Shift-S3ctor Airstrip Attack 4's Top 10 Photographs

Article by Ryan Randels and Corey Davis. All photographers are mentioned and linked.

With last week’s conclusion of Shift-S3ctor’s Airstrip Attack, one of our favorite events, we’ve seen (and continue to uncover) a ton of high-grade media come out of the woodwork. It’s refreshing to experience so many photographic styles surface from a single event. The social channels are flooded with everything from lifestyle shots to postproduction-intensive vehicle features to detail-oriented product lineups, and we cannot get enough of it. Kudos to all the photographers and videographers who were "working” to help cover the event in the light it deserves. In the spirit of mixing it up, this week’s Top 10 Automotive Media will focus solely on our favorite images from before, during, and after California’s only half-mile, high-speed, side-by-side rolling race.

Clarity. Exposure. Sharpness. Tone. Contrast. Subject. These are all qualities that define a great photograph. And they’re exactly what we’re looking for. For the first couple of weeks, we will provide a little insight into why we chose these images so that everybody can better understand what we and our community are looking for.

Alex Murtaza Shift-S3ctor Top 10 Media

If there’s one photo that shows what Shift-S3ctor’s Airstrip Attack is all about, this is it. At an event dominated by twin-turbo Lamborghinis, this one stood out, because of the awesome composition and post processing. Alex has masterfully built this image one element at a time. By darkening the sky and adding realistic light flares, he adds another dimension of drama to his images. When he focuses on the cars, he really brings out the tonal properties in the paint and other areas of the image. If you look closely, you can see the surrounding landscape reflected in the doors on the black Lambo. He really accentuates what is already within the shot. His style elevates the photo to almost heavenly proportions. It’s fitting that Project Vader should face off against Project Yoda at the customary arm drop signaling all systems are go. Launch!

Photo Credit: Alex Murtaza

Corey Davis Burnout Top 10 Media

Sometimes, capturing movement in photography is one of the hardest techniques to master. Basically, two primary methods are used to capture motion: extended exposure (stationary objects are still, while motion is blurred) and the pan (an object in motion is perfectly crisp, while "still” objects are blurred). A couple of other creative techniques can also be used, and this image captures the result of motion exceedingly well. You can almost smell the burnt rubber as this Caliber Customs Camaro warms up its tires in preparation for the run down the airfield. The detail that was extracted from the smoke adds immense depth to this shot and really creates a feeling of powerful motion.

Photo Credit: Corey Davis

Joel Chan Shift-S3ctor Top 10 Media

This image is stunning. So much is going on, yet each element is so subtle that they complement each other, none overbearing. Look at the wispy sky, the lens flair cast by shooting directly into the sun, the sharp highlights on the cars, and the tread marks on the pavement. Either the timing here was impeccable in a great location for an automotive shoot, or this is the work of a true master! One of the best aspects of this shot is how Joel brings your eyes in (subtly) using the markings on the pavement and then utilizes an interesting positioning of the cars to keep your eye flowing through the composition, all while displaying an immense amount of detail within the cars.

Photo Credit: Joel Chan

Corey Davis Shift-S3ctor Top 10 Media 2

The devil is in the details. While many automotive photographers focus on full images of a vehicle or the details that define the interior, the exterior details and the body are some of the key characteristics that draw your eye. Similar to how photographers draw attention to the focal point of an image using abstract lines that run out of frame, the same thing can be accomplished by using the lines and details of a car. Corey’s shot not only accentuates the ventilated hood exceedingly well, but also his depth of field and use of saturation helps your eye land gracefully and examine the focal point of the image.

Photo Credit: Corey Davis

Jay Kim Shift-S3ctor Top 10 Media

Teetering between photo-realism and artistic expression, this piece is a great rendition of how the photographer wants you to interpret the subject. The glossy feel coupled with the soft, yet bold gradients accentuate the body lines in a way that make it look like it’s glowing—adding an entirely new dimension to the composition. While maintaining a photo-realistic backdrop, the image’s composition and edit makes this C6 really pop. If we were sitting in an art gallery trying to determine the meaning of this piece, something similar to "grace in the pursuit of power” would come to mind.

Photo Credit: Jay Kim

Alex Murtaza Shift-S3ctor Top 10 Media 3

Once again Alex displays outstanding processing and retouching. They may be just snapshots, but the work he puts into these photos makes them seem unworldly, and they don’t even resemble the original image. He usually uses a cool purplish shadow and warms up his highlights. On the color wheel, yellow and purple are opposites, and in the art world, artists use these color combinations to their advantage and to further instill drama and emotion. Every little detail is still present however. Look at the texture of the carbon ceramic brake rotors and notice the small bits of gravel on the sticky tires. Technically speaking, Alex also chose to shoot wide open with a superfast lens. The shallow depth of field eliminates any distracting elements—in this case the Maserati just behind the Vantage V12. With such a unique style, his work easily stands out from the crowd.

Photo Credit: Alex Murtaza

Jay Kim Shift-S3ctor Airstrip Attack 2

The Vantage is staged on the grid ready for takeoff. The composition is clean and effective. Jay also chose to cool down his shadows and warm up the highlights. The image is supercrisp and has great tonal properties. The car’s paint takes on a mirror-like quality, and we feel we can hear the idling V12 purr just before the arm drop. Only the car and the tarmac—it’s a unique view of the unobstructed horizon.

Photo Credit: Jay Kim

Corey Davis Airstrip Attack by Shift-S3ctor 4

Lighting is everything—especially in feature photography. You’ll notice how the sunlight hits the Verde Ithaca Lamborghini on the left, casting a massive shadow out of frame, but yet the right side of the Lamborghini (which should be in a dark shadow) is accentuated by light. This creates a dramatic effect that draws your eye into and around the space between the two subjects, almost losing yourself back and forth between the two.

Photo Credit: Corey Davis

Nick Kouris GTR Shift-S3ctor Airstrip Attack

We like the different elements on Nick’s photo of the two GTRs bathed in the golden morning light. The best time to shoot a car is either early in the morning or just as the sun starts to dip below the horizon. It’s a cool composition with the off-centered foreground and main subject, but looking further you can see another GTR poised in the background. Your eyes can move freely from the in-focus blue GTR to the white one in the background. A nice implied movement has been created in what would otherwise be a completely static photo.

Photo Credit: Nick Kouris

Joel Chan Aventador Shift-S3ctor Airstrip Attack

This Aventador looks like a still out of Top Gear; with the 16x9 crop, it’s very cinematic. The composition and framing of the car is spot-on, and Joel used the "Rule of Thirds” to his advantage. His cross-processing style and greenish tone of the overall image complements the one-of-a-kind paint and makes it lift off the screen. A profile shot of this jagged and razor-sharp car works perfectly with the organic surroundings and rolling hills of Coalinga. Also notice how he darkened the sky a bit to bring your eye right down to the car sitting on the tarmac.

Photo Credit: Joel Chan

Want to submit your automotive photography?

We’re always looking for photographers and videographers to submit their content to us. If we like what we see, sharing on the social channels is just the beginning. As we dive into a new era, we’re looking to expand our Team to build our event coverage and vehicle features. To get started, submit some of your work by one of the methods below, and if it makes the cut, you’ll see your work on the front page of the Revvolution social channels.

1. Register on and upload your content.
2. Add us as a contact on Flickr.
3. Shoot an email to info(at)revvolution(dot)com


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Orlovdesign's Profile Image

Great set of photos. Loving the color and details. That Aston is something else, who cares if its not the fastest thing.