Testing with Jamie

Jamie was in town for a few days, so we managed to hookup for a quick shoot. We met in Toronto for an editorial job awhile back and kept in touch since (to work with Jamie Hanson, you may contact her agency).

My brother-in-law graciously loaned his condo for this impromptu shoot; with large floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, we used all natural light with a bit of fill flash when needed. We did a few looks yet kept the overall vibe organic and free.

Introducing strobes and technical ideas into a shoot lends to great creative shots and can be fun, but shooting guerilla-styles with natural light (and only with an easy-going, low-maintenance model) is still my favourite way to go when possible.

Audi S4 Shoot...from the vault

Here are some old shots from an editorial job I did awhile back for a national men's magazine. The piece didn't end up running, but I just came across these shots and will likely add them to my port. Check it out.

...the car is a 2010 Audi S4, just released at the time. The model was with Ford Models, and the stylist and MUA were with Judy Inc., I believe.

All images Copyright Amee Reehal ©

Welcome to Blog 2.0

Well, it's been three years since launching this blog, almost to the date. Since, it's gained great momentum with a steadily growing audience every week. So it was about time to launch something new. The result is an equally clean, well-designed blog that's more dynamic and maybe a bit more social-media friendly (great work by the guys at Organic Themes).

As always, I strive to bring fresh, engaging content in my own little way. So far, you're digging it. So I'll keep at it. Enjoy.

Tested > 2011 Ford Fiesta SES Hatchback

The 2011 Ford Fiesta just took home the hardware for Best New Vehicle-Under $21k as voted on by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) during TestFest held last month in Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario--an annual week long event where journalists vote on the 'Best New' vehicles within various segments and price-points, conducting back-to-back road tests within each class. The Fiesta beat out the Mazda2, Scion xD, Scion xB, and VW Jetta. And now, finally, the best-selling car in Europe for years and with over half a million whipping around Europe and Asia, Ford has finally brought the chic Fiesta across The Pond, returning to North America after a nearly 30 year hiatus (remember the 1982 Ford Fiesta?).

Exactly one year ago today, I had the chance to attend the Canadian media launch for the Fiesta in Vancouver. At the time, the official Fiesta release date was still 6 months away and the versions we experienced where all Euro spec. One year later, not much is different between the two. The 2011 Ford Fiesta today is just as stylish and sleek, with a starting price-point of $12,999 Cdn MSRP for the entry-level S Sedan. From here, choices include the SE Sedan ($16,099), the SE Hatchback ($16,799), the SEL Sedan ($18,199), to the grand daddy SES Hatchback Fiesta, as per my tester, ringing in at $18,899. Add $1200 for the leather seat upgrade, as with my hatchback, and we're well above $20k for this subcompact rocket. However, more than likely, Ford expects it's entry-level SE's to be the volume sellers, catering to the younger, money-strapped demo seeking that value subcompact. The 2011 Fiesta is that, and much more.

Powered by a 1.6-litre DOHC I-4 engine producing 120-hp and 112 ft-lbs of torque, the Fiesta is fun and nimble yet incredibly fuel efficient, offering a best-in-class 4.9-litre/100km on the highway. In the city, the Fiesta handles brilliantly, negotiating tight turns and narrow roadways with ease. Specially tuned front struts, bushings, dampers, stabilizer bars and a rear twist-beam axle give the Fiesta that spirited, sporty edge; something I'm sure Europeans certainly valued. Equally as confident on the highway, the Fiesta handles great on the highway, a pleasant surprise in a b-segment car (I had the Fiesta for a few days during the AJAC TestFest few weeks back, driving up and down the QEW from Toronto to Niagara-On-The-Lake and back; the Fiesta felt great at high speeds with enough high-end torque when needed). A six-speed manual transmission comes standard with an optional industry-exclusive PowerShift six-speed auto that combines responsiveness and fuel efficiency found with a manual tranny with the benefits of the automatic, including a dual dry-clutch setup.

