Car photography is one of the many activities that have taken a backseat during the coronavirus. Legos on the other hand, are a perfectly acceptable thing to mess around with while at home. And that’s exactly what automotive photographer Dominic Fraser did for Porsche.
Instead of heading out into the world to shoot the latest 911 variant, Fraser re-created iconic images of Porsches using the power of Legos. You can scroll through a full gallery of images above. Fraser re-created the starting line at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the jumping 930 Turbo, a 911 RSR racing along a track and a 919 Hybrid in the pits. Photos of the setup were included, too, so you can see what Fraser had to do to execute these shots.
The motion blur in the 917K shot “at Goodwood” is an especially intriguing aspect to a Lego photo.
“The blur comes from a slow shutter speed and a camera mounted on a tracking ‘car’ running ahead of the 917 – just as it would in life size,” Fraser says. “To ensure everything stayed in focus, I tied a piece of string between the 917 and the camera car so that the two were pulled along at exactly the same speed. Afterwards, I simply removed the makeshift tow-rope with editing software.”
We’re rather taken by the 930 Turbo flying through the air, too. After all, Legos don’t drive or fly on their own. Fraser had a creative way to make that work.
“When a car jumps in real life, the wheels drop out of the arches because the suspension drops,” Fraser says. “Lego models don’t have any springs or dampers, so to make the wheels appear lower, I built a second ‘false’ floor. It was then simply a case of suspending the car with some string – which I edited out afterwards using Photoshop – and pressing the camera shutter release. It’s these little details that aren’t easy to spot at first, but they make all the difference in a realistic re-creation.”
Fraser even re-created the little bits of dirt and dust that’s kicked up by the original 930. He sprinkled some grit over the Lego floor and then used a camera sensor blower to get it into the air for the shot.
The 919 Hybrid shot is another tricky one with the sheer number of people involved … Fraser certainly isn’t short on Lego people. But it’s the perspective that brings the photo to life.
“There’s no track, so I can discount that, even though I know it’s there, and the grandstand is miles away,” Fraser says. “With the Lego, I needed to bring the grandstand closer and then play with focal lengths because the re-creation needs to have as many elements in focus as possible. In real life, you can blur the grandstand out and the reader’s brain will fill that gap with its assumed knowledge. Not so with tiny plastic bricks.”
The lighting is also key to the photo, Fraser says. “There’s a lot of trial and error to make sure the scene looks realistic – the lighting angle is really important so if you’re trying this at home, pay close attention to where the sun is. The lighting position is vital for replicating a shot — especially this one — so I positioned a torch to mimic the sun peeking through at the top of the frame.”