Beach Days © Ben Midlane - People's Choice Award Winner 2023

AUTO PHOTO Awards 2023’s Peoples’ Choice Award winner Ben Midlane takes us behind the scenes and shares the story behind his award-winning image, Beach Days, as well as some more of the images from the shoot.

It’s safe to say I was absolutely chuffed to win the People’s Choice Award! The image was always a personal favourite of mine, but to see others have the same reaction to it and ultimately receive this award as a result was truly amazing. A huge thank you to everyone who voted for me amongst a strong array of imagery and automotive photography talent. Its definitely a highlight of my photographic career so far!

Everyone dreams about having one of their images achieve an award, to be able to say you’re an award-winning photographer is awesome! My ‘Beach Days’ image was actually my first award-winning picture and its selection for the Auto Photo Peoples’ Choice Award was its second accolade. I’d like to take you through the process and creation of ‘Beach Days’.

As with all shoots I always have a vision of what I want to create and for this one it was no different. I didn’t have a brief to meet nor schedule to work to for these images, it was simply just a fun day out with friends photographing for the love of doing so. The original theme for the shoot was going to be ‘ 90’s in LA ’ but in typical British fashion it rained as soon as we arrived on location… Great! Prior to the shoot we had done some hunting for a beach which would allow access for both the subject car and camera car. Black Rock Sands in North Wales proved to be our best option and also allowed for some fun driving on the return home.

As mentioned the heavens opened just as we arrived but we didn’t let this dampen spirits, putting our hoods up and making the most of the quiet beach.  We actually started off with some static images, playing around with a matching surfboard and guitar we had brought along with the hope of some sunshine. Despite the lack of sun these images proved to be unique and interesting with the now damp sand providing some quirky reflections in the foreground. As good as these images were turning out, my happy place is always in the boot of the camera car shooting tracking imagery and I was eager to get these done before the rain got any worse. This is where the winning image was taken…

I suppose I always had in mind the composition and look I was going for as we set off for the first rolling run, but some of the final image was down to pure luck. The passing clouds silhouetted the mountains in the distance perfectly and the sand was now wet enough to see the reflection of the headlights as we drove along.  The combination of these factors and pairing this with the slow shutter speed to show the movement really created a unique atmosphere within the image that I couldn’t have originally planned for.

The creation of the winning 911 image was planned yes but it was more about making the most of what wasn’t an ideal situation. Sprinkling this with a little bit of luck and post processing magic ( removing a few beach goers in the background ) I was left with what has been my most successful image to date!

© Ben Midlane
© Ben Midlane
© Ben Midlane
© Ben Midlane
© Ben Midlane
© Ben Midlane

About the Car

The star of the images is my 1988 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo in Grand Prix white with Navy/Ivory interior.

The car features an all-original body, with a rebuilt engine (done by Hartech) and a renovated 5-speed G50 gearbox. Fully restored by specialists Ninemeister in 2021 with new injectors, underbody protection, and full body PPF by Assetti, it has its original steering wheel, and an original Tag Heuer stopwatch used by Porsche Racing in the 1970’s.


Find out more about Ben and his work on his website here and his Instagram here

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