Finding locations for any type of photography is half the battle. The other half is then making it work for you. Sometimes, luck can be involved. Weather conditions, light, access, roadworks, animals, other people, literally anything can and will come along and test you. Ways around that can be to visit locations multiple times.
I recently admitted that landscape photographers are held in very high esteem in my book. Their dedication is awe inspiring to me. Lifestyle shoots too. They can be taxing for another bunch of reasons that I’ll come to in a later post.
Car photography offers another set of issues. Access, if it is for a static shoot can be an issue. Other cars and all those reflections are a challenge but finding a great location and then discovering that to use it, someone somewhere wants paying, well, that can kill it dead before you begin. Unless of course, if you have the option of closing the location, having it secure and all to yourself. Budgets are what budgets are!
One thing that I absolutely love, is architecture. Old, new, contemporary, weird and wonderful, I do love me a nice bit of building. The main issue is that a lot of wonderful architecture is simply not feasible to shoot a car with.
London, for example, has some top draw buildings. But while access to get a car close to them can be a struggle, or an impossibility, the other image killer is signs. You would think that given how much we rely on smartphone maps, the need to plaster the world with signs telling us where to go, would be over. Not a chance.
While you can photoshop them out, it is just so difficult to have a nice, clean image to start with. Not always though.
Luckily, there comes a time and a place that does work. It has easy access, offers lots of options and even provides excellent public parking on-site too. And, it isn’t in the middle of London.
Welcome to the seafront at Littlehampton. Moreover, welcome to the East Beach Car Park behind the East Beach Cafe.
If you like automotive photography, you may well have seen this location used by the esteemed professionals of Richard Pardon and Dean Smith. Due to the fact that it has a great modern design that is aged by the proximity to the sea, it is a lovely place to shoot.
For my shot, the addition of light painting was needed purely for the curves of the car from Paul Stephens, as there is also a handily placed street lamp to the left, out of frame, which casts a nice sodium orange across the scene.
The locals seem to have become fairly used to the comings and goings, although they do occasionally ask what the fascination is here as they shuffle passed you.
The best thing about this location though, is that it has quite a lot to offer, not just for cars. The Cafe is a great looking place (and the coffee and cake is great too) but there are a couple of other great little spots a short walk away.
There is the never ending bench that is actually called ‘The Long Bench’ which is a practical art installation, which curves up and around the beachfront:
And further down, there is one of my favourite concrete structures also on this beach front. The coves are representative of the waves of the ocean and sitting in them, it acts as a sound scape from facing the ocean too. If you wait, you can get some very nice images of people or use the space as a dedicated shoot:
Sometimes you can re-use locations for many different applications based upon different times of the day or year. As with all photography, you need to really work and look in and around all locations and see beyond what you may have thought was there at first. And always be prepared to keep a log of locations for future reference! I have a pile of location books and test files that I’m still yet to use.
And the list just keeps on growing!
Hope you like it. If there’s something I’ve done that you like and want to know more, drop me a line.
Every location has its sweet spot.