Behind the scenes of the Toyo Tires Shutter Space Photo Submission - Creating Initial D

Another year, another Toyo Shutter Space Photo Contest has come and gone. This year's theme of CREATIVE MOTION was an exciting theme as I wanted to create not

3 years ago

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Another year, another Toyo Shutter Space Photo Contest has come and gone. This year's theme of CREATIVE MOTION was an exciting theme as I wanted to create not just one but multiple variances of motion in my image.

My original plan was to create something in the realm of Initial D, as my son Calvin and wife are huge fans. I thought to myself, I need a super fresh AE86 and a GTR. I reached out to Allen ( to see if he would be down to be in my shoot. When I asked him about a GTR, he said, "say no more fam!". I was lucky that Rival Dan ( was able to let his cousin Rival Gabe ( grab his beautiful R32 for this shoot and the rest was history. Also for good measure, Allen hit up Miguel ( to see if we wanted to join us... we had the trinity that was the core of Inital D!

We ended up shooting out in Pasadena and ran into multiple levels of hardship trying to shoot. We didn't have much room, plus I had to create a drift motion without the guys actually drifting. You see, weren't in any normal part of Pasadena... the area we were in was a high end neighbor that would get us booted just for being there, let along actually driving like jerks lol.

As the sun fell, I started to line up the cars but soon I found out that the narrow street wouldn't allow me to shoot 3 cars wide so in order to make it work, I choose the R32 and AE86 for the final piece. I originally planned to use a gimbal to create motion but that didn't work out at all lol.

As you can see below, it was a blurry mess. That's it, it was a wrap but falling back on my fundamentals, I decided to shoot the cars static and light paint it so that I had something to fall back on. Although it literally had no motion, my hope was that I could recreate some of that in photoshop.

It was getting close to midnight when I asked the guys, "you guys are good for a few more hours right?" and I didn't realize that all of them had to wake up at 5am so the shit just hit the fan. The contest was due in 3 days and I knew I didn't have anything worthy to upload but in a moment of desperation, I asked the guys if they would spare me 30 more mins to shoot by JPL where I could get some photos of the wheels spinning at the very least.

So with all of them hesitantly saying yes, we rushed over to a much darker spot to grab the motion of the wheels I needed. I brought my trusty jack to raise the wheels just enough so that I can get the actual spinning effect. All of this was a moot point because I didn't use any of them but here are some of the actual images from that location. We were also met by a bunch of hippies, a group of young car guys that just happened to see what we were doing and then also the friendly Pasadena Police, who asked us to leave as we were just wrapping up.

The following day was filled with a lot of lots of sadness as I thought I had nothing to work with. As I started to layer the image, I kept pulling just enough to keep me going. After 11 hours, I finally finished my the final piece.

Below is what my original art direction was and this is how it ended up.

I had to create quite a bit of motion in order to make this shot work. Both the back of the cars plus the front AE86 had to have motion. The wheels had to be layered in order for the effect to look natural, otherwise the wheels just looked super flat.

The hardest part for me was blurring the ground. I needed a long sweeper effect and it finally happened after I had to teach myself how to use the path blur tool. Then followed by the smoke from the tires and then of course, the final piece was the light trails. That was the creation motion part for me layered on top of the rest of the movement.

Thank you guys for following along. I appreciate all the support and love from you guys. Stay tuned for coverage at the Toyo event coming up next.


Drew Manley

Published 3 years ago


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