Mercedes-Benz World

Within the confines of what remains of the Brooklands circuit in Surrey lies Mercedes-Benz World, a complex that manages to be a museum, car showroom and driver training track all in one, all owned and operated by Mercedes-Benz. For a photographer, this means that there’s historic old cars, shiny new cars and action all in the same day.

At the start of March my father-in-law, who is doing a photography course, asked me down there with a friend of ours to have a look around and get some interesting photos.

1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 58mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 58mm

Right by the entrance was this vehicle. Annoyingly I didn’t think to take quick snaps of the signs telling me what everything was. Fortunately Google is here to help. That was the front of a CLK GTR Roadster, one of only a handful ever built. This is the side.

1/200sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm
1/200sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm

Given all of the interesting reflections on the car, and the window in the background, I decided to shoot a HDR version of this shot.

f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm (HDR)
f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm (HDR)

Further inside in the main foyer – pictured at the top of this post – was this wonderfully livered Gumball 3000 car.

1/250sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 10mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 10mm

Deeper into the foyer was the first of many AMG Mercedes on display, and one in the Mercedes red that I really fell in love with on this visit.

1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 20mm
1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 20mm

I quickly developed a fascination for the chrome of the iconic Mercedes logo.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 80mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 80mm

There were cars of all ages at the museum. Just behind the 1980s (maybe) AMG there was a 1930s (possibly) Merc.

1/40sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm
1/40sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm

I tried to take a shot of the hood emblem but didn’t realise that my aperture was too big to get both the logo on the front and the emblem on the top in focus. I still quite like the result, even if it isn’t quite what I intended.

1/100sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 50mm
1/100sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 50mm

I also took a wide shot of the car but the wide angle lens I’ve borrowed distorts a little at wider angles.

1/20sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 10mm
1/20sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 10mm

Right next to this car was an even older one, one that predates the Mercedes name itself: what looked like the world first motorcar, the Benz Patent Motorwagen – or perhaps a replica of it. What appealed to me about it was its exposed cog work.

1/15sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 60mm
1/15sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 60mm
1/15sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 55mm
1/15sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 55mm

I turned back to the other car, and hit upon something that I would continue to shoot throughout the trip: shots of wheels. This time I shot the spare wheel; in hindsight I should’ve shot one of the wheels touching the ground.

1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm

Surrounding these two cars was a history of Mercedes in models. And they were pretty sweet models.

1/20sec, f/22, ISO 1000, 40mm
1/20sec, f/22, ISO 1000, 40mm

Nice looking car, isn’t it? We’ll see the full size version a little later on.

We circled upstairs and found ourselves in an area for selling new cars. Here I continued my new theme of photographing wheels, this time a far more modern one.

1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm

We were soon back amongst older cars, where my wheel shooting continued.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm

Just along from this vehicle was another older machine, so of course I processed the images in monochrome.

1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 73mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 73mm
1/15sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 55mm
1/15sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 55mm

There was probably an order to Mercedes-Benz World but we were really just wandering around aimlessly seeing what we could find. There were several sections as I recall, but I can’t remember what any of them were, with the exception of the AMG area.

1/80sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 28mm
1/80sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 28mm

This 300 SL may look pretty mundane, outside of its stunning classic look, but that bonnet is up for  a reason.

1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 40mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 40mm

The original engine has been replaced by a 6.3-litre AMG engine. It’s a shame it’s covered but I like the shot regardless.

One of the problems I encountered in the AMG area was the lights. There were a lot of coloured lights turning on and off and the predominantly white or traditional Mercedes silver cars showed every tint. Fortunately a lot of the time I was able to remove it.

1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm

This image had a bit of a green tint to it thanks to the lights. I was able to remove it, and at the same time deepened the hue of the indicator light to make it a bit more orange and stand out more.

Where I had the patience I also sometimes waited until the lights turned back to more neutral colours, like when I shot the bum of a more modern Merc.

1/250sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 105mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 105mm

And other times I just had to go with the lighting.

1/80sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 10mm
1/80sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 10mm
1/20sec, f/5, ISO 1000, 15mm
1/20sec, f/5, ISO 1000, 15mm

I closed out the AMG section with some closeups of the AMG marque on a wheel and a brake calliper.

1/20sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 47mm
1/20sec, f/4, ISO 2000, 47mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 50mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 50mm

We wandered from the AMG area into what must have been the Formula 1 section. It was the large deconstructed F1 car that gave it away.

