Review // 2019’s photographic highlights
Words and photography by Andrew Coles
What are you actually meant to do with that awkward week between Christmas and New Year? It’s almost as if society forbids you to actually be productive, but even we admit that there’s a limit to how long you can spend on international classifieds sites seeing what sorts obscure Renaults and Fiats are for sale in France and Italy.
With that in mind, our Co-Editor Andrew spent some of the time putting together a collection of favourite photos from 2019. Some of these have and will grace the pages of Sports Car Safari, some are for other projects and clients and some were just shot for fun.
Now, back to Car and Classic…
250 GTO at Goodwood Revival, September. 1/20th, f16, ISO 100, 50mm Revival’s Kinrara Trophy was a real highlight of 2019, as it was in 2018. A full field of priceless historic cars sliding around and rubbing fenders into a hazy golden sunset? It doesn’t get much better than this.
Afternoon sun on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, February. 1/3200th, f 2.2, ISO 100, 50mm We spent the first three months of 2019 living in the Scottish Highlands, and it was a transformational experience. That place is a photographers playground, and we’d actually build extra time into our day for photo stops because we were confronted with scenes like this on an almost daily basis.
Beach life at Ras al Khaimah, UAE, November. 1.3200th, f 2.2, ISO 125, 200mm. Sometimes you chance a shot, and sometimes you have one in mind. In the UAE with Waldorf Astoria Hotels and having lunch at the 14th floor Majran restaurant, I took the 70-200 specifically with a shot like this from the balcony in mind. It may well be my favourite photo from 2019, and in my top five ever.
Pagoda in Shoreditch, London, January. 1/200th, f 1.8, ISO 200, 50mm. Working for classic car media agency Next Step Heritage gives me access to plenty of incredible classic cars, and this Pagoda was arguably my favourite. The image looks plenty London, and for better or worse, it is. It was about 730am, freezing cold and wet, and just out of frame is a very heavily soiled mattress and a used syringe.
F1 GTR leaves Supercar Sunday at Goodwood, June. 1/2000th, f 2.8 ISO 100, 200mm. I was working bloody hard to try and get a clear shot of this F1 GTR through the underpass at Goodwood, and then a marshal goes and stands right there at the critical moment. In hindsight it makes the shot, and the marshal managed to find the image online months later and he now has it hanging in his house. It still blows my mind that people drive these sorts of cars on the road in the UK.
Merchant in the Bab-el Bahrain Souk, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain, March. 1/400th, f 1.4, ISO 1600, 35mm. Manama is an interesting place, and parts of it still feel like Dubai probably felt 30 years ago. We were there with the newly opened Merchant House Bahrain and while Manama did leave me a little cold, the Merchant House was probably my favourite hotel stay. Brilliant modern art forms the decor, the staff were wonderful, transfers are by Maserati Quattroporte and I still dream about the Frutti Di Bosco served in the rooftop Indigo Restaurant!
The house across the loch, Fort William, Scotland. 1/2000th, f 2.8, ISO 100, 70mm. This house was directly across the loch from where we lived in Scotland, and I instantly fell in love with the symmetry and sense of scale caused by the mountain above. I shot the identical photo in every different weather condition imaginable, and I have about 10 shots that I’ll one day frame and hang alongside each other as a set. This snowy shot is the most dramatic. Interestingly, despite being less than a kilometre away as the crow flies, it was a 1hr 15min drive and a ferry ride to get to that house. I did it once out of curiosity.
Cool n Vintage Land Rover launch at Deus ex Machina, Biarritz, France, June. 1/400, f 2.0, ISO 400, 35mm. Not the best photo but it’s a favourite because it captures a moment in time. Deus Biarritz through a party to launch their partnership with Portuguese Land Rover restorers Cool n Vintage, and it attracted quite the oddball selection of interesting rides as the party spilled out onto the footpath.
BB King’s Blues Club aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, August. 1/250th, f 1.8, ISO 1000, 50mm. I thought it was marketing, but no, the singers and musicians in BB King’s Blues Club on HAL’s Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship really were plucked from the blues bars of Memphis, and you could feel it.
