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Iconic Porsche Moments Recreated in Lego by Automotive Photographer Dominic Fraser

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Automotive photographer Dominic Fraser recreates iconic Porsche moments at home using Lego and his cameras while unable to travel for work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recreation of the Porsche 919 pulling into pit lane
Recreation of the Porsche 919 pulling into pit lane

Thanks to a mammoth amount of global events being canceled coupled with COVID-19 travel restrictions, many in creative industries who would usually be covering the events or out on photoshoots have found themselves grounded at home with more spare time on their hands than usual.

While some photographers are using the time to create curated print collections based on an impressive backlog of photography archives, others like automotive photographer Dominic Fraser have found new ways to put the camera to work.

Lego Recreation of the Porsche 917K at the Goodwood starting line by automotive photographer Dominic Fraser
Recreation of the Porsche 917K at the Goodwood starting line

Normally traveling the world shooting life-size cars for most of his 20 year automotive photography career, Dominic has instead turned his attention closer to home and to something MUCH smaller in size – Lego size to be precise.

Inspired by his children’s Lego sets, Dominic decided to recreate some of Porsche’s most iconic shots from motoring history using the colorful Lego Speed Champion sets and his Sony cameras.

Lego Porsche 911 RSR recreation by automotive photographer Dominic Fraser
What working from home can look like for an automotive photographer.

“I’ve got house full of cameras that weren’t doing anything and I found it incredibly frustrating because all I wanted to do was create something,” explains Fraser. “Rather than doing nothing, I decided to use Lego’s Speed Champions models to try to re-create some of my favourite images from motoring history. I started with Audi and the quattro because we had that particular Lego in the house, but then I decided to model a series of Porsche images because the cars and the pictures are so iconic.”

Automotive Photographer Domic Fraser At Work
Automotive photographer Dominic Fraser looking to get the perfect shot

While shooting cars on the job is second nature by now to Dominic, photographing the Lego car set-ups posed an entirely different set of challenges that needed to be solved in a new way to achieve the desired outcomes.

On the process of recreating a “Legofied” version of a specific photograph, Dominic commented, “Once I’ve settled on an iconic shot to recreate, I study the details and think about what I can actually see. It’s amazing how much the brain fills in gaps with a normal photo, but with the Lego images it’s a bit different.

Lego Porsche 911 RSR

“If anything, it’s helped my photography because I’ve really had to think about the technicalities of the shot, and to visualise exactly what I’m trying to capture,” he says. “It’s been a more conceptual process than I’m used to with actual cars – in real life, you shoot much more in the moment.”

For those keen to know exactly how he did it, Dominic has been kind enough to share the behind-the-scenes “magic” it took to create the images.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid in the Pit Garage
Everything is awesome at the Porsche pit lane. Credit: Dominic Fraser
Everything is awesome at the Porsche pit lane. Credit: Dominic Fraser

“To recreate the image of the 919 Hybrid in the pit garage, I had to think long and hard about the technicalities of the shot and what I was trying to capture. There’s no track so I can discount that, even though I know it’s there, and the grandstand is miles away.

Camera in place and ready to capture the action of the pit lane.
Camera in place and ready to capture the action of the pit lane.

“With the Lego, I needed to bring the grandstand closer and then play with focal lengths because the recreation 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.”

Setting up for the Porsche 919 pit stop shot.
Setting up for the Porsche 919 pit stop shot.

“I also needed to position things so that they look correct in the camera frame. 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.”

Porsche 919 pit lane workers Lego recreation

“None of this impacts the photographer on a real shoot because they are just focusing on the moment, but when you have to actually build the scene, it makes a massive difference.”

Porsche 919 pit lane Lego recreation by automotive photographer Dominic Fraser
The Porsche 917K at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Goodwood Porsche 940 Lego recreation shot by automotive photographer Dominic Fraser

“The first thing I did to recreate this image was to make sure the whole set felt correct. The startline at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is so iconic that you can sometimes forget the details that make up the scene – I’ve been there loads of times but still had to remind myself. Simply by building the straw bales and tress, along with the start gantry, you instantly create that sense of Goodwood.

