Words & Photos by: Andrew Smith, Daniel Allen, and Johnathan Salmi
Introduction by Andrew Smith: Each year I ask the team here at Midwest to submit their favorite images from the past 12 months. We started by each having an article of our 10 favorite images. As we have progressed and began to refine the website, we have decided to do a single article with a paired down set of images. Last years article can be found here. I had big aspirations for 2017 in regards to Midwest Automotive. Unfortunately between my career, some personal issues, and trying to figure out where to begin moving the website towards, progress was slow. Even with all of that, we got enough content to keep people engaged, and our friends have supported us un-conditionally. I constantly get asked for more Midwest apparel, but have always been just a little too busy to get into it. A huge shoutout to our newest member Stephen Uecker as he has done two rounds of shirt sales in the past year, allowing me to focus on personal matters. That will all change this year though. I have some big plans for Midwest Automotive, and am going to try my damn hardest to make sure I accomplish them.
Below are a few of the team members favorite images from the past year. We wanted to keep it short and hard hitting. As for this article, I will put the same caveat on this article as I always do.
“These are not my best photographs or my top most talked about photographs. They are not my most viewed photographs. These are very simply, my favorite images throughout the year.”
Andrew Smith’s Favorite Images
Nikon D750 | 70-200mm VR II @ 200mm | F2.8 | 1/400 | ISO 50
Vaughn Gittin @ Gridlife
Gridlife was my favorite event that I have ever been to. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get media credentials, but I still got some shots that I was excessvely happy with. This photo might be my favorite action shot I have ever gotten. It was the frist event I had been to with top professional drifters, the setting is beautiful. and Vaughn was killing it all weekend long. I am looking forward to a bunch of events this coming year, but none I am looking forward to as much as another year of Gridlife Midwest.
Nikon D750 | 70-200mm VR II @ 135mm | F2.8 | 1/400 | ISO 400
I knew I wanted a shot from the shoot with Joel’s NSX. I cant quite place my finger on it, but this image spoke to me specifcally because fof the power lines in the background. Traditionally I should have shot without them showing, but something about the scene appealed to me. Of all of the photos I have taken over the years, this shot seems the most “Super Street/Honda Tuning” to me.
Nikon D750 | 300mm F 2.8 | F2.8| 1/640 | ISO 160
Garage MoonPower @ Final Bout III
While Gridlife was my favorite event of this past year, Final Bout was close behind. This was actually the first event that I had accepted media credentials to. I made the most of it and got some incredible shots. This shot of Garage MoonPower was my favorite. as it was taken during the competition and showed how well the team competed. The cars sliding, the crowd in the background out of focus, and just enough smoke to know whats going on make this one of this years favorite images.
Nikon D750 | 70-200mm VR II @ 200mm | F2.8 | 1/250| ISO 200
The Turbo Vette Cart
Jesse’s turbo cart is one of the coolest vehicles I have ever been in. The thing is the epitome of ROADKILL, and that is exactly the way that Jesse likes it. We got more attention in this than any car I have ever seen. I got a lot of great shots from the day, but this one is exactly what I was envisioning for a week before the shoot. I cant wait to see what Jesse has in store for next summer, and can’t wait to shoot it again.
Jonathan Salmi’s Favorite Images
Bagged GT I first shot Neil’s 2015 Mustang GT in 2016 for a feature on this site. Neil struck me as a guy who had a clear vision for his car and knew exactly where he wanted to take it. After some pretty significant upgrades in the proceeding year, including forced induction, we decided it was time to revisit Dorthoy. For this shot, I used an extremely wide 14mm lens to intentionally distort the image and add to the gritty feel of the alley. Light painting the car allowed me to add the dynamic light streaks down the body lines of the car. 14mm, ISO 100, f/11, 8 sec
Z06 Top Speed Racer Omega Motorsports brand of half-mile, top-speed drag racing in Rantoul, IL, provided me with plenty of opportunities to shoot some insanely powerful cars. Whether in pit row, out on the actual raceway, or in the staging lanes (as in this shot), NoFlyZone was what fighter pilots call a target rich environment. This particular Z06 caught my attention throughout the day and I really loved the way this shot turned out. The rubber on the ground creates leading lines that pull your eye right up to that bright red Vette and all its potential energy. 28mm, ISO 200, f/4, 1/400th
Burnout II I call this one Burnout II because it turns out that in 2016, another one of my favorite shots was a Hellcat lighting up the rear tires. What can I say? I’m a simple man with simple tastes. Big horsepower and a complete disregard for the manufacturer’s warranty will get my vote every time. Here, we set the car up facing with the wind so the tire smoke would envelope the car. The tendrils reaching over the top of the car add some visual balance and the shutter speed allowed me to keep the car as sharp as possible while still capturing the spin of the rear wheels. 28mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/100th
Daniel “Diggy” Allen’s Favorite Images
1 Ferrari 458 GT3 at Road America
This is by far my favorite photo of the year. Being my third year going up to Road America to see this race, I am starting to get a feel for what kind of shots I can actually get. After going to the location I wanted I finally set up and started shooting. I absolutely love how this image came out, with how clear and crisp the car is while starting to achieve a decent amount of motion blur. It makes me very excited to go back next year and see how I can improve.
#2 Felipe’s Old Celica
I believe this is either the second or third time I have put Felipe’s Celica in my top pictures of the year, but I really cant help it. Every year this car goes through a fairly drastic transformation, and every year it impresses me more and more. This year with the car being a beautiful shade of gray I was extremely excited about this shoot. Finally at the end of the season I wanted to get some shots underneath the Marquette Interchange, and I absolutely love how it turned out. I think that the car looks amazing against the cream background and i really enjoy the feel the pillars and the background give.
#3 Eric Moser’s Evo X
This shot is from Automotion this year in the Dells and just had to be in my top 3. There are multiple reasons I enjoy this image so much. The first thing that I really like is the framing. I just love stonework on the bridge along with being able to see the tops of the tree and the river directly below. I thought it was a really cool overlook. The next thing I really Like is the editing style. It is very different than the usual direction I go, which made it very fun to edit. It was a pretty gloomy day and I thought I was able to show that as well as make it a little more dramatic and aggressive in a way.