Helen With the 911
While in Helen, for the Alpine VAG Fair, I shot a few sets of Jarrett’s Porsche Carrera T (991.2). I have a detailed set pending from a few months ago but I haven’t released anything official; just instagram posts. When we first met, Jarrett and myself spent many weekends exploring and shooting with his F80 M3. Hunting for unique locations with only a google map reference, we drove for hours to find areas to shoot. In some cases the best locations and were the ones we randomly found. At this point we have exhausted most of them and the F80 is now gone. Things have really changed since and I wondered if we would be able to do the same with the Porsche.
Any location we hit now is normally somewhere we have shot before. Even though it’s a completely different car; shooting doesn’t feel as exciting. One of the best parts of working with the M3 was the joy of finding brand new locations; exploring unknown areas with no clue on what we would find. The mystery of hunt is no longer there, if you know exactly where you are going. I have most spots saved in my google maps so they are all a click away. The trip to Helen brought that feeling right back. A completely foreign area that looked and felt different from home. The roads were even better, mostly 2 lanes and once you hit the mountain curves any real driver would be in heaven.
After visiting a Porsche meet in town we were anxious to hit the mountain roads. Somehow we got extremely lucky and ended up behind behind a driver who had no problem stretching the legs of his Carrera. Jarrett was just as willing and proceeded to keep lead car within close sight. With no traffic in front of us, the next 15 mins provided everything you would expect if you had the roads open to yourself.
After a quick stop we wanted to to explore more and get some proper shots in. The first spot we found was located at the bottom of hill after a steep climb. I told myself early on to take extra steps back to capture more of the beauty behind the car. It was truly amazing to have scenery I would normally compose into a shot on Photoshop. The area is far from industrialized and lacks poles, signs and powerlines; all the annoying things that end-up in ruining my photos. I then have to spend countless hours erasing them out to create shots like you see here.
It felt as if I cheated to be honest. With almost nothing to clone out, once I completed the color grading there was nothing more I wanted to do. The lush greens took over most of the shot and with a simple road cutting through, making the 911 stand out was easy. After a few more shots we jetted back up to eventually head into town. On the way, we noticed a stop that had about 5-6 random cars filling the area before, was now completely empty.
I really couldn’t ask for more, with mountains as far as the eye could see and absolutely no distractions I was able to shoot and also stare in amazement. This is when I realized I will make it a mission to visit Helen for any show that may happen each year. The 11hr drive is more than worth it. After a few shots Jarrett then had the bright idea to place the car on the other side to get the huge rock formation that ran parallel to the road.
Luck would have it, not a single car drove by us. It was dead silent as we frantically ran around the open road to get in as many shots as we could. I was reluctant at first but after seeing the final edits I’m glad we went for it. After hitting the cabin for a refresh we headed back out to find somewhere we could get a sunset shot. I wanted to, create a full set; with multiple angles and a few details. We also we after finding even higher locations out of sheer curiosity. Getting to press the Porsche through the turns again was a plus, I didn’t mind another roller coaster ride.
We drove for a long time, it was amazing carving the roads and just taking in the beauty around us but we started to learn there really weren’t any spots to pull off and shoot. We eventually reached a dead end after 30mins or so of driving. We took a few shots but the area wasn’t sufficient. Shortly before hitting the dead end we spotted an open lot on the inside of a wide turn. After wasting too much time, we decided to get a shoot in before we lost light since we had no idea where we would end up next.
The randomness to all the shots and locations brought back the same feelings from the past. I used this moment to bring myself closer to the car and grab a few details. The light gave me just the right amount of depth. With so much simplicity around, it was another smooth set that required minimal effort.
We still had it in us to try one more road. We left the area, headed back down and went after our goal, which was finding some sort of high point to shoot. As we drove, the road eventually started to tighten, the incline also increased rapidly and I felt the sign of pressure change in my ears. We drove like this for approx. 10 minutes until we reached a huge open lot. We found it.
I’m asuuming this is, or one of the highest points you could possibly drive to; any higher supposedly required a shuttle or hike. Whether it was highest point or not I was blown away by the view and having the 911 there added to beauty of the set. I made sure to step way back in these shots to capture as much as could around the car.
We shot until the light was too low. We also didn’t want the night to fall on us way up there. It eventually did 1/4 of the way into the drive so we had a sketchy trip back to town. For a pre-show day I was completely satisfied. There are so many shots from the entire weekend that I know I’ll treasure forever. The experience was amazing and I cant wait to visit Helen again.
The rest of the weekend and the car-show set will be up in the next day or two. If all goes well I may have a vlog of the weekend hitting youtube also. Stay tuned…