favourite shots… Bunny in the wild

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On the way back – the sun was getting a bit harsh and was against me but still nice shots nonetheless.

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Look at that rear quarter. DAMN!

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Well, we parted ways here. I decided to take one last shot of before taking my exit. *Cue Wiz Khalifa – See you again*

Would I ever wake up at 5 AM again? Yes. Under these conditions: I slept early the night before, and it isn’t on a Sunday or weekday. I’m still catching up on rest as I write this.

The Return of BIGNJPN: Giuseppe’s Nissan Skyline – Round 2

It’s been a few weeks now since I shot Giuseppe’s Skyline again with Diana, JC, and Punit – this would now be the second year in a row that I’ve shot Giuseppe’s car – and I’ll tell you right now that this isn’t a bad thing. I’m pretty sure I mentioned it in my last post with his photoshoot, but I would gladly shoot his car at the drop of a dime because it’s just that good.

Oh, and for those of you who haven’t happened to see the last shoot, check it here: https://lifewithjson.com/2014/06/16/bignjpn-giuseppes-nissan-skyline/

Anyway, the reason I’ve been holding out on the shoot is because the shoot is originally for Farm of Minds (which you can also check out here – http://www.farmofminds.com/giuseppes-r32-gtst/). I just wanted to give them the chance at posting it first before I posted up my own rendition of the photoshoot. The difference is more that I have a lot of the back end story, behind the scenes, etc rather than a spec list and full fledged feature. It’s not my style anymore… Plus, I enjoy doing the back story edition 🙂

I know Giuseppe has been DYING to see the pictures. I would send him edited teaser pics from my monitor so he wouldn’t have full res shots. I’m the type of guy that goes for a photoshoot and probably has the pictures done the same night with the full post up the following night. Even for me, I was anxious to share the pictures with all of you. Anyway, you all probably know about Giuseppe’s Skyline… And if you didn’t, now you do. Let’s get on with it…

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Diana and I carpooled with JC just so it was easier to get everywhere.

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While waiting for Giuseppe, I just took some randoms.

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JC didn’t want anything to do with it…

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As we were waiting, the train came passing by and at that moment, I was wishing Giuseppe was around to get some snaps. He actually did end up showing up at the right time, parked quickly and let me get some shots. As I’m writing this, I’m wondering why I didn’t edit any… But I’ll save it for the “winter blues” post when all the fluffy, cold white stuff starts taking over…

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We moved on and finally got to work on the actual subject. As always, it’s not hard to make Giuseppe’s car look good. If anything, his car makes my pictures look good…

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Looks like it came right off the showroom…

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The difference in this shoot was that Giuseppe asked for it to be a night time shoot. I was down for a challenge since the last time I shot at night was years ago. We met up a little earlier – as you can see – so that I could capture some sunset shots…

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It’s almost like we were in Japan in this shot. So JDM…

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That bright red Bride bucket…

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Heading over to the next spot… I love shots like these…

As I said above, this would be the first time I’ve done a night shoot in a few years. And since it would be a few hours until sundown, this would’ve been one of the longest photoshoots we’ve had. So I took the opportunity to take some more “journalistic” looking photos and you’ll see some throughout the post. This is one of them…

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You’ll see those wide SSR’s under the flares from last post, but you’ll also spot his biggest and newest addition in this photo as well…

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Ohh la la

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But wait! A wild Punit appears…

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Just some engine bay shots…

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Cusco

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Giuseppe made a point to clean the engine this time 🙂

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And an overhead shot of the power plant.

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We made our way up to one of the parkades to get some shots over-looking the smoggy YYC downtown backdrop. This shoot was around the time that Washington had the crazy fires and everyone up North had a very smoggy few days…

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That doesn’t really stop Giuseppe’s car from shining through though. The downtown office lights start to shine nicely as it gets darker…

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One challenge in particular when shooting around this time is that you get two very distinct and nice tones. Either the cool, blue tone or a warm, yellow tone. The few photos above this one is where I picked the cooler tone. The photos you’ll see on Farm of Minds for the next several photos also took that same approach. I decided to sit down and re-edit a few using the warm tone… Both look good, and I couldn’t decide which ones I liked better…

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Sorry – enough about photo blabber. Back to Giuseppe’s car… If you hadn’t guessed it, his newest addition was the Rocket Bunny rear diffuser that Giuseppe retrofitted on. Looks great!

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A side view of the diffuser. Giuseppe is a great example of bringing in quality parts and putting a ton of thought and even chance into retrofitting them onto his car… And each time, he executes beautifully. There are other parts you’ll notice that you probably don’t usually see on R32’s – that’s why Giuseppe’s car is so great.

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Loved this shot with the Calgary Tower chillin’ in the back and all the office lights…

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A similar shot zoomed out slightly with a cooler tone to it…

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As we moved down the parkade, I took a few more shots with the typical “parkade lights” and they show the lines of Giuseppe’s R32 nicely.

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In between the last shot and this one, we were confronted by the mighty security guard of the parkade and he told us to hurry up and leave. Kind of dumb because we obviously weren’t doing much… Plus, we paid to get in. Ah well… I got the shot!

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Just a few rolling shots as per usual.

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Mother nature

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Down low. Looks like Hong Kong in the back…

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The night falls upon us… The challenge begins.

