Girardo & Co Porsche 956 Night Shoot

April 14, 2022

porsche 956 rothmans Le Mans car Goodwood members meeting 2022 Alex Lawrence

Was it a dream?

Where has the start of 2022 disappeared to? One minute I was waiting for snow and now, spring is well and truly here. You can tell it has here in the UK. Goodwood and daffodils have been enjoyed.

The 79th Members Meeting was a bit of a blur for me this year. In part because I had a relatively small brief but also because some of what I’ve been doing there won’t be out until late summer. And the other bits of that I’ve not even started yet. I don’t mean to be mysterious, I just can’t tell you anything.

Still, thanks to Girardo & Co, I can show you something.

The gathering saw the usual array of all wondrous things motorsport related. Formula One cars, pre-war cars, GP motorbikes and even tyre shredding drift cars. The highlight for many though was the Porsche Le Mans display. A gathering for the ages of the glorious Group C cars.

porsche 956 rothmans Le Mans car Goodwood members meeting 2022 Alex Lawrence

Camping

As with many events I attend, I camped. Seemed like the right thing to do. I was filming on the Friday in Oxfordshire and then needed to head home via Donington Park on the Sunday so just needing somewhere to grab forty winks, the back of my trusty van would do.

Given that I constantly check the weather for shoots, you’d think that I’d have noticed the temperature dropping below zero for this weekend. But no. Still, my brief was to shoot the Girardo 956 at night and hopefully with the firework display. The display was scheduled for 9:45pm so of course, thanks to the shivering cold, I was second in line to the ticket office on Saturday morning at 6:45am…

I still needed to get some shots of the Girardo team in and around the event as well as the other stuff I can’t tell you about, so I won’t lie; it was lovely to enjoy the event. Usually, its a cavalcade of running here, there and everywhere. But it did give me time to try and not overthink the shoot that night. I still get nerves before a shoot and I don’t think I ever want them not to be there. They keep you alert and focussed.

I was pleased that I also had my assistant for the shoot, Ian Skelton, coming along. As a great motorsport photographer, it is helpful to have someone you trust on a shoot. Especially when you need an extra pair of eyes. A paddock is always a busy place and keeping people out of shot is as easy as herding cats.

Day done, it was time to get prepared. The Porsche display headed out for the sunset track parade. I headed to the sheds to make sure we had all we needed and a clear space.

porsche 956 rothmans Le Mans car Goodwood members meeting 2022 Alex Lawrence

Fireworks

We’d seen earlier in the day where the firework packs had been setup on the airfield but it came as a slight surprise when the first ones went off. They were well to the left of where both myself and Nigel Harniman thought they were going to be.

Nigel is a photographic God so please be sure to check him out. If you don’t know him by name, you will by work. Nigel regularly shoots the Goodwood group shots at events and is a lovely bloke. We both needed to double check which direction the night fireworks display was set to go. Fortunately, with about 15 minutes before I needed to start shooting, we got it confirmed that our initial intel was right. Phew. Last thing I wanted was to re-frame everything.

porsche 956 rothmans Le Mans car Goodwood members meeting 2022 Alex Lawrence

The shoot

And so, show time came. Although as ever, it nearly didn’t.

We’d roped in Rob Cooper to help with positioning the car but it seemed wrong when moving. Rob, bless, is a new father so I’ll blame sleep deprivation but I’ll also publicly out him here; it was in gear, dear.

The guys at Blakeney Motorsports deserve thanks for their assistance on that front as Rob needed to head off early. Rolling the car around certainly kept both Ian and I warm and we managed to have the main car shots done ahead of the 11 minute firework display starting.

Frames made, my 2 legged lightstand and me knew we’d got something special.

It also felt like a bit of a workshop too. The array of photographers that were behind us while we worked seemed to ebb and flow in number. But they all behaved, even if Will (won’t name him totally) did ask us if we could run the light over the car again for him. Fair play sunshine for having the stones to ask us that in the middle of a shoot…

We didn’t.

It was fun. The shoot done, the car returned for the night we headed out into the darkness and I went back to the campsite for another freezing night. Edit done, images sent to the client by 1am.

I loved it. I always love it. I can’t do this enough. I know, I’m lucky. But that’s what I planned for.

porsche 956 rothmans Le Mans car Goodwood members meeting 2022 Alex Lawrence

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