Perhaps we have the Europeans to thanks, but Ford has taken the innocuous subcompact car and made it sexy, realizing that 'small' need not equate to 'bubbly,' that often includes cheesy styling cues that no young hipster would dare drive. Where other subcompacts like the Toyota Yaris and Nissan Versa totally missed the styling mark, Ford has designed a progressive, sporty ride in the 2011 Fiesta. Muscular, sculpted front fenders and sleek elongated headlamps, for instance, are two things on the Fiesta you probably wouldn't expect on a b-class car. Add to this, nine colour options for added individuality (my Fiesta came in Lime Squeeze...a vibrant colour that looks much cooler in person than it sounds). Every angle of the Fiesta looks hot, particularly the hatchback. Compared to it's competitors, with exception to maybe the all-new Mazda2 with which it shares the same platform, the 2011 Fiesta is by far the best looking.

The cabin is just as bold, with surprisingly ample space, especially head room. The North American Fiesta finds bucket seats up front with 60/40 split second row seats allowing even more space. While the entire front dash is progressively styled, it's not gaudy or over-the-top. Everything is well-balanced and easy to reach and use. The centre stack setup looks sharp, is well laid out, and the abundant radio memory buttons are a welcome feature. My SES Fiesta came equipped with the optional class exclusive 4-inch LCD multifunction display placed up and centre, providing audio system data, vehicle settings, and of course, Ford SYNC info, to name a few. You can also scroll through seven different interior 'mood' lights, subtly lighting up areas including the cup holders, above the glove compartment, and floor mat area...a small little thing thats actually pretty cool.

For more info on the 2011 Ford Fiesta, visit HERE.

Licensed Shots

Eating lunch at a cafe in Yorkville Toronto, I came across one of my shots in The Globe & Mail's GlobeDrive section; a 2011 Lexus IS 250c I shot awhile back (centre pic). My work gets licensed to the car companies, so these shots often pop up all over the place, unbeknownst to me where, when, and how. From dealership posters to national ads, I stumble across this more frequently as of late. Just one of those cool little, narcissistic things that can make your day.

Tested > 2010 Chevy Camaro RS

2010 Chevy Camaro RS

Review & Snaps: Amee Reehal ©

Arguably the sickest, best-styled rendition amongst the recent wave of throwback muscle cars introduced by American automakers, is the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. While the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger are equally as daring, and without any bias or at risk of drawing parallels to the originals released back in the 60s as many current die-hard enthusiasts rightfully have been doing, as far as curb appeal goes, this average dude finds the Camaro unquestionably the baddest and most fearless. And starting at only $26,995 Cdn MSRP, you'd be hard pressed to find a vehicle that can make such an impact at this price-point; turning Minivan-Dads into temporary rockstars.

My tester is the 2010 Chevy Camaro RS (1LT) starting at $28,065 Cdn MSRP; the second offering in a stable of five trims available. Earlier this year, GM invited me to Whistler, BC for a few days during their Chevy sponsorship at the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival, where I had the opportunity, along with fellow journalist Russell Purcell from Vancouver, to rip around the post-Olympic ski resort in a yellow 2010 Camaro SS--the cream of the crop, V8 behemoth that proved to be incredibly fun to drive, both on the highway and through the twisty village roadways. Though not quite the ominous SS, this RS is equally as stunning and the likely the front runner in sales, rolling off the dealer lots.

Powered by a 3.6-litre DOHC V6 engine, the RS puts down 304-hp and 273 lb-ft of torque; just enough RWD power, as I realized, to sustain a joyous grin. A 6-speed manual transmission comes standard, and for an extra $1435 as in tester, add the 6-speed automatic tranny with steering wheel mounted tapshift shifters for a bit more control. Other notable standards on the RS includes a sport suspension, front multi-link strut suspension with coil springs, and dual exhaust with polished stainless steel exhaust tips, to name a few.

