Culture > Art

A 2021 retrospective through car photography

The pandemic gave the author time to indulge his passion for photography

Life must go on even when the pandemic makes things difficult. PHOTO BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

Apart from writing for this website, the pandemic made me realize the importance of pursuing my passions. My love for car photography wasn’t an accident. It was definitely something born from my background of loving the automobile, car detailing (as I’ve locally represented one of the best car-care brands for years), and inspiration from those who I have met and worked with in the industry.

Some have said I have a natural talent; an eye for the craft which I have decided to pursue and nurture. I thank God everyday for what I have been gifted with. However, it doesn’t end there. I make a conscious effort to improve my skills from day to day with each photograph I take or project I get my hands on. It’s not something forced, but more like a natural process especially when you sincerely love what you do.

It's quite obvious that the author really enjoys what he does. PHOTOS BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

When you’re deeply passionate about something, you never let anything get in the way. The imposed restrictions/limitations brought about by the health crisis combined with minimizing risks to my family didn’t stop me. I just had to carefully plan my tasks, exercise patience, move about intelligently, and pray.

My fascination for creating natural stunning compositions came with understanding natural lighting, making it work with surrounding structures, and even went as far as studying weather patterns thanks to AccuWeather and similar online services. A perfect example of this was during the rainy season months ago.

Wet weather is sometimes a plus because no one is around. PHOTOS BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

I talked to a friend who acquired a new Mercedes-AMG G63 and asked when he would visit La Union with it. When I was able to pinpoint the shoot date, I began studying the weather patterns around that time. Days before the shoot, thunderstorm activity was frequent. I just had to instinctively see (based on forecasts) where these storms would pass as the objective was to catch lightning in my photos with this badass SUV as my subject.

On the day, we were thinking of heading out to a private port about 30 minutes away from where we were in Caba, La Union. Moments before leaving, the strong scent of rain and the rumbling, darkening sky made us stay put. Minutes later, rain came crashing down. We were in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm and rushed to move the G-Wagen to a clear spot on the beach. Once in position, I asked my friend to stand beside the vehicle and turn his gaze toward the horizon while I kept still, firmly holding the cage where my phone camera was mounted in. In a matter of seconds, lightning struck at almost the perfect spot. A one-in-a-million moment captured on camera.

Hit the shutter button a split second later and there would be no lightning strike. PHOTO BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

I was ecstatic! We all were. Never mind being soaked in the rain. All that mattered was the shot. Even pro racing driver Marlon Stockinger witnessed this awesome moment from the beach resort next to the location. All you have to do is look at the image here and see what I’m talking about. This was not a stroke of luck. Given all the elements that came together, it was divine intervention that made it work.

The photos bring a glimmer of hope to La Union's tourism industry. PHOTOS BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

The health crisis hit us harder this year. La Union, a province that has thrived on tourism, was greatly affected. Aside from fulfilling my photography projects for a number of car brands, I decided to support the local tourism sector by creating images that tie in my passion with promoting tourist destinations or establishments linked to this sector.

I eventually had the images printed, framed and awarded to these establishments or individuals. The best part is how these brought joy, inspiration and hope to the people connected with these places.

The author is extremely proud of his stunt-driver wife. PHOTOS BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

One thing I realized in my line of work is we are given gifts or talents by God not just for ourselves alone, but more importantly, to bring goodness and positivity to the world; changing it for the better and bringing everyone closer to His light. It is our duty as believers to fulfill His will through the gifts we’ve been given and receive His promise of prosperity and salvation. I’ve made it a point to share with the awesome folks I’ve worked with to always acknowledge God in everything we do. My work is not mine, but a grace from Him.

What started within me has spread across my wife and kids. My better half even volunteered to drive the cars I shoot and went as far as learning how to pilot a pickup truck off-road to assist me. She loves it and the kids get stoked as shoots have turned into family bonding time.

Each photographic adventure becomes an excuse to spend time with family. PHOTOS BY MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

Allow me to leave you with this Bible verse:

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. (Proverbs 18:16)

I pray that my coffee-table book on car photography will come into fruition someday to tell an inspiring story of both passion and faith through imagery.

May all of you find that gift, bless and inspire others with it, and praise God always. Have a prosperous New Year ahead.

Manskee Nascimento

Manskee is a music-loving petrolhead who specializes in car care. He finds peace in long drives to and from his home in La Union.