For professionals who rely on going outside, travelling, and interacting with people for their work, the physical distancing and isolation needed as a response to COVID-19 can be challenging. Kunal Kelkar, a professional automotive photographer based in India, didn’t let this hamper his creativity, though, and created a stunning photoset without even leaving his home.
Kelkar was supposed to be shooting a Lamborghini on assignment in Italy in April, then, as you know, COVID-19 evolved into a global pandemic and introduced travel bans and government-mandated physical distancing. Instead of being bitter about cancelling plans to shoot Lamborghinis in Italy, Kelkar had a bolt of inspiration after a workout on his home treadmill.
“Being limited has brought in a new perspective on creativity,” he told autoTRADER.ca via email. “COVID-19 might have locked you in your homes but it has not locked your creativity or the ability to experiment with the limited resources you have. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with.”
He thought the movement created by a treadmill belt would look a lot like a road zipping under a moving car and was envisioning what people in the industry call “rolling shots” where a car is photographed while in motion. The 1:18 scale Lamborghini Huracan model in the photos was held in place with a shoelace, the race track barriers are actually ping pong nets, and a spray bottle was used to simulate rain.
“Once the idea came to my mind, I was keen to test out the scale model on the treadmill and seeing that it worked, I spent time studying the car angles, equipment I would need for the same and the kind of moods I could create,” he said. “I knew I wanted to shoot at night as that would help keep the attention only on the car, making sure that there was nothing else in the background that would distort the perspective of the 1:18 model. After the creative prep, it was time to figure out how to stabilize the scale model on the moving belt of the treadmill.”
In all, Kelkar said it took him about two hours to set up the scene and make adjustments before taking the first shot.
“The most challenging part of the project was making sure the car stayed in place while it was moving on the treadmill, as I was taking the images as long exposures on slower shutter speeds, the biggest challenge was trying to keep the car in focus,” he said. “Since the scale model didn't really have any suspension, it was bouncing about quite a bit on the treadmill belt.”
With a bit of photoshop work, many people could be convinced the resulting images are of a real-life Lamborghini racing around a rainy track and not a toy on a treadmill. If you're curious to see some behind the scenes shots, Kelkar provided some in the gallery above.
What’s the first thing he's is going to do when COVID-19 is over and things go back to normal?
“Start building a scale model collection.”