1/125sec, f/4.5, ISO 640, 12mm
1/125sec, f/4.5, ISO 640, 12mm

This was described as an art piece rather than an authentic representation of a modern Formula 1 car (probably because they didn’t want any competitors having a crafty look, although this year’s big rule change probably negates that) but it is truly fascinating to see all of the inner workings of these machines.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 640, 28mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 640, 28mm

The rest of the F1 cars there were at least fully assembled.

1/160sec, f/4, ISO 640, 24mm
1/160sec, f/4, ISO 640, 24mm

The assembled car gave me yet another opportunity to get a photograph of a wheel.

1/40sec, f/4, ISO 640, 24mm
1/40sec, f/4, ISO 640, 24mm

My favourite part of this shot is that, despite being quite obviously a slick racing wheel, the tyre still needs “not for highway use” written on the side.

The Formula 1 section of Mercedes-Benz World was given over not just for the famous Silver Arrows racing team, but for some of the other teams using a Mercedes engine, like Force India with their gorgeous orange and green livery.

1/250sec, f/4, ISO 640, 24mm
1/250sec, f/4, ISO 640, 24mm

Seeing the Force India car reminded me of the time my friend Catherine had the opportunity to photograph one near her hometown. She’d managed to get a bunch of interesting images of the car and it was that I was trying to recall as I explored the angles myself, not just on the Force India car but the McLaren that was parked behind it.

1/80sec, f/4, ISO 640, 45mm
1/80sec, f/4, ISO 640, 45mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 640, 35mm
1/30sec, f/4, ISO 640, 35mm

Alongside these F1 cars was an example of the engine that brought connected them, hanging from the ceiling and looking fantastic in clean chrome.

1/80sec, f/4, ISO 640, 28mm
1/80sec, f/4, ISO 640, 28mm
1/40sec, f/4, ISO 640, 50mm
1/40sec, f/4, ISO 640, 50mm

After pausing to pop outside to watch a display of drifting and car control (the images of which will be along shortly in a separate post), we moved on to the last area, which contained a bunch of mid-20th century cars alongside lots of great photography. There’s no images of the latter, obviously, but the cars were great.

1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 35mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 35mm

And of course, more opportunities for my newly patented wheel shots.

1/40sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm
1/40sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 47mm

With this car I had another go at shooting the hood emblem. This time it worked a lot better.

1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 40mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 40mm

There was a lovely beige car with a soft top that right long side it.

1/25sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 20mm
1/25sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 20mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 32mm
1/125sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 32mm

It had wheels too.

1/60sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 20mm
1/60sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 20mm

At some point whilst walking about Mercedes-Benz World I noticed that effort had been made to get every wheel arranged such that the Mercedes logo was the right way up just about every time. That’s pretty good attention to detail.

In the corner of the display area was a 2007 McLaren-Mercedes F1 car which we could walk all around and have a good look at. The images of that will also be along in a separate post.

Our last stop on our visit was to the sales area. Here, what caught my eye was the lovely blue paintwork of this new Merc, which I prefer even more than that lovely red.

1/50sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm
1/50sec, f/4, ISO 1000, 24mm

With every corner seemingly explored, we returned home, and I left the brochure for the drifting and track experiences where my wife could see them, casually mentioning that it’s my birthday in November.

—————————————————————————————————————-

CreativeSplatLongBlackVertical
Related Posts:

Scooters
Borough Market
Boscastle Pottery
Advertisements

6 Comments

Add yours →

  1. As a car shooter, I love this post. I just have one eensy car quibble. “Merc” is detroit rolling steel, as in possibly one of the coolest cars ever made, a ’49 Merc. A Mercedes is a different beast, and never the twain shall meet! 😉

    Like

    • That might be the case on your side of the Atlantic old friend, but I’m afraid over here we’ve never heard of a ’49 Merc and so we use ‘Merc’ as a shortening of Mercedes, largely because ‘Mercedes’ has three syllables which is an awful lot when you’re impatient, apparently.

      Like

  2. All I can say is “WOW!” So many cars, past and present, and so much history. Over 100 years if not more. I saw your friend’s entry as well. Both your shots and hers were stupendous. Right now I’m window shopping for cameras and an apartment, not to mention getting over a nasty winter we had here in Detroit. That said, this motivates me to get out and shoot like I used to.

    I also appreciate how you give a brief backstory to each image along with its EXIF info. Each shot was clearly defined. You worked magic with every last one of them!

    BJ

    http://www.jvlivsphotography.tumblr.com

    Like

  3. Nice! Looks like you had a lot of good light in there. My favourites are the 3rd (and 4th) photos in – I can’t decide which is better – and 7619/wheel view of the F1 car. The deconstructed car ‘artwork’ looks fascinating.

    One day I’ll get around to blogging again. One day.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: