2016 Through the Lens – The Midwest Automotive Teams Favorite Images

Words & Photos by: Andrew Smith, Daniel Allen, Johnathan Salmi and Brandon Deuster

Introduction by Andrew Smith: 2016 was a huge year for Midwest Automotive. We were able to sponsor a Scavenger Hunt, add 3 more members to the team, and begin laying the groundwork for what is going to become our most productive year yet in 2017. Last year I had each of the three members create their own article and post their 10 favorite images. Since we have added a few more members this year, I decided that it would be a wise decision to group this into a single article, and limit it to your 5 favorite images. Just as last year, the same saying goes…





“These are not my 5 best photographs or my top 5 most talked about photographs. They are not my top 5 most viewed photographs. These are very simply, my top 5 favorite images throughout the year.”

To view last years favorites lists: Click below

Daniel Allen      Brandon Deuster      Andrew Smith

Daniel “Diggy” Allen’s Favorite Images

#1 Mike Binkoski Kawasaki Ninja

My favorite photograph this year is of my old roommates bike taken at automation. One of the reasons this is my favorite image of the year is that it was just so much fun taking it. I had hardly done any light painting before and we were just goofing around trying to get it to turn out the way I wanted. Overall I love the way that it turned out with the bike seemingly appearing out of the darkness and the detail on the helmet just puts it over the top tor me.

 ISO 400 | 33mm | ƒ/14 | 6.0 sec

#2 Super Bikes at Road America

Coming in at number 2 is this photograph from the Super Bike races at Road America. This was one of my favorite events of the year, and it was absolutely incredible to witness the way these riders can handle their bikes. I love how in the photograph I was able to get a nice sharp image of so many racers in a tight pack on my favorite corner of the track.

 ISO 100 | 300mm | ƒ/5 | 1/64 sec

#3 350z

For my third favorite image this year I chose this 350z. Unfortunately I cannot for the life of me remember who owns it as I was just hanging out with a friend after he decided to do a photoshoot with a couple people he knows. The reason I like this photography so much is that it was the first time I had ever tried light painting and for having absolutely no idea what I was doing i think it turned out quite well. I enjoy the streaks from the passing cars as well as the flares coming off of the street lamps. Overall I am very happy how this turned out.

 ISO 2000 | 38mm | ƒ/20 | 10.0 sec

#4 Indy Car #27 at Road America

Fourth is this image of the #27 car from the Verizon Indy Cay series. Let me start by saying this is my absolute all time favorite event of the year. Not only did they bring back Indy Cars to Road America this year but it is also on the same weekend as the Pirelli World Challenge so not only do you get to see some of the fastest Indy Car drivers flying through the elaborate 4 mile circuit but you also get to see all of the awesome high performance GT cars have a go at it to. Now as for the picture I really like how aggressive these Indy Cars look from the back and being able to see all of the heat and vapor trails above the car adds a really cool effect for me.

ISO 200 | 263mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/1600 sec

#5 Dodge Charger at The Chicago Auto Show

Number five is this somewhat simple Dodge Charger I saw at the Chicago Auto Show. Now even though this is a pretty basic car compared to my standards I immediately fell in love with this image. Shooting indoors at a show like this always produces good images for me just because they do a really good job with lighting, but the way Dodge framed this was just perfect for me. From the more aggressive wheels and performance parts on the wall behind the car to the way they matched the flooring absolutely perfectly to the colors of the car the photograph just comes together perfectly to make a somewhat boring car into a much more exciting image. The only thing I would have liked to change is the sign in front of the car but sadly I was asked not to move it.

| ISO 320 | 38mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/200 sec |

Jonathan Salmi’s Favorite Images

#1 1966 Chevelle
Sometimes you just get lucky. I had planned this location in the hopes of shooting the sunset behind the car, but the weather had been iffy all day. At the last minute, we decided to give it a shot and headed out to the deserted road. Just as we got the car and the lighting set up, the clouds broke and we were treated to this dramatic sky. This is without a doubt my favorite photo of 2016.

30mm | 1/1000th | ƒ/4 | ISO 100
#2. Challenger Hellcat
When the opportunity arose to shoot a Dodge Challenger Hellcat, I spent some time trying to find a location that suited the 707-hp beast. Downtown St. Charles, IL, proved to be the perfect spot. The combination of the classic downtown area and the motion in this photo capture the Hellcat’s old school muscle car persona.

23mm | 1/30th| ƒ/4 | ISO 100
#3 WRX
I’ve always loved the WRX. An inexpensive car with AWD, turbocharged power, and room for the kids, it’s basically the car guy’s perfect daily driver. This particular example was owned by a man who drove a black 2016 Challenger Hellcat six-speed on the weekends. That’s a pretty perfect combo. I love this photo because the lines of the road draw your eye in, while the soft golden-hour light really compliments the car.

83mm | 1/1000th | ƒ/4 | ISO 100

#4 Burnout
As much as the WRX above belongs on a back country road, this B5 Blue Challenger Hellcat belongs on the drag strip. This thing was built for huge, smoky burnouts and vulgar displays of power. Speaking of power, owner John Gaddy drove this car to a blistering 9.4 second E/T later in the season. Look for a feature on his car in 2017. For me, this photo captures the spirit of the modern muscle car.

100mm | 1/60th | ƒ/4 | ISO 100

#5 Mustang at Sunset
As much as it pains this lifelong F-body fan to say it, few cars really capture the American spirit like a Mustang. I shot this GT on the same night as the blue Challenger at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, WI. As the evening progressed and this sky developed, we hurried to find a quiet spot between passes and managed to get the shot. A summer night at the track with a modified Mustang. What’s not to love?

