Saab Photo Shoot

One of the great things about doing this site is that I get to indulge a few of my hobbies at the same time.  Despite my obvious shortcomings, writing is one of these hobbies.  Another is the love of Saab automobiles (duh) and yet another is photography.  If I could fit music in somewhere on this blog too, I would!

Over the life of this blog, I’ve featured a bunch of shots by my mate Stu, who’s an absolute gem of a bloke and a genius with a camera.  Stu’s got a great eye and great taste when it comes to finishing the photos (i.e. cropping, enhancement, etc).  I need to get Stu set up with a site so that he can showcase his wares properly as he gets a bunch of requests for photos, but most of these are voluntary assignments.  He really is capable of making an income from his craft.

Anyway, I hooked up with Stu over the Christmas / New Year break and we jumped in the Viggen one morning for a quick shootaround. 

A rare shot of the man behind the camera, Stu.  You’ll see the photo he was taking later on. Photo by me.

For those of you that are interested in photographic equipment etc.  Stu uses a Canon 300D Digital SLR and has always got at least a polarising filter in place.  He’s a Canon devotee from way back.  Stu uses several different bits of software for finishing his photos and getting your head around these is a real bonus for producing some great images.

Myself, I’m currently stuck with a Nikon F60 film camera, but have plans for a D70 sometime this year.  I have a Nikon digital as well, but it’s a compact rather than an SLR and for this stuff I prefer the greater control the SLR offers.  Want some motivation for going digital?  It cost me around $50 to get my two rolls of film printed – about 50 photos.  It cost Stu about $2.50 to give me a burned CD with 100 or so shots on it.

If you still have shares in Kodak, I’d advise you to sell.  (I use Fuji myself, actually).  Heaps of photos etc after the jump……

Drew B, a fellow Tasmanian Saab Nut and writer of several rather forthright comments here at Trollhattan, brought his beautiful black 1993 model 900 Turbo 16S along.  This car is an absolutely magnificent vehicle.  Being the last of the 900’s, Saab decided to empty the parts bin and Drew’s 900 has just about every conceivable option, including some magnificent, powered wraparound seats similar to what were later fitted into the 9000 Aero. 

At left and below, Drew’s very rare, and very nice, 1993 900 Turbo 16S.  The best of the classic 900.  Photos by Stu. 

Drew is a very fussy restorer of vehicles and currently has several projects on his plate.  These include a bare-metal restoration of a 1972 steel-bumper 99 2-door.  He’s also tidying up an old 95 wagon that he acquired from a former Tasmanian SCCA member.  He’s also got a couple of 99Turbo’s – one for day-to-day use and another, in black, that’ll be a restoration project for the future (only 90,000 kms on it and he picked it up for $300!!).

We started the morning off with a trip into the foothills of Mount Wellington.  We scouted a few locations and finally settled on a few spots on the Ridgeway road, between Waterworks and Ferntree.  This is a beautiful piece of twisting bitumen that I’m looking forward to driving at speed some time. 


Actually, whilst we were parked and setting up the cameras at one point, we heard the rumblings of another pleasure cruiser as it powered it’s way up the hill.  We looked to our right and sure enough, there’s a bright red, 1960’s generation Lotus Elan.  The little convertible powered up the hill past where we were standing at a rate of knots with us waving and clapping.  It’s grey-haired owner, resplendant with panama hat and grown son in the passenger seat, was quite obviously enjoying his midlife crisis to no end.  The little sportster rounded the bend for the next hill with the flat stance expected of such a car and then suddenly dropped it’s revs……coughed, spluttered and after 50 or so meters, died.

We snapped off a few more shots to the sound of him trying to re-start and then drove up to where he’d stalled.  We enquired as to whether he needed assistance but he claimed that his young fella knew a bit about cars and that they’d be OK.  I’m thinking Well, it’s OK to know a few things about cars, but it’s another thing all together to try and fix a busted Lotus when you’re stuck on huge hill, several miles from civilisation.  Drew spotted the car several miles back down the hill on our way home.  Seems he didn’t know so much after all.

Just this morning I found a Lotus Elan website with an article entitled "Lotuses are beautiful but can you live with one?"  Say no more, Mr Panama.

