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BMW M8

My top 5 car shots of all-time

I’ve just passed 1,000 posts on my Instagram page, and to celebrate, I’ve got my top 5 car shots of all-time.

#5 – BMW M3 in Weehawken

BMW E92 M#
Taken almost 3 years ago, I’m glad it was an Interlagos M3.

We start with the first blog post I wrote on here.

Where: Weehawken, NJ, near Port Imperial.

Time: November 2018

Car: 2008 BMW E92 M3

Backstory: This car belonged to Chris Peer, an Army soldier home from deployment during Thanksgiving break. He wanted the car gone, and was hoping my images would grab some extra attention.

The car was a very similar spec to my own, so I was very familiar with it.

Why it’s on the list: The combination of perfect lighting, color, composition with NYC in the background, and one of my favorite cars of all-time. I could try and replicate it, but it’ll never mean as much as this shot did. This remains the poster shot for showing why the camera you use does not matter.

#4 – GlassParency’s Porsche 911

Porsche 911
The water on the floor worked, as did the pitch black garage. it’s such a dramatic image.

Where: 631 Coatings warehouse in Long Island

Time: September 2019

Car: 2019 Porsche 911 GT3

Backstory: Clients almost always want a light painting shot, but unless we can find an extremely dark location, it’s limited. To really pull it off, it needs to be DARK.

The owner of 631 coatings had such a place – a warehouse full of cars.

Why it’s on the list: Light painting is always a bit of a crapshoot: “Did I cover the entire car?”, but it worked perfectly here. it’s now one of my most read how-to articles.

#3 – Larry’s R8 in Brooklyn

AMMO Audi R8
I didn’t know the quality of the graffiti until I got there, and this remains one of my favorite shots.

Where: Brooklyn, NY

Time: March 2018

Car: 2008 Audi R8

Backstory: AMMO NYC. Well, the location of the shoot is in the name of the company. How hard could it be? Very, actually. It was freezing cold, and hey, it’s Larry.

Why it’s on the list: This shot shows the importance of scouting your location. I was hoping the back wall would work, but who knew what kind of graffiti would be there. Turns out, the right kind.

#2 – Sue’s M2 at Pocono Raceway

BMW M2
The sunset was perfect, but the car is the star here.

Where: Pocono raceway

Time: August 2019

Car: 2016 BMW M2

Backstory: Being official media for events offers great perks, but I wanted a special BMW for a place that not many get to shoot at.

Why it’s on the list: Some things are out of my control. Like the kind of sunset I get. Or the location. But mostly, it’s Sue’s car that’s the star. I’ve never shot a prettier M2.

#1 – The BMW M8 at the BMW Performance Center

BMW M8 drifting
It’s the most complex shot I’ve ever taken, but it was worth it.

Where: The BMW Performance Center in South Carolina

Time: May 2021

Car: 2020 BMW M8 Coupe

Driver: Laura Hayes

Backstory: Think about how complex this shot is. I’m in an X5 moving at 50mph. The M8 comes in my frame, then out, in about 5 seconds. The sunlight is constantly moving. And all of this is less than 5 feet from me. Intense.

Laura, one of the pro instructors at the school, can hit her mark take after take, so it’s really all on me to capture the right moment.

Why it’s on the list: It proves what’s possible. What aperture do I shoot at? Exposure? What kind of lens do I use? Truth is, I don’t always worry about that. I’m just trying to capture a moment.

Bonus: The BMW M3 at the BMW Performance Center

BMW M3
There’s a lot going on here. A clear horizon line, beautiful sunset flair, a brightly-colored M3, and textured road.

Where: The BMW Performance Center in South Carolina

Time: May 2021

Car: 2021 BMW M3 Sedan

Backstory: When I do a roller, I wish I could tell you there was a more scientific way than “spray and pray”, but a lot of times, it’s just luck.

Now that’s not to say there is no method to the madness. I knew this hill offered a clean horizon line. I knew I wanted the car backlit with the setting sun. And I knew I wanted to pull back to reveal the curve of the road.

Why it’s on the list: Every time I look through my shots and see something like this, I still get giddy. “Wow, I can actually do it!” The composition here is perfect.

It might sound silly – I know I can take good shots, but maybe that’s why I love this so much. Each shoot offers something new.

Here’s to another 1,000 moments!

Commissions may be received for product links on this site, so help out if you can. I only write about products I use and believe in.

I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

Email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions.

Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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