Aggressively chiseled from front to back, the Camaro RS looks absolutely menacing just sitting there. And the longer I gawked at it, the more I realized how incredibly dissimilar this 5th-generation Camaro is from the previous version as recent as 2002 when production on the Camaro ended (crazy to think it's only been eight years). Without question, the new Camaro is a true throwback in terms of exterior styling to the original introduced in the late 60s…not the IROC-Z in the 80s, nor the convertible in the 90s. Just a modern version of the original, the way it should be! Standard features include body coloured door handles and rocker mouldings; solar ray glass; fog lamps; halogen headlamps with auto on/off control, to name a few. 18-inch painted aluminum wheels are standard, but opt for the Rally Sport Package upgrade at $1995 as in my tester, adding 20" x 8" front and 20" x 9" rear flangeless painted aluminum wheels with a midnight silver finish wrapped in performance BSW tires; body coloured roof ditch moulding; a rear spoiler; and HID headlamps and unique taillights.

Again, I'm not a Camaro-aficionado but a quick look inside the cabin and it's evident Chevy retained some prominent styling attributes from the earliest version including the larger old-school analog styled, recessed gauges. Front bucket seats, cloth seat trim, a driver 6-way power seat and passenger 2-way manual adjuster/power recline are all standards in the RS. So is a long list of others including the driver information centre; remote keyless entry; two auxiliary power outlets in centre console; folding rear seat back with trunk pass through; outside temperature display, among others. This RS came equipped with the Convenience & Connectivity Package at $1050, adding a cargo convenience net; the leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel with audio controls; leather wrapped shifter knob; Bluetooth; wireless PDIM and USB port; and rear ultrasonic park assist.

Even with $5775 in options (frankly, not a huge premium considering all you get…bigger rims, enhanced exterior styling, upgraded cabin), this Camaro RS rings in at only $33,840 before taxes/fees. For a sports car with distinct styling, huge impact, and nostalgic flair hovering around the 30K price point, the 2010 Chevy Camaro RS can't be beat.

For more info on the 2010 Camaro, visit here.

Tested > 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster

Review & Snaps: Amee Reehal ©

Within the realm of sports coupes, Nissan's Z-car is arguably one of the most iconic brands. From the inaugural Datsun 240Z introduced in1969, to the prolific and timeless 300ZX in the mid-90s, to the wildly successful 350Z released in 2004, the Z-car spans 40 years of rich history, going down in history as the best-selling sports car series of all time (and as a Nissan fan myself, frankly, I'd love to get my hands on an old Datsun or 300ZX). The latest rendition is the 370Z, the sixth-generation Z-car released for the 2009 year; essentially, an updated version of its 350Z counterpart.

Late last summer, Nissan introduced the 2010 370Z Roadster, a convertible version of the coupe starting at $48,498 Cdn MSRP. Powered by a 3.7-litre, 24-valve DOHC V6, this rocket puts down 332-hp at 7000-rpm and 270-lb ft of torque. A 7-speed automatic tranny is standard, so are the paddle shifters. Downshift rev-matching, a multilink suspension both front and rear, 4-wheel power disc brakes, and a vehicle dynamic control system are also all standard.

The exterior styling is aggressive yet sleek with styling cues, particularly the hardtop/non-Roadster version, reminiscent of the 1969 240Z, at least in my eyes. From certain angles, looks like a bit of a throwback to the original. Standard features include the boomerang-style bi-functional xenon headlamps, heated power outside mirrors, cloth power folding roof in black, and a fixed glass wind deflector. This press 370Z model came with the $4000 Sport Package upgrade adding 19-inch Rays super-lightweight alloy rims wrapped in 245/40R19 rubber up front and 275/35/R19 in the rear, compared to the standard P225/50R18 front, P245/45/R18 rear setup. This package also ups the stopping assembly with huge 14-inch discs up front and 13-inch in the rear.

Inside, the cabin is totally stunning; undeniably sporty yet super refined. The Navigation Package upgrade on this Roadster will only cost you an extra $2500, unlike the most manufacturers often charging nearing double. This option finds the Nissan Navigation System, a 9.3GB music hard drive and USB, integrated interface for iPod, auxiliary audio/video input jacks, and a single in-dash CD slot. Frankly, sticking to the standard attire is suffice considering it includes the essentials like an 8-speaker audio Bose system, XM satellite radio, a bluetooth hands-free phone system, and an AM/FM with 6-CD in-dash changer, to name just a few.