Radial engines above the wilderness, Juneau, Alaska, August. 1/1600th, f 2.5, ISO 125, 35mm. Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage and Glacier Bay with Holland America Line was a standout trip of 2019, but flying right-hand seat in a ’53 De Havilland Beaver floatplane took it to a whole new level. It was like a boys own adventure – we went brown bear watching on an inaccessible island, and were dropped there and back by floatplane. But it was the flight I remember most. It rains 230 days of the year here and we somehow lucked the perfect day for flying with a spectacular sunset.
The little house in the forest, Juneau, Alaska, August. 1/320th, f 3.5, ISO 125, 35mm. Being up in the air gives you a whole new perspective and set of photographic opportunities. Once again, it’s the symmetry and sense of isolation that makes this a favourite.
So handsome, Skagway, Alaska, August. 1/1250th, f 1.4, ISO 80, 35mm. It’s a future SCS story so I won’t spoil the fun, but there’s no shortage of vintage metal parked kerbside in the outpost of Skagway.
The warmth of strangers, Skagway, Alaska, August. 1/640th, f 1.4, ISO 80, 35mm. Again, material for the future SCS story. But I’d just approached this guy and asked if he’d mind if I took a photo of his truck, and he responded by thrusting a can of Rainer into my hand and inviting me in for a drink with his whole family. It was his Mother’s birthday celebration, you see. His name was Dean, and he gave me an Alaskan number plate to ‘hang in your shed back home.’ I did.
Autocycle speed trials, Bicester Heritage, June. 1/2000th, f 1.4, ISO 125, 35mm. One of our clients at Next Step Heritage is the Wriggly Monkey Brewery at Bicester Heritage, and I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with Luke and the team as I’ve photographed their events. 2020 is the year of the vintage autocycle, just you wait.
Luke at work, Wriggly Monkey Brewery, Bicester Heritage, UK, February. 1/250th, f 1.4, ISO 125, 35mm. The production of beer begins with maths…
Dancing in the rain, Wriggly Monkey Brewery at Bicester Heritage, October. 1/80th, f 1.4, ISO 3200, 35mm. Things got wild at Wriggly Monkey Brewery’s annual Oktoberfest party.
Winter sun at Sunday Scramble, Bicester Heritage, UK, October. 1/4000th, f 1.4, ISO 160, 35mm. A patch of winter sun hits a neat GTA build during an otherwise wet and rainy day.
Méhari portside in Biarritz, France, June. 1/3200th, f 1.4, ISO 100, 35mm. Biarritz stole my heart in 2019, and I can’t wait to return.
Al Fateh Grand Mosque, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. 1/4000th, f 1.8, ISO 100, 50mm. An impressive structure with even more impressive light.
Sunset on Sanibel Island, Florida, May. 1/4000th, f 2.0, ISO 100, 35mm. Warm Caribbean waters, palm trees, cocktails and knock-you-dead sunsets. Florida’s got it going on.
The key to happiness, 964 RS, Cambridgeshire, UK, October. 1/60th, f 6.3, ISO 100, 35mm. Believe the hype. On a short road loop I accessed probably less than 10% of what the 964 RS has to offer, but even that was enough. Although, you’d need a track to truly experience the real magic that these offer. I ain’t fly enough to attempt balancing a slight oversteer attitude in third gear on the public road in someone else’s prized RS. Maybe you are?
They call it Swindonia for a reason, Wiltshire, UK, April. 1/1600th, f 4.0, ISO 100, 35mm. Good light rules my life. We were out to grab a meal but when you see light like this, it’d be a crime not to stop.
Vantage in the UAE desert, November. 1/2000th, f 5.6, ISO 320, 50mm. There have been several pinch-yourself moments in 2019. Properly opening up Aston’s new Vantage and DB11 AMR in the desert outside of Dubai was probably the pinchiest.
Aston Martin V8, Essex, UK. 1/4000th, f 1.4, ISO 100, 35mm. When your boss at Next Step Heritage needs someone to relocate his Aston Martin V8, you’ve just gotta do the right thing and help out.