Setting up for a Lego version of Goodwood Festival of Speed. Credit: Dominic Fraser
Setting up for a Lego version of Goodwood Festival of Speed.

“Then it was a case of applying some of the skills I’ve learnt in my day job to create a way to take a car-to-car tracking shot, but in miniature. 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. 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.

“I was quite pleased as this was the only ‘post’ alteration that I had to do. Unlike in reality, no shots were made up of several photographs comp’d together, and there was no need for special editing effects.”

The Jumping Porsche 930 Turbo
Recreating the jumping Porsche shot by automotive photographer Jeff Zwart. Credit: Dominic Fraser
Recreating the jumping Porsche shot by automotive photographer Jeff Zwart. Credit: Dominic Fraser

“If you look closely at the iconic 930 Turbo image – originally shot by Jeff Zwart and famously appearing as a backdrop in the US sitcom ‘Seinfeld’ – you’ll see the car kicks up some dust in the original photo. I really wanted to show that in the Lego shot because it would make my recreation even more realistic. I sprinkled some grit over the Lego floor and then used a camera sensor blower to ‘puff’ the dirt into the air.

Jumping Porsche Vintage Poster by Jeff Zwart

“It’s important to think about the background in your image. The original shot I was working on here has a blurred-out landscape so I decided to set this scene up in my garden. The bushes at the bottom of my garden are the right shade of green and because they’re far enough away, I managed to blur them out so that you can’t make them out in any detail – just like in the original.

What it takes to get the shot. Credit: Dominic Fraser
What it takes to get the shot.

“The final trick with this image relates to the wheels. When a car jumps in real life, the wheels drop out of the arches because the suspension drops. 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 recreation.

And Dominic’s final word of advice for anyone considering this as a new hobby…..

You're going to want a good pair of tweezers to help put the stickers on. Credit: Dominic Fraser
You’re going to want a good pair of tweezers to help put the stickers on.

“If anyone wants to try this at home I recommend using a pair of tweezers to put the stickers on: it’s time consuming but worth it because when you’re focused on the car in such detail, you notice when something isn’t quite right.”

For those who don’t have the patience but love the outcome – you’re in luck as you can purchase a few of Dominic’s lego recreations as prints over at his website.

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Gift Idea for Porsche Fans: The Luft Book Volume 2

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The perfect gift for Porsche fans, The Luft Book V2 is the second volume that celebrates the unique vintage air-cooled Porsche gathering known as Luftgekühlt.
The Luft Book V2 Binder
The new Luft Book Volume 2. Credit: Luftgekühlt

The perfect gift for Porsche fans, Luft Book V2 is the second edition that celebrates the unique vintage air-cooled Porsche gathering known as Luftgekühlt (or Luft for short) in all of its colorful glory.

With over 248 pages of outstanding photography from the likes of Larry Chen, Nevin Pontius, and Vince Perraud, The Luft Book V2 captures magical moments from Luft 4 through to the latest Luft 6 and the story behind them.

The Luft Book V2 Luftgekuhlt Bicester
Capturing the moments of Luft 4 through to Luft 6. Credit: Luftgekühlt

Founded by Porsche factory driver and two-time Le Mans winner Patrick Long, Luftgekühlt is a living art gallery of sorts that first began as a casual gathering of 12 vintage air-cooled Porsche enthusiasts and fast took on a life of its own with the latest Luft 6 being held at Universal Studios and being attended by almost 400 vehicles.

The Luft Book V2 Luftgekuhlt
Celebrating all that’s great about air-cooled vintage Porsche’s. Credit: Luftgekühlt

Taking the time to precisely place participants air-cooled Porsche’s in the most visually pleasing locations; annual Luft events regularly attract visitors both young and old. It’s not unlikely to see the likes of fellow Porsche fans comedian Jerry Seinfeld or actor Patrick Dempsey browsing the cars on show.

The Luft Book V2 Page
Designed, produced and printed in California. Credit: Luftgekühlt

Having now made the jump across the pond to Great Britain and Germany, Luft has become a well-loved global treat for Porsche lovers, and this book seeks to do justice in visual form.

