Holy …. schmoly.

(shot with Olympus OM-1 and Leica 15mm f/1.7 lens)

The back story to this article is that I was riding home on my 1968 BMW R60US one summer evening from the Ontario Science Center in Toronto perhaps five years ago. As I was stopped at a red light, a new BMW S1000RR sportbike rolled up right next to me. We both flipped our visors open as we did a double take and checked out the other’s bike.

“Wooah man … “

” – that’s incredible!” I replied.

The S1000RR was a fresh model designed to challenge the World Superbike Championship and in 2014 it won the Senior TT at the Isle of Man and breaking a 75 year drought for BMW. My bike was the very last model based on prewar designs and had only a limited two year transitional run before the era of modern BMW motorcycles as the parent company finally achieved financial and commercial success. The experience reminded me very strongly of the 2002 Porsche TV commercial for their two seat Boxster roadster entitled “Awake”. A man freshly awakened from decades spent in a coma drives his mint Porsche 550 Spyder and encounters a Boxster on the same winding seashore highway. For those who don’t know, the 550 Spyder was a legendary racecar from the 1950s that was a true giant killer and was the vehicle that actor James Dean was driving when he was killed in a road accident. You can watch the commercial here, make sure you are playing it at its highest resolution. BTW, it was filmed on the Sea to Sky Highway that connects West Vancouver to Whistler which I have driven many times. One of the world’s great highways.

Unfortunately, there is still snow on the ground in Toronto so it will be at least a month before I can shoot the image in a more convincing setting. This is just a trial run to determine the last of the errors in my approach. Using a 1:10 scale highly detailed Schuco S1000RR model. I had to partially dissemble the fairing to install a pair of mini LED headlights powered by a 5V lithium coin battery. The rider is a rare Tamiya 1:12 motorcycle figure.
Since the 1:12 Tamiya figure was just too small to use with the bike, I took a silicone rubber impression of it, soaked it overnight in mineral spirits until its expanded the required 20% and then cast it with liquid plastic.  One has to carefully cut the impression in half to free the original figure and to facilitate that it’s best to use a translucent product like this one so you can see the figure.  The two halves are stabilized with rubber bands during the casting process.
The original Tamiya figure is on the right, the 120% larger liquid plastic casting is on the left. I am not a model painter so I transplanted the well painted head from a generic 7″ action figure and a 1:8 scale model racing helmet. I discovered a whole unknown world of racing helmet collectors who collect miniature versions of helmets worn by famous drivers. This helmet is a little too large but nobody makes a 1:10 scale helmet with a visor that can open and close.


I paste the flatter yellow stripe from the actual parking garage floor to cover the transition to the model platform.
A large area of the floor in front of the parking space is copy and pasted back onto itself, then transformed with the warp command to cover the anterior transition of the model platform.
The dark seam of the last image manipulation is healed.
The darker regions of the model platform are selected, feathered and curves used to adjust lightness.   Cropping will complete the post processing.

By happenstance, my two cars also share a similar dichotomy. The 1985 Mazda Rx7 has a 1.2 L engine that produced in stock form 101 bhp. My 2022 Genesis G90 has a 5 L V8 producing 420 bhp.

I’ve given up the idea of staging this photo idea in the real world since it would involve carrying all my gear on the bike to ride to the site and shooting at a traffic intersection would be out of the question since none exists that would be safe enough to stage. So I’ve dug out my Schuco 1:10 BMW 1960 R60/2 model and had a 1:10 figure custom made to go with it.  Since it was a fairly long exposure with the setting after sunset, I was able to paint illuminate the figure and models with a flashlight to fill in engine details and figure faces that would otherwise remain underexposed.

1 Comment

  1. I still lament allowing the BMW dealer talk me into selling my ’67 R69S as a trade-in for an R100RT in ’82. The 69S (662191) was the best bike I ever rode. Crossed from CT to CA on it in ’82. Great ride. Hang on to your oldie. It has class which is way better than speed.

    Liked by 1 person

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