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The 12 photos that won me motoring photographer of the year 2014

Here are the twelve pictures I (Desmond) entered to the SAGMJ (South African Guild of Motoring Journalists) competition. We won! I say we because this was a team effort between me and Toni! I also want to thank all my friends who supported me – you know who you are. Of course a massive thanks goes out to all the magazines and clients we work with!

The rules of the competition were strict but simple. Nine of the twelve photos must have been published or used by an ad agency in 2013. Then I could add another three photos with no rules.

I could not attend the prize giving last night in Johannesburg as I’m currently in Germany. Thank you SAGMJ for this wonderful prize! I feel honoured.

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Mercedes-Benz S500 and longtermers shot for the June issue of TopCar


Last month I was very busy with he guys from TopCar. We went out to the high court in Cape Town one morning eeeearly to shoot a Mercedes S500.

The car worked so well in the setting, I also love the colours, its gives it a black and white feel but its not.

The texture of the building also came out nicely.

I also joined Ray, Angus and Aaron with their new longtermers, I had loads of fun guys, thanks!


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TopGear shoots for issue February 2014

I’m so proud of the February TopGear(South Africa) issue! (Or how the guys at TopGear call it ‘the Desmond Louw issue’ :) I shot the cover and 28 pages on the inside, including my Detroit to NYC, USA trip I did in August last year! On the technical side, we bought a D800. I had so much fun shooting with this machine. Editing 36 million pixels comes in handy…love it!!


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Bikeroutes Overberg trip {BMW F800 GS Adventure}

We had such a great time when we shot the Overberg trip for This was an advertorial route we did together with BMW Motorrad South Africa. Our bike for the trip, the BMW F800 GS Adventure. Have a look at the route, images, video and other information over here. If you don’t know Bikeroutes, get on it! If you like riding off the beaten track with a bike (or a 4×4 car), check it out. Download the maps and information of the coolest routes in Southern Africa. You can also submit your own routes.












Hyundai ad

I was asked to shoot a Hyundai add in Cape Town, so we took two cars and found this rad location, in 1 hour I had what I wanted and it was a wrap!

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Detroit to New York in a Dodge Charger

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.

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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!”.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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’.

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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

TopGear Mercedes G-class AMG vs the Suzuki Jimny

I (Desmond) had loads of fun with the guys of TopGear to shoot these two cars, the Mercedes G-class AMG and the Suzuki Jimny. We went mad with them! The whole idea behind the shoot was to compare the cheapest and the most expensive 4×4 vehicles available in South Africa. Buy the latest TopGear mag (August 2013) to check out the whole story!
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Top Gear Cover Shoot

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!






Isuzu Campaign

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.

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Below you can see a 3 D interior tour of one of the cars.

Harley Launch 2013

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!














Opel Astra Campaign

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.

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Ghost towns, and more crazy friendly people

The scenery was once again totally new and mind blowing today, virtually no traffic on the route and we drove trough real ghost towns. The most lovely old houses just standing there and rotting away, crazy to see!

I met 3 French dudes on holiday also riding route 66 in a Mustang and a Harley at this iconic stop.

Today we clocked 500 miles on our little beast, we are so getting to know this car, the rear suspension is not German and handling could be better but sure drifts nice and easy around a corner!

We also had burgers in this “out of a movie” cafe with super friendly peeps…(all the people here in America are very very professional in their jobs and also very friendly.

Tomorrow will be our last day on Route 66 as we will arrive at the end of the road in Santa Monica.

Cool people and the open road!

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!

Route 66!!

Riding, nature and more riding….

Wow what a day, we saw the most amazing nature including the Grand Canyon!!

This little dude tried to steal my jerky, the little bastard!

While the sun was setting on us I told Justus we have to stop to take this, what a cool shoot I had in only 10 minutes!

“Tune in” tomorrow to check out the pictures I will take at monument valley!! the place the road runner comes from!

Hello Route 66!

Today’s trip in the car was awesome, the nature was so different to anything I have ever seen, so fresh on the eyes.

Meet Rhonda, she was our sweet little fuel attendant and didn’t know where Cape Town is…

Mickey was on his way to pick up his camping trailer he just bought in a town very far away, he was so amped to tell me all about his bike.

We arrived in Williams, a very (!) small town on route 66, it feels like being in a movie, everywhere guys with big beards, Harley’s and leathers. As we arrived we saw a baseball game, my mind switched over to photo mode to the max as this was my first ever game I have seen!!

Las Vegas day 2 of 2…

We started day two working… on our tan

This was taken from a huge tower…

A water show with music (Frank Sinatra), was very cool to see!

This street girl sang the coolest coolest songs, I hung around for a bit…

Las Vegas, day 1 of 2

We started the day traveling to Las Vegas in the Karoo (well it looked like it) and we stopped at a truck stop to eat the most disgusting food ever, I ordered a chicken roll thingy and it came with this k*k rice and beans with melted cheese on it, I promise you I never ever in my life tasted such fake food   JUK!

Well well well, Las Vegas…

You know you have to investigate something you have to see the high and the low to kinda know what the average is, well this place is the very high when it comes to extreme people and what they can do, good and mostly bad.

We were riding and walking the streets last night and out mouths were just hanging open. I don’t think I will ever want to see this place again as its such a superficial world but I’m glad I have the t-shirt.

Here are some shots of last night, a night I will never forget.

This is the view from our hotel room!

We are having so much fun with the Camaro, haven’t taken any official photos of it but here are some pics of it and the scenery…

PS.The cops pulled us over when we took the driving shots, they gave us so much shit cause I was standing on the backseat while were driving to get this effect.

We arrived!

So we are here!

How cool is this, one of my best best friends and I are doing a road trip in America in an American muscle car.

We arrived in Santa Monica and stayed in a hotel on the beach front.

Well being a bit jet lagged we did not see much yet, but one thing is for sure, the people here rock, all I want to do is chat to everyone, for some reason they fascinate me…maybe its because I have been reading and collecting American magazines since I can remember and I can relate to so much in my lifestyle?

Yip there is a bit of American blood in me that’s for sure, and I will live the dream for 10 days!

I will try to post as much as possible, so check out this space!!!