The Luft Book Volume 2
– Designed, produced and printed in California
– Complete with sleeve and stylized box.
– Limited first print run available.
– Intro by: Patrick Long
– Photography by: Larry Chen, Nevin Pontious, Vince Perraud, and more…
– Book Design by: Jeff Zwart and Ralph Hermens
– Words by: Joshy Robots

The Luft Book V2 is US$140 and includes free standard ground shipping in continental US for all orders placed at https://shop.luftgekuhlt.com before December 11 2020.

The Luft Book V2 Aerial View
Limited edition with sleeve and stylized box. Credit: Luftgekühlt

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Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021 Physical Event Canceled Due to COVID-19

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Watches & Wonders Geneva have announced the 2021 physical event will be canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but will still host an online digital event April 7-13, 2021.
Watches & Wonder 2021 Canceled
Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021 will be a digital-only event once again. Credit: W&W

For the second time this year, event organizers of the newly launched Watches & Wonders show have contended with the ramifications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and have now announced the cancellation of the Watches & Wonders 2021 event in Geneva, Switzerland.

The inaugural Watches & Wonders Geneva was originally set to launch in April this year but was rescheduled to 2021 as travel, and governmental restrictions made it unfeasible to continue with plans for a live event. As an alternative, Watches & Wonders organizers Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie pivoted to a digital event and instead hosted the online launches for the participating watch houses.

Hopeful the pandemic would have eased, and participants could soon travel and gather again, Watches & Wonders was rescheduled to 2021. Unfortunately, organizers have now announced the 2021 event has also befallen the same fate and will now be a digital-only event.

Watches & Wonder Show 2020
Watches & Wonders promises to return bigger than ever in 2022. Credit: W&W

“In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Exhibitor Committee has decided to cancel the physical Salon that would have been held at Palexpo from April 7 to 13, 2021. The decision, taken in close consultation with the principal stakeholders, is seen as the most responsible course of action, given the current health crisis and uncertainties as to how the situation may evolve.”

While the 2021 digital event will still offer plenty of new releases from watch brands and a range of interactive activities for media, retailers, and exhibiting brand’s clients, Watches & Wonders organizers have promised the 2022 edition will be the largest watch event ever held in Geneva and are looking forward to welcoming everyone in person.

The newly-formed “HourUniverse” by the same organizers of the collapsed BaselWorld was also scheduled to be held in Geneva simultaneously with Watches & Wonders, so it remains to be seen how this impacts their decision on holding a live event in 2021.

Participating Watch Brands for Watches & Wonders 2021 Digital Event

A. LANGE & SÖHNE
ARMIN STROM
ARNOLD & SON
BAUME & MERCIER
BOVET
CARTIER
CHANEL
CHOPARD
FABERGÉ
FERDINAND BERTHOUD
GIRARD-PERREGAUX
GRÖNEFELD
H. MOSER & CIE.
HERMES
HYT
IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN
JAEGER-LECOULTRE
LAURENT FERRIER
MB&F
MONTBLANC
PANERAI
PARMIGIANI
PATEK PHILIPPE
PIAGET
PURNELL
REBELLION TIMEPIECES
RESSENCE
ROLEX
ROGER DUBUIS
RUDIS SYLVA
SPEAKE-MARIN
TUDOR
ULYSSE NARDIN
VACHERON CONSTANTIN

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MB&F FrogX Reimagines 10th Anniversary of HM3 Frog Watch

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Initially launched in 2010, the new MB&F FrogX watch celebrates the 10th anniversary of the brand’s most popular model.
MB&F HM3 FrogX 10th Anniversary Limited Edition. Credit: MB&F
MB&F HM3 FrogX 10th Anniversary Limited Edition. Credit: MB&F

Ten years ago, MB&F introduced the amphibious inspired HM3 Frog in all its bug-eyed glory. It was one of the brand’s best sellers throughout its five-year run. Featuring two large “eyes” that rotated to display the hours and minutes and a broad grinning “smile,” MB&F’s Frog pushed the boundaries of design and looked ready to jump at a moment.