35mm | 1/250th | ƒ/2.8 | ISO 200

Brandon Deuster’s Favorite Images

#1 Corvette

This photo was taken at one of the several Toyo Tires booths at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This Corvette was by far and above my favorite car at the show. It started life as a C6 ZR1 before going under surgery to become this widebody, camo beast. My favorite touch was the C7 Corvette headlights cut out from the massive reverse hinged hood.

ƒ/2.8 | 45 mm | 1/125 | ISO 100

#2 STI / FRS / STI

The Slammedenuff Gatlinburg TN Show was my favorite show of the year. This photo was taken just as we all arrived at the cabin at the foot of the massive Smoky Mountains. Josh (Black STI), Connor (Red FRS), and Lewie (Orange STI), found this spot in the group of cabins at the top of a hill, overlooking the forest and in view of the beautiful landscape. Several people came out to see the photoshoot taking place in the middle of the road.

ƒ/2.8 | 51 mm | 1/80 | ISO 100

#3 Orange STI

On the second day of the Gatlinburg trip, we went up into the hills above the town to look for spots to take photos. Along a scenic, one lane road, we found a clearing in the trees that was high enough to see the sprawling mountains in the distance.

ƒ/2.8 | 37 mm | 1/165 | ISO 100

#4 DSM and SRT4

This rolling shot was captured on the way to the WCEC South WI Janesville show. Pictured are two of my closest friends, Claire and RJ. Two of my closest friends, who share their passion of cars with each other. This is one of my favorites not only because of how happy I am with how the image turned out, but also how it showcases a couple who have a love for cars – that are coincidentally the same color.

ƒ/8.0 | 30 mm | 1/40 | ISO 100

#5 FRS (Night)

Import Alliance Summer Meet – The hottest car show of the year, literally. The heat was intense and took a lot out of all of us. The only tolorable part of the day was night time, but even then it was incredibly humid. This shot was taken outside the hotel on the first night. I was walking around looking for different ideas to shoot the cars that were there, when I had this idea for Connor’s FRS. It ended up being the cover photo for the story.

ƒ/2.8 | 34 mm | 0.6 | ISO 100

Andrew Smith’s Favorite Images

#1 Speedy Peedy Corvette

I have seen a few of Ryan’s cars over the years, and finally had the chance to shoot one of them. We met up one afternoon, just a few days after I got my new Nikon D750. A combination of my 24-70 and 80-200 AF-S shot all photos for that article. This is my favorite photo from the day. The flare from the sun, the low angle showcasing the meaty back tires, and the symmetry of the background make this one of my favorites of the year.

ƒ/3.2 | 58 mm | 1/320 | ISO 400

#2 GT40 @ Road America

My favorite event of 2016 was the Vintage weekend at Road America. At heart I am all about racing, and while I tend to focus mostly on drag racing, Road America is my favorite automotive location I have ever been to. My two favorite racecars of all time is the Ferrari F40, and the GT40. While there was a F40 in town during the weekend, this GT40 ripping around the track was the highlight of the weekend (apart from the F1 car that made a few laps). I absolutely love Canada Corner, and love putting objects in the foreground. Add on the fact that this was the first chance I ever had to use a 300mm F2.8, that just happened to be mine I just bought, this is pretty close to my favorite photo pf the year. Next year I want to try for this same photo, but with an absurdly slow shutter speed, somewhere in the 1/40 sec range.  An American icon, on one of America’s most beautiful tracks, is a recipe for beauty.

ƒ/2.8 | 300 mm | 1/1250 | ISO 64

#3 Life in the Fast Lane

While scouting some locations for a very special shoot, I headed out with my buddy Andy and his 240. We were driving along and we came across an industrial park with a cool looking wall across one side of the parking lot. I noticed the writing on the wall and positioned the car to grab the photo. I love everything about this photo. The ruggedness of the track ready car, the Sparco seat showing though the windshield, the yellow GT inspired headlights, the silver sideskirt reminding me of the 1g DSM’s,  the RPF’s, and the rust and crumbling concrete on the back wall. Everything about this photo turned out so well. One of my favorite images I took in 2016.

ƒ/2.2 | 135 mm | 1/320 | ISO 1000

#4 Jayleen and the Fast and Furious Skyline

As I mentioned in the paragraph above, this is the special shoot that I was location scouting for when I shot the above photograph. I have worked with Jayleen a few times before and we always have a ton of fun. She had reached out to Ryan (the owner of the car) and set up this shoot. She called me and immediately knew that I had to shoot this. For those of you who are wondering, yes, this is an actual movie car from The Fast and the Furious series. Brandon Deuster actually shot this car for an article back last year, and it got lots of attention (click HERE for the article). While the majority of the shoot was of Jayleen in a few different outfits, I had to have a shot of her in our hoodie in front of the car. This photo is my favorite of the day and one of my favorite from the year.

ƒ/6.3 | 85 mm | 1/125 | ISO 160

#5 Garage Built Integra

For my Midwest Automotive content this year i really wanted to focus on creating a complete feature car article. It just so happened that one of my best friends finally finished his Integra,  which I dubbed “The definition of Garage Built”. He did all of the body work, the wire tuck, the engine bay, and the interior all in his garage by himself. The car might not have the most power, or slammed with the most expensive wheels, but it is one of the most complete and fully self-built cars I have seen in the area. This article is my favorite story I have done, and this image is one of my favorites of 2016.

ƒ/2.8 | 34 mm | 1/2500 | ISO 160

I want to thank everyone for all of the support throughout the year. Your support is what encourages us to keep moving forward and trying to expand Midwest Automotive. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to share them below. We are always looking for how to better the website. Thanks!

-Andrew Smith

This entry was posted in Other.