Corniche in the Cambridgeshire sun, UK, October. 1/1600th, f 1.8, ISO 125, 35mm. Sometimes you just get lucky. I was out in a Rolls-Royce Corniche from Quest Brothers Classic Cars on a rather grey October afternoon, looking for some photographic inspiration. Just as I was about to head home with nothing memorable to show for my efforts, the clouds parted and threw me a good-light lifeline.
No place like home, Grange, South Australia, December. 1/4800th, f 2.0, ISO 20, 6mm , iPhone 11 Pro. I’ve been truly blessed to drive some brilliant cars this year (as above), but there’s still nothing like knocking about in your own car on home turf.
Edwardian drift, Goodwood Members Meeting, April. 1/1250th, f 2.8, ISO 100, 200mm. People who race Edwardian cars are a special type of nutty, and I love it.
That Goodwood Style, Goodwood Members Meeting, April. 1/400th, f 2.8, ISO 100, 85mm. All Goodwood events offer such rich material for great photos everywhere you turn – it’s almost like going fishing in someone’s koi pond.
Members Meeting fireworks, Goodwood, April. 1/320th, f 1.4, ISO 2000, 35mm. There’s no show like a Goodwood show.
M1 Procar on the streets of Deauville, France, during Tour Auto, May. 1/50th, f 6.3, ISO 125, 35mm. We were in France for a non-automotive holiday, and my girlfriend just happened to book an AirBnB right where Tour Auto was finishing. There’s nothing quite like sitting in a roadside Tabac sipping a beer as an M1 Procar drives past on the street.
The rooftop bar at Waldorf Astoria DIFC, Dubai, November. 1/60th, f 1.4, ISO 6400, 35mm. How good is modern technology? With a cocktail in one hand I shot this handheld as slow as I dared, but it looked far too dark. Some mucking about in post and modern noise reduction software turned it not only into a usable shot, but one of my favourites. The Burj Khalifa was just to the left but it sadly wasn’t possible to get it in frame. Any further around and I’d have been in the pool.
There’s no place like the Scottish Highlands, January. 1/3200, f 2.2, ISO 100, 50mm. This scene was a ten minute drive from where we lived in Fort William. Like, c’mon.
The Summit Road jump, Adelaide Rally, South Australia, December. 1/4000th, f 2.8, ISO 640, 200mm. I’ve jumped plenty of cars here over the years but have never managed to shoot it until this year’s Adelaide Rally. Never jumped them as high as Ben and Andy, mind you…
Start them young, Gouger Street Party at the Adelaide Rally, December, South Australia. 1/640th, f 1.4, ISO 100, 35mm. It pays to keep your eyes open, magical moments are happening all around us.
Kinrara Trophy at Goodwood Revival, UK, September. 1/640th, f 11, ISO 1000, 200mm. We got a sunset like this for the Kinrara Trophy in 2018, I never for a moment thought it would happen again in 2019. Can we go for the trifecta in 2020?
Gillian Carr with family and friends at Revival, UK, September. 1/1250, f 1.4, ISO 200, 35mm. It was a Carr family affair for the Brooklands Trophy at Revival this year.
Heaven does exist, Cala Deià, Mallorca, Spain, September. 35mm film I shot film for the first time in 2019, and I’ve started to leave the DSLR at home when travelling for fun. We drank wine at that bar and went swimming in the bay, it was heavenly.
Poolside at Castell de la Santa Creu, Calafell, Catalonia, Spain, August. 35mm film Our cheap hotel bargain of the year, you wouldn’t get a hostel bed in London for what this place cost us.
Last light, Calafell, Catalonia, Spain, August. 35mm film. I can’t quite believe this shot worked. You’ve gotta think quickly when shooting with a manual film camera. I saw this shot unfolding in front of me, tweaked some levers in a rush and it somehow came out nicely. So satisfying.
Last light on the flag, Juneau, Alaska, August. 35mm film. I cheated on this one – I set my DSLR to the film sensitivity and set the shot up before transferring the settings to my manual 35mm Nikkormat. Worked well.
These men are kings, Adelaide Rally, South Australia, December. 1/100th, f 4, ISO 80, 13mm. It was a bit of a gamble to shoot the Adelaide Rally podium from behind, but I’m glad I did. Got soaked.