Leaving the top up would be a shame. During my week with the 370Z, the days were warm and the evenings cool. Fortunately, this Roadster comes equipped (standard!) with heated and cooled seats, essentially pushing air through the perforated seats in the seatbacks and bottom cushions keeping your ass toasty at night and cool in the heat. The leather wrapped steering wheel, 8-way driver/4-way passenger seats, 3-bay centre gauges including trip computer, and leather/synthetic suede sport seats are all included.

The final price for this 370Z, with the $6500 in options, comes to $54,998 Cdn MSRP before taxes/fees.

For more info on the 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster, please visit HERE

The ‘Not-a-Slideshow’ on Animoto

I recently came across Animoto, a service that effortlessly fuses your images, music, and video clips into these cool little productions the company states are "the end of slideshows." Thirty-second clips are free; unbranded, unlimited commercial licensed plans are $249/year. For more info, check out Animoto. I gave it a quick try, here's a little 'non-slideshow' I slapped together including recent client/personal auto lifestyle shoots:

video clip here

Published > couple features

A couple features I shot for the Oct.2010 issues of Inside Motorcycles and Motorcycle Mojo. Both vintage bike stories written by Greg Williams, featuring an Enduro-style 1972 Triumph T100C for IM magazine, and a cool feature on the evolution of the Honda CB750 Four, a machine that single-handedly changed the face of motorcycling. Definitely pickup a copy and check out the stories if you're into bikes!

Printing: Incommunicado-style

Earlier this year, we decided to invest in a proper printer--the Epson Stylus Pro 3880. While printing at the lab was going fine with decent results, the whole process of burning discs, FTP'ing images, dropping off, picking up, waiting around for re-dos, dealing with high turnover staff, etc., etc. became taxing. Plus, with more travel prints on the horizon, the choice for a little home setup became clear.

Speaking for myself, the printer learning curve is a bit steep and something I fortunately conquered (kind of) many years ago. But once the various printer profiles start making sense, monitor-printer are finally calibrated, and you've burnt through two dozen sheets of 'super-high-ultra-gloss' paper, the process of solitary printing is quite gratifying.. And tonight, I finally got around to some prints I promised a couple clients and friends, and wished to share a bit of it here.

Signing prints may seem a little narcissistic. Frankly, it took me awhile until I got totally comfortable with the idea, and even longer to nail it down to these oil-based pencils pictured above to sign with. But after chatting with my framer and the good folks at the art store (Mona Lisa on 17th Ave, Calgary), I realized its significance to a finished piece of art and the value clients really do see in it, particularly when printing fine art prints as I've recently began doing.

Also pictured above, backing boards and clear plastic bags housing 8"x10" prints we plan on selling on our travel art website, shortly.

Below, a group of mostly 8"x10" sized prints with white border. Max size I'll do at home is 13"x19" on Ilford Galerie-Gold Fibre Silk paper...super expensive, super great:

Tested > 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo

Review & Snaps: Amee Reehal ©

Juggling a 500-hp coupe – one of the world’s fastest production cars – the same week as the (unexpectedly early) birth of my first kid, proved to be not so daunting after all. Not that I really expected it to be, frankly, considering there were no car seats involved. Nor am I drawing parallels between the miracle of life and a raging, 2-door diabolical German freak of nature. I’m just saying, becoming a dad and ripping around in a 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo the same week is pretty f**king badass. Buying diapers has never been so fun.

Ah, the 911 Turbo. Where does one even begin with such a timeless, near flawless piece of debauchery? Let's start with performance, where 500-hp and 480 lb-ft of torque will slap you silly via a 3.8-litre twin-supercharged flat-six topping out at 312 kph track speed. The Sport Chrono Package with dynamic engine mount system includes a bundle of goodies like Launch Control, propelling this beast 0-100 km in just 3.4-seconds compared to 3.7-seconds otherwise. A 6-speed manual tranny is standard, but opt for the optional $6200 PDK 7-speed, as in this tester, and you'll experience the smoothest, most effortless, and unobtrusive power flow gear shifts imaginable using either the wheel mounted paddle shifters (extra $670 for the gearshift paddles, as in tester) or PDK Gear Selector (additional $1470 upgrade, also in tester) allowing super-quick, short-throw gear shifts up/down with the gear lever minus a foot clutch pedal.

