Even beautifully lit and photographed Porsches can get a bit mundane if they are always viewed from the same angle, and some cars look very much better from some points of view than others. While the three-quarter frontal is the standard go-to shot, one of my favorite alternative angles was the “down shot” from above. During my years at Panorama, I tried a lot of crazy things to get overhead views, shooting off a highway bridge, off the roofs of various buildings, off the drive-over bridge at Sebring (no, not during a race), out the third story window of my home using an extended monopod. I even cut a four inch hole in the attic floor over my garage to shoot through, a bad idea. There were any number of ladders of various sorts, and even the tree that ended my tree-climbing adventures some years ago.
Issues to be dealt with included getting far enough above the car to be able to use a normal focal length lens in order to minimize distortion (one of the problems with the hole in the attic floor idea), and, for the classic dead overhead shot, getting the camera directly over the car so there is symmetry. This was a particularly tough problem with the camera extended on the monopod, especially with film cameras that could give no immediate feedback on the shot just made. There was also the little niggling fear of dropping an expensive camera on an even more expensive car; that thought still gives me stomach cramps, even though it never came close to happening.
In April of 2010, the new Porsche museum in Stuttgart provided an opportunity to look down on some very fine machinery, including this “356 B 1600 GS Carrera GTL” better known to us as a Carrera Abarth. Although there was no pressing need for an image of this particular car at the time, it was a good opportunity to add a variant image of the Abarth to my model-specific Porsche files as well as to show some of the opportunities for shooting inside the museum. Looking at it now, there are number of ways it might be improved, but six years later I’m still pleased to have made the image. Not everyone has seen the car from this angle!