When the creative pitch for your latest assignment is “Mad Max meets Blade Runner,” you know you’re in for a hell of a ride. Blake Jorgenson recently spent three days out in the Utah desert with a “gritty and action ready crew.” As if to mirror the experience of driving a truck across miles of untouched terrain, each day began incredibly early and moved at a dizzying pace.
I was lucky enough to be hired to a shoot with Ram trucks recently for their new high performance 702 Horsepower RAM TRX. The creative pitch was “Mad Max meets Blade Runner,” and I think that came across perfectly with tons of high-speed off-road action and a futuristic post treatment on the images.
This shoot moved at an incredibly fast pace over three days in the Utah desert with 3 a.m. call times each day. Every type of weather — from extreme heat to wind and rain — made the shoot tough but gave the images an authentic look that the client was looking for. Everything was shot practically with authentic action and performance from the truck and drivers. Automotive shoots don’t get much more exciting than this.
Having worked with Ram once before and being hired by the same producer and director this time around, Blake received quite a bit of creative freedom. That said, everyone involved in this shoot is at or near the top of their respective professions, so collaboration ruled the day.
I worked with art director Parker Bell at the Richards group and he had some great samples of some really creative color grading that we put quite a bit of time into. I have also worked with these drivers from LA Powersports on multiple shoots. They are the best and always see the same faces on these jobs.
There were more things about the shoot that made it run well. First, even though things were shot during COVID, the fact that the entire shoot was outdoors and far away from civilization made social distancing and isolating easy enough. Second — and perhaps more pertinent to the success of the shoot — was that everyone on set had a work background that prepared them well for the unpredictability inherent to desert weather.
Everybody on this team was accustomed to working in difficult conditions and many of us come from an expedition and action sport backgrounds. Good thing, because these shoots are split shift to work about the sunrise and sunset so mid-day would be a break. It was also extremely hot mid-day in the Utah desert.
Blake’s biggest takeaway from the assignment was the authenticity of the final deliverables. With all the space you could ask for and some of the world’s best drivers on retainer, it’s no wonder Ram wanted high-octane shots that essentially leap off the screen at potential customers. That brings us back to the experience of the crew — getting these kinds of shots is dangerous work and requires laser sharp focus no matter the time of day or length of shoot.
My favorite shots are all the intense action. So much in automotive photography is fake and the client really wanted to show this truck for what it can really do so to shoot everything practically as an action shoot and not have to enhance or add any effects makes them all really authentic. Because it was all real action it made it a bit dangerous and you had to stay on your toes and work with the broadcast team really well.
I don’t think truck shots get more exciting than this. It was a real adventure out there. Great crew and loved the creative post work with my retouching team to make these images really stand out.
See more of Blake’s work at blakejorgenson.com.
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