Love for your family begins at birth. Love for some sort of man-made object often follows soon after; a teddy bear, a toy truck, an iPhone…a camera. At some point, often, a car. And of course it would be. A collection of panels and wires, a few wheels, and an engine combine to make something that truly IS greater than the sum of its parts. A car can become a symbol. It often ends up on a wall next to a scantily clad pin-up, the pair going together to form a dream that stays for life. It’s not often that dream materializes, but Fstoppers’ Lee Morris, in the spirit of Christmas and love, made it happen for his father..with a twist! Being a photographer, the whole journey was beautifully documented in video and stills.

Vintage American muscle cars of the 60s an 70s are ubiquitous in dream car lists worldwide, and especially on home turf. For many growing up, a Ferrari or Lamborghini was so exotic there was little point thinking about them. For a kid outside a major city you likely wouldn’t even see one. But a Chevy? Your neighbor had one of those. And a Camaro was the ultimate incarnation. Big, loud, and beautiful with racing stripes, it’s easy to see why it was Mr. Morris’ choice.

Lee takes us along his year-long effort to source the perfect car, pull it apart, paint it, and put it back together – a finished product as if it was materialized right from his dad’s dream. With his dad entirely clueless, Lee then went about creating a stunning photo of the car with the idea of having his dad think it was the picture that was the gift.


[REWIND: Exploded View of Model Cars]

Morris, in typical fashion, goes into great detail showing and explaining the evolution of the shoot from planning, gear mentions (seems a D800 was primarily used), execution, and lots in post processing. In fact, he takes us through two shoots, one of which he describes as quite possibly the most complicated of his career, involving 40 hours of Photoshop. This is all contained in the video below, but it’s watching Lee share the story that brings it all together. You can’t help but smile seeing the reaction and pride in his dad, as it’s revealed that it’s in fact the car in the photo that is the real gift…a car sitting right outside.

The entire story can be found here, and more from Lee, head over to Fstoppers. Also, you can learn from Lee, Patrick, Pye, (our very own Editor-in-Chief), and some of the other top photographers in the industry, join them in Atlantis for the Fstoppers Workshops 2014!