The Elan flew up this hill and died about 80 meters from here.  Drew waiting in the 900. Photo by Stu.


Later we pulled up at a great little grassy reserve and managed to find a gap between the rock barrier that was big enough to fit the cars through.  As we snapped away, a worker for the local council came and asked us if we had permission to use the spot.  Seems they have a few hoons tearing it up every now and then.  Of course, we didn’t have permission, but he was pretty good about letting us stay so that we could get the shots we wanted.  Drew, blessed with the gift of the gab, kept him occupied whilst Stu and I worked away with our cameras.

We finished up at the grassy reserve after about 45 minutes of moving cars and shooting photos.  

Two generations of Saab excellence – the 900 Turbo 16S and the 9-3 Viggen.  Photo by me.

I ventured out again later by myself and climbed to the summit of Mount Wellington, where these final shots are taken.  It’s about 8pm and half of Hobart is in shadow, hence the very bright section at the back of some of these, where the light has washed out the features of the land.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad day’s shooting.  We both got some good ones and once again, as I look back on Stu’s final product I manage to learn a thing or two about composition, cropping and exposure.  Hopefully, with these trips, Stu’s also learning a thing or two about Saabs as well.  Maybe even enough to get him out of his beloved Camry one day!!




The following shots were also taken on the day:

The Viggen looking nice and menacing in a downhill stance.  Photo by Stu.

The two cars sitting pretty on the grass.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, as you can see – but this can be a recipe for photographic nightmares.  Shadows can be a real problem in the harsh light of a midday sun.  Photo by Stu.

Drew’s c900 as seen through a tree.  Photo by Stu.

As beautiful as they are to look at, black cars (like black cats) can be really hard to photograph.  This one of Drew’s rear end didn’t turn out too bad, though.  Photo by me.

The Viggen, matched with the blue sky, makes for a neat image.  Photo by me.

At the end of the day, I climbed up the mountain and snapped off a few.  Photos of the Viggen by me.

The Viggen in profile once again.  Geez I love this car.

Looking back towards the city, which is a bit washed out.  Still not an offensive shot though.

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  1. I might add that for the A$50 you spent processing two rolls of film, if you’re like me you’ll maybe like keep 20% of the shots. Whereas with digital, you keep only the shots you want while shooting in real-time. So the real “operating” costs ($ per frame) of digital is even lower, even if you calculate it by the gross # of frames taken vs. the subset of kept frames.

    I too am still stuck in the “analog” world of film, I think I’ll always be a purist that way. Our only digital is a compact, a Panasonic DMC-LZ2 with a paltry (by today’s standards) 5MP. Although it does provide a nice 6X optical zoom lens, anti-vibration, large 2″ LCD and takes AAs. When I take the full digital leap it’ll be prolly a D70S also, taking advantage of my existing Nikon gear.

    Swade, I suspect once you have your D70 you’ll be updating TrollhattanSaab several times a day with new Viggen pics and whatnot !

  2. Spot on Ken. I think out of those 50 shots, there were about 25 or so that I’d keep and of those, about 10 that I’d use in a space such as here.

    I’ll be going didge sometime soon. But I’ll try not to bore everyone with pics of my own car too much. I’ll find a variety of stuff here in Tassie to shoot.

  3. Swade,

    Nice post, except for the bit about me being the “writer of several rather forthright comments here at Trollhattan”. What a load of ****ing cr*p!!!!!

    Oh, and then there’s the passage “….This one of Drew’s rear end didn’t turn out too bad, though”. Hmmmmmmm……….


  4. Don’t know about sunroof motors Al, but I love it when Drew proves my point for me!!

    I’ll try and get the full package of photos to you this weekend, Mr B.

  5. Hi Swade,

    greetings from Germany and two thumbs up for this great weblog. Are you – by any chance – planning on posting high-res versions of the pictures from your photo shoot? I would love to see a couple of them in their 6,3 megapixel glory delivered by Stu’s Canon 300D…



  6. Christian,

    No plans for Hi-res, it’s an absolute bandwidth killer. If you email me (swade[at] though and let me know what you’re after, I’ll see what I can organise.

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