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Giuseppe mentioned that one of the spots he’s always wanted to park and get a picture of was under the Core’s overpass in front of Holt Renfrew. I proceeded to tell him to get in line, because everyone and their mom wants a shot there… Specifically, they want a shot in front of Louis Vuitton.

Fortunately, I didn’t turn him down and agreed to get the shot for him. It actually requires a bunch of “right timing” and coordination with a bunch of people. First, it needs to be late so that the valet doesn’t come kick you out. Second, the amount of people needs to be minimal or else they’ll get in the way. Third, a spot needs to be available while another driver drops me off on the other side of the street. And finally, you need to take the best damn shot you can because cars are passing continuously.

Anyway, we didn’t get Louis Vuitton, but we got the main entrance, and we got Hermes. Good enough!

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Some shots that didn’t really turn out how I liked, but once I edited them a certain way, they looked real dark and gritty. Totz cool.

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Here’s Giuseppe backing up into the spot you saw above. That truck was the one that got in the way of Louis Vuitton you can see there as well…

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As we were rolling out of there, I popped my head out of the car and snapped a few quick shots of Giuseppe following behind. This was on Stephen Ave – hence the cool lights on the ground and posts all around.

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Heading out for some night rollers…

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A scene from Fast & the Furious.

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Another dark and gritty shot.

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Through downtown, I got a few shots that worked nicely.

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Check that rearview mirror reflection on Giuseppe’s eyes. Means business.

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And one last one through downtown.

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We ended up at a spot JC had been talking about all night and then we found a spot to drive up onto the side walk and take some dope shots. Long exposure, super small aperture, and you get awesome skies, twinkling lights and nothing but shine…

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Loved this shot too. Kind of like the rolling shot above during the day, it looks almost like a Hong Kong city skyline. (or Japan – whatever you please…)

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And one last one over by some cool lights on a wooden walk way…

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And one last shot – which probably ended up being one of my favourite shots – was this one along Memorial Drive. Giuseppe and I were talking and it reminded the both of us of a shot a few years ago of a yellow R32 that was featured on Stance Nation. That shot ended up being one of my backgrounds during my early photographer years. Little did I know, I’d end up recreating it with Giuseppe’s car almost 6 years later.

Anyway – hope you guys enjoyed! Sorry for the lack of content lately… Weather has sucked lately so I haven’t done anything cool. Hopefully I have some updates soon!

Giuseppe’s Nissan Skyline Edit

I wouldn’t normally post up so many before and after pictures but I was pretty excited about this one.

Giuseppe has been wanting a canvas print of a shot I took during out photoshoot this summer for his new house. We’ve been going back and forth between sizes and he’s had some issues with his house that put this on the back burner until last night when he was ready to pull the trigger.

He ended up picking one of many of my favourite shots that day and I really wanted it to look extremely clean for a canvas wrap. I spent a few hours last night cleaning up and making sure it was good to go before sending it his way for final approval. This is a perfect example of where the time it takes to edit is really what you’re paying for. Taking the picture is 20% of the work while editing is where the magic happens and I thought this would be a perfect example of that.

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The before picture. Again, all I’ve added was my watermark.

The white balance is off because we were in the tunnel, the reflection of Aldrich’s car is across his whole car and there are a few other little things that can be a small distraction. The last thing I’m sure Giuseppe wants is a reflection of someone else’s car, an orange/yellow hue, and switches and pipes all over the place.

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So let’s fix that up for him. The white balance has been adjusted to help make Giuseppe’s car pop like it really does, I took Aldrich’s car out of the mix, I removed the pipes and switches on the walls, brought his brakes out a little more, and lit that tunnel up a tad to – I quote Giuseppe – make it look like a million bucks.

The part that took the longest was actually getting Rich’s car out of the reflection. It’s particularly more difficult to do on a metallic car (so most cars) because you need to get the grain, the texture, and the lighting all right. Those that do rig shots understand the pain… You have to clone the whole door but you only have a little piece of reference on the car to work with. Dodging and burning help bring out the details as well.

The rest of the credit goes to Giuseppe for building an amazing looking car to begin with. I can’t wait to see the finished product and hanging in your house, Giuseppe!

Enjoy!

Photoshop: Aimgain x Rocket Bunny

Playing around with some ideas last night and I think I actually lost sleep because yesterday because I’ve been thinking about how I can put the FRS together in a way that’s even the slightest bit different than the rest of the crowd but still love it. There are a ton of kits out there but very few are actually aesthetically good, and then you have the few that are very popular because well… They obviously look good. The good thing about it all is that you can mix and match parts (kind of like the S2000) and still have it look well-executed.

Even before I owned the FRS, I’ve wanted the Varis Arising II kit and I had envisioned every single part I was going to put on it from top to bottom… It was only a matter of time before I got to actually getting there like all things that take money and time. A certain something has started swaying me from the kit (as much as I love it) and it sucks that it’s the only reason I don’t want it anymore… But I digress…

Second in line of course is Aimgain – I love the look of the front bumper the most and while a duckbill spoiler would look good, I’m a GT wing kind of guy. So last night, I thought “hey I’ll chuck the red TE37’s on there and see if the Rocket Bunny wing would look good with the Aimgain kit”. Below is the result.

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While I did keep the TE37’s red, I doubt they’ll stay red. I love the design of the Rocket Bunny but it doesn’t flow with the kit. You can kind of see the predicament I’m in (if you’re as anal as I am about making sure all the parts go together like they should). Maybe I’ll come up with a different idea and photoshop it again…

What do you guys think?