I think it's important to note that, when combined with the PDK system, the 3-spoke steering wheel comes with gearshift switches standard on all 911 Turbo models. Whereas the gearshift paddles are the option. In the past, I've always opted for the gear selector as nearly all press cars came equipped the these shifter switches I wasn't fond of--basically, buttons nestled within the wheel; press with thumb to shift up, pull with index finger to shift down. Just didn't feel right. Alas, proper motorsport-style paddles on this 911 and life is good.

How does the 911 Turbo handle? Close your eyes and imagine this thing with a $12,050 ceramic composite brake upgrade with 380mm ceramic discs up front and 350mm in rear, and you'll find the answer (then open your eyes and realize I just said "$12,050 brake upgrade" and that this wasn't really make-believe time). Combined with an AWD system with map controlled PTM, rolling on 235/35ZR19 fronts and 305/30ZR19 rears, this 911 doesn't discriminate against the windy twisty roadways. It treats all pavement equally at nearly all speeds, no mater what size or shape. And of course there's a slew of other traction control attributes found inside, including the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM).

The interior of the 911 Turbo encompasses all that is stylish, ergonomic, comfortable, and sporty. Straightforward and sexy, no gimmicks found here. Full leather interior is standard; $590 extra for the Special Leather Cocoa, as seen here. Also standard, power tilt/sliding sunroof; Bi-Xenon headlamps with leveling and cleaning system; Porsche Communication System (PCS) with Navigation and touchscreen (yep, standard); MP3 equipped, CD player with Bose system; Full climate control; amoung others. Options found in this 911's cabin include Adaptive Sport Seats at $1560, providing enhanced support features over the standard Comfort Seats; $950 for Bluetooth phone interface (awesome); $600 for Universal audio interface (expensive, not awesome, should be standard); and colour matched floor mats for $210.

The sort of paradox, and pure brilliance, on the part of Porsche is their ability and desire to produce high-powered super sports cars while striving to improve efficiencies. If churning out 500-hp production cars wasn't enough, these tenacious Germans find ways to do so in the most streamlined, productive ways possible. Brilliant. And frankly, when one is willing to pay a starting price of $165,300 Cdn MSRP for this 2010 911 Turbo, its precisely these efficiencies in engineering one is paying for. Not necessarily the obvious or the tangibles found within the cabin, for instance, but imperceptible stuff like the 911's 500-hp engine made of alloy, reducing weight, thus fuel consumption.

Many stepped inside this 2010 911 Turbo (or any high performance coupe, for that matter) with a final price of $191,400 Cdn with all options before taxes/fees, and hastily asked “how much is this?” followed by “wow, is it worth it?” Absolutely. It’s one of those things; Porsche-loyalists aside, you’ve just got to experience it to really understand the value; to feel the engineering as you push the throttle; when you dive into tight turns at not-so-slow speeds; when you push that magical ‘Sport Plus’ button that actually, honestly does do something. Realizing value need not always equate to cosmetics or the obvious, but to dig deep and recognize that nearly 200K is in fact a reasonable price point for one of the most prolific sports coupes around. Personally, I’d take a 911 Turbo over a flashy Lambo Gallardo anyday.

…on that note, time for another diaper run.

For more info on the 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo, visit HERE.

Tested > 2010 Cadillac SRX

2010 Cadillac SRX AWD 4dr 2.8T Performance

Review & Snaps: Amee Reehal

Arguably, one of the hottest CUVs on the market (going all Geek-to-Chic from last year’s version, Maury Povich styles), the 2010 Cadillac SRX will now certainly turn some heads, for all the right reasons. Renowned for their grandiose, full-size Escalade SUV, Cadillac’s SRX is the better option for those families looking for something a little more (ok, a lot more) scaled down with better fuel economy without compromising luxury and sufficient cargo. While the CTS wagon is certainly a compelling option, the SRX plays in a luxury segment that’s hitting home with most families these days.

