I was asked to shoot a road trip from from Detroit to NYC in a dodge Charger for TopGear. I was accompanied by Justus Visagie, one of my very best friends. Yes I know, this is a dream come true! So I flew from Cape Town via New york to Detroit.
So I arrived in New York. The heat was high, very high, but I love it! On my arrival I quickly had a shower and took my skateboard and skated down Broadway, I always wanted to do this and it rocked. I also went to High Level Park and chilled in Central Park. All in all a good and exhausting day. I took some photos while skating. For me one of the highlights of the trip was just to feel my skateboard on American tar! I had 2 hours of sleep and went to the airport to fly to Detroit.
I arrived in Detroit and a few hours later Justus arrived too! At first I was shocked of the state of this city and all the suburbs. So many beautiful houses stand empty and are falling into pieces, it’s crazy. The city is turning into one giant ghost city, but it’s very charming I must say. The people here are super friendly, I can feel there is still a good vibe here. I got up early to take a shot of the Dodge Charger (Dodge Charger SRT8, 6.4 liter engine, a remake of an old muscle car in the 60′s and 70′s) in front of an old house. I was setting my lights to take a shot of the car and this dude walked up to me, his name is Glory Hoggz (check him out on youtube!) and he is a rapper from Detroit. I asked if I can take a few shots of him and said “Sure thing man, let’s do this shit!”.
We worked a bit in a coffee shop, then we had a long shoot with the Dodge Charger in an old Packard factory. This place was massive!!! So after we found a place to enter the building with the car we drove around in the building from one room to another to find cool shooting locations, it was soooo rad!
After this we went to a jazz festival in downtown Detroit with loads of happy people, I took some pics and Justus interviewed people. After this we went to a local brewery and had the most awesome beer. We were looking for a spot to cross the river next to Detroit so that we can stand on the other side of the water and take a picture of the car with the city skyline. We drove over this bridge and on the other side there was a huge Canadian flag. We were like ‘WTF’! So we arrived at the Canada border control and told them we didn’t realize we are actually entering Canada by crossing this bridge, they thought we are the biggest idiots alive and after some paperwork we could leave again for Detroit. So the Canadian border control thinks all South Africans are stupid, sorry about that! We had to go to this little island to get a shot with the same feeling, I love this photo! Detroit was cool, I will be back! Today we must travel 700km, so we better hit the road!
We left Detroit and drove into Pennsylvania to spend a night there. This state never heard of the fuel crisis in the world, that’s for sure. Once again we encountered lovely people and amazing landscapes. While we were driving, Justus said that it’s a pity we can’t really test the car’s ability on these roads. The rules are strict and we don’t want to test the cops again. I asked the GPS to look for race tracks and it pointed out a track 20 miles from us. We thought we must go have a look, maybe we are lucky and the gate is open or something. We arrived and there were two guys who own this oval track. We spoke to them and they said we can do on the track what we want, but they want to feel the car, too! After signing some paperwork the track was ours!!! We had so much fun, and to top it all, they gave us a ride in their NASCAR! Now THAT’S power. Here is a short clip I took while in the car.
The next day we drove off to Boston to do some sightseeing. What a lovely city – Harvard was interesting. Its was enrollment day and the town was full of young nervous first years and their parents, haha. After that it was time for the Big Apple again, New York City! I don’t even know where to begin, I walked the city flat (I still have a blister on my right foot the size of a R5 coin!). Interesting, weird, well groomed – random people; David Blaine walked past carrying a small alligator (promise). I was just like ‘nothing surprises me anymore, that’s so normal right now’.
Like all my trips this one was way too short. NYC, I will be back, promise. You are astonishing!
dna – Desmond
Here are some links to some more shots on our DNA Photographers website:
USA post 1: Skating through New York City
USA post 2: Driving a Dodge Charger in Detroit
USA post 3: Road trip: Detroit, Pennsylvania, Boston, New York City
I (Desmond) went out with the TopGear guys to Calvinia, apparently the place where you can buy the best meat in South Africa. They compared the car, a BMW M135i, with a piece of meat. We bought a few steaks and had a braai next to the road. What a cool day! Oh yes, I have the cover photo!!! I love working with awesome people, thanks Calvin Fisher and Braam Peens! Get your issue (December 2012) now!
Since December 2012, here and there we’ve posted a couple of on-shoot pictures via instagram and Facebook, now we can finally show you the end-product. For several weeks we shot (& edited) on location and in studio the new ISUZU KB’s for magazine ads, brochures, website, billboards etc.. An awesome experience, traveling in the Western Cape while shooting great cars. Go to your local ISUZU dealer to get a brochure, a product we’re very proud of.
I (Desmond) was lucky enough to shoot the launch of the 2013 Harley Davidson range in South Africa. We drove a circular route around the Western Cape with these monsters and met amazing people including the awesome guys and girls from Greater Than and Brands Rock. I can’t wait to have my own Harley, I’m sold!
We were asked to shoot the new Opel Astra for GM (General Motors) South Africa. The brief: day and night lifestyle shots for magazine ads, billboards and websites. We might be a bit biased, but we think shooting cars in and around Cape Town is the best.
Monument valley was something to see!! The home of the road runner.. meep meep!
Because of the new highway next to route 66, some of the towns are ghost towns. Crazy to see all these lovely vintage houses just standing there with nothing in it…
Just love how the clouds form wings around this sign.
The biggest staffie I have ever seen in my life!!
Yes, I’m a super being, I don’t need a helmet DUHH!
Really? Do we need to fill up again??
Only in America ..
JUSTUS, SLOW DOWN, THE COPS! No just kidding, we are actually driving like gents, the speed limit is enforced by planes flying super high and checking out the cars, if a car speeds the ground police stops you… crazy.
Its spring here, I just love it!
This dude makes a mean coffee!