The turquoise edition with white alligator strap. Credit: MB&F
The turquoise edition with white alligator strap. Credit: MB&F

Now to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its creation, MB&F has created a special limited edition FrogX in three different colors with a new sapphire crystal case and a “secret that appears only under the right light”.

The amphibious "horological machine" in Purple. Credit: MB&F
The amphibious “horological machine” in Purple. Credit: MB&F

Like the previous Frog edition, two paper-thin domes milled out of light-weight black anodized aluminum indicate the hours and minutes and are housed under two sapphire crystal domes. What is different with the new FrogX model is that the entire case has now been crafted out of sapphire crystal (instead of only the domes combined with a metal case).

MB&F Frog X Purple 10th Anniversary Front Back
The FrogX case is made entirely out of sapphire crystal. Credit: MB&F

On both editions of the Frog, the curvature of the domed “eyes” has to be exactly right and the thickness of the crystal strictly controlled throughout so as not to distort the time display. With the new FrogX, however, the two sapphire domes are fused to the sapphire crystal upper case body, creating an additional level of difficulty.

MB&F Frog X Turquoise 10th Anniversary Front Back

Machining and polishing each case of HM3 FrogX requires weeks of intensive and meticulous work, a time-frame that would be significantly multiplied if not for MB&F’s experience in sapphire crystal design dating back to 2005.

Incorporating the distinctive HM3 engine built by watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, the FrogX still offers the wearer an uninterrupted view of the 22K gold and titanium winding rotor and the oscillations of the balance wheel but has forgone the date display to ensure the MegaWind rotor and domes are given enough real-estate on the dial.

Black line markers indicate the correct hour and minutes. Credit: MB&F
Black line markers indicate the correct hour and minutes. Credit: MB&F

To make it easier to read the time at night, the dome numbers are coated with Super-Luminova and appear like two glowing eyes of a wild tree frog peering out of the darkness in the Amazon.

MB&F Frog X Purple 10th Anniversary Night
Super-LumiNova coated numbers to assist with telling the time at night. Credit: MB&F

Another unique attribute of the FrogX is the secret MB&F battle-axe “signal” that appears at just the right angle thanks to some clever light-sculpting techniques by Swiss company Rayform.

MB&F Frog X 10th Anniversary Blue Lifestyle
The secret battle-axe signal that appears at the right angle. Credit: MB&F

Using the FrogX’s crown (usually engraved with MB&F’s iconic battle-axe insignia), the smoothly polished crown has instead been sculpted at microscopic levels that allow light to be reflected in a highly specific way. By micro-forming a metal surface at levels nearly imperceptible to the human eye, Rayform’s technology allows direct incident light beams to be reflected in the battle-axe shape that can be viewed on any relatively uniform surface.

If you look closely you can see the battle-axe signal underneath. Credit: MB&F
If you look closely you can see the battle-axe signal underneath. Credit: MB&F

Limited to 10 pieces of each of the three versions (blue, purple or turquoise), the HM3 FrogX 10th anniversary limited editions are priced at CHF 138,000 each (approx USD$150,000) and available through retailers and MB&F directly.

MB&F Frog X 10th Anniversary Trio

MB&F HM3 FrogX Details

Variants

  • Sapphire Crystal case with blue dial plate
  • Sapphire Crystal case with purple dial plate
  • Sapphire Crystal case with turquoise dial plate

Engine

  • 3D Horological engine designed by Jean-Marc Wiederrecht/ Agenhor on Girard-Perregaux GP03300 base
  • Power reserve: 48 hours
  • Balance frequency: 4Hz / 28,800 bph
  • Number of components: 277
  • Number of jewels: 36

Functions / Indications

  • Hours on one dome and minutes on second dome
  • “Secret message” crown that reflects light rays to project MB&F battle-axe icon

Case

  • Material: Sapphire Crystal
  • Dimensions: 48.3 mm x 52.7 mm x 17.5 mm
  • Number of components: 70
  • Water resistance: 90ft / 30m / 3 ATM

Strap & Buckle

  • Hand-stitched alligator strap with titanium folding buckle

Price

  • MB&F HM3 FrogX Price: CHF 149,000 + VAT / USD$152,000 + tax / EUR 138,000 + tax

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