Trip to the Top of the Mountain

Special Guest Post by Dave Wendt

In the summer of 2003, Canon came out with the first full frame SLR that I could afford. The EOS-1 Ds. Behold a miracle! At the same time, I was able to purchase a new Apple Powerbook G4 with the 17-inch screen.  Behold, another miracle!

By this time in my career I’d been working with digital files for about eight years and had a good idea what I could do with them once I had a good scan. Now I had a high resolution hand held scanner (16.1 mega pixel camera) I could take anywhere. Coupled with powerful Adobe Photoshop software (a miracle I’d gotten used to by then), I could start to learn how to shoot digital and process my files on the fly anywhere.

Ferrari Enzo

One more planet aligned when a car buddy called to invite me to Colorado to photograph his new Ferrari Enzo for the Fast Expensive Cars calendar that I shoot and publish. All this came together in such a way that as soon as the camera arrived, my brother and I departed to drive on one of the most ultimate road trips ever. I would teach myself how to use the camera during the drive out from Ohio to the small Colorado mountain town of Twin Lakes. From there we could do the first real shoot with the new camera and the new car. What a great first digital shoot.

During the drive I figured out the basic stuff about the camera and found that it was just about like all the Canon EOS equipment I’d been using for years. I was comfortable with the whole process and felt that we could go about this shoot like all the others we’d done before. This time it would be different though. No Polaroids to check and no film to wonder about and hope the lab didn’t mess anything up. No waiting! NO WAITING!

Enzo in Colorado

As my friend handed me the keys to his spankin’ brand new Enzo, ( it only had 853 miles on it), he mentioned that the car was broken in and we could go about our trip without worry. “Bring it back in a few days and have a good time,” he said. I can tell you after having done this for a while, driving a borrowed million dollar car doesn’t lend itself worry free. None the less, off we went. From Aspen CO you take 82 East up pretty high over the Independence Pass summit at 12,095 feet and the continental divide. We started to shoot along the way. Just little happy snaps for warm up and to get used to the car and what we may do with it for a scene for the calendar. At some point later in the afternoon, we took the Enzo back up to the summit to see some of what we had just photographed.

This is when it hit me, since at the time we had something incredible happening. Here we were sitting in the Enzo, which at the time was the top of the heap for the car world. I’m processing some of the RAW files that we just shot with one of the best cameras to come along ever (in my opinion) and we’re looking at the files on this incredible new computer on top of the mountain, in a Ferrari Enzo! That’s a trifecta if I’ve ever seen one. The Car, the Camera and the Computer sitting in an unbelievable location working on the images we shot moments before just down the road. I’d heard about how things can come together, I just never thought I’d be there when the really did.

Enzo on Independence Pass

As I look back, this was the peak of my career. Much more happened during that trip that has paid great dividends for years afterward. Those are stories for other times. But for a moment I was at a pinnacle point where the best of all the technologies I use for my business, life and fun, all came together and I realized it while it was happening. I couldn’t come up with a better way to make a living for myself. I’ve been quite lucky.

A personal note from Joe Farace: Dave Wendt is one of the finest and most creative automobile photographers working in the USA. If you want to see more of his work, visit his website www.DaveWendt.com and prepare to be amazed.