This AWD turbo version starts at $55,870 Cdn MSRP and comes equipped with a decent list of standards all around. Add the two options you’ll likely want (as equipped on this tester), and the price jumps significantly to $62,445—including 20”x8” tech aluminum wheels over the standard painted cast aluminum version of the same size and a Navigation/Audio upgrade, both at $1190 and $5285, respectively. But you’ve got choices, nine SRX versions to choose from, to be exact, including the entry-level FWD 4-door model starting at $41,575 to the AWD 4-door 2.8T Premium at $62,770. Our SRX, the second highest of the bunch, is the AWD 4-door 2.8T Performance.

Fortunately, this second-coming of the 2010 SRX went under the knife, resulting in a bolder, sexier, much more confident styled version than the outgoing 2009 SRX, that was, frankly, an ambiguous half-wagon, half-truck, part hearse looking thing with a severe identity crises. With a completely restyled backend and retaining Cadillac’s iconic styling cues, our new Imperial Blue Metallic SRX is all grown-up sporting long, sleek lines with sharp cut edges from front to the dual chromed exhaust tipped back. The ultra-view double-sized power tilt/sliding glass sunroof with express open power sunshade is standard. Also standard, body-coloured power folding heated mirrors, Solar-Ray tinted glass with privacy tint on rear doors, and stunning LED tail lamps.

Exterior styling flows to the spacious cabin that finds heated leather seating surfaces; 8-way power driver and 6-way power passenger seats; automatic dual-zone climate control AC with air filtration and rear console vents; four auxiliary power outlets; auto-dimming rearview mirror with OnStar; and remote keyless entry with illuminated entry/exit lights, all standard in a long list of inclusions. No-charge entertainment includes Bluetooth for phone and voice recognition; USB port; roof-mounted hexband antenna; and CD/MP3 stereo mated to a 8-speaker premium Bose system. If luxury is really your thing, you’ll definitely look to upgrade to the HDD-based navigation system with pop-up nav screen, CD/DVD/MP3 stereo with a 10-speaker 5.1 surround setup. This’ll add nearly $5300 to the bottom line, but includes a plethora unmentioned upgrades (rear view camera, rear seat entertainment with screens, etc.) you’re SRX probably couldn’t live without.

The 2.8-litre SFI turbocharged V6 produces 300-hp—an optional engine on all AWD trims, with a 3.0-litre VVT direct injection V6 engine standard. The AWD finds a 6-speed auto transmission including driver shift control, down grade detection, and electronic limited slip differential. The sporty styling is matched by a sport-tuned suspension with continuous variable real time suspension damping. Standard safety features are plentiful, including traction control system, StabilTrak stability control system, trailer sway control, and OnStar in-vehicle assistance with a one-year service included, to name just a few.

For more info on the 2010 Cadillac SRX, please visit HERE

Tested > 2011 Ford F-350 SuperDuty 6.7L V8 Diesel

2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty 6.7L V8 Diesel

Review & Snaps: Amee Reehal©

Ford recently has a knack of being an industry-first, or a best-in-class. Whether they develop ways to increase performance while improving efficiencies, or creating entirely new segments, the automaker continues to the pave the way. And lately, it seems that nearly everything Ford is releasing involve new and innovative technologies and design (recently receiving high marks in a customer satisfaction index of U.S. vehicle buyers founded by the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, is saying something!).

Add to this list of growing vehicles, the all-new 2011 Ford F-350 Super Duty Diesel, powered by an all-new 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel engine producing 390-hp and a best-in-class 735 lb-ft of torque. All this of course, while increasing fuel economy. Nearly everything in the Super Duty lineup ups the ante within the heavy-duty truck segment. But perhaps nothing more significant than the Ford-engineered, tested, and manufactured Power Stroke diesel powerplant. (If you’re a fan of the gas-powered offering, Ford’s all-new 6.2-litre V8 gas engine delivers 385-hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. That’s right, with better fuel economy; 15% better, to be exact.)

As stated by Derrick Kuzak, group VP of Global Product Development: “This all-new diesel engine has been so extensively tested both in the lab and in the real world that we’re confident we’re giving our customers the most reliable and productive powertrain available today. Our Super Duty customers demand reliability and durability in their trucks so they can deliver the best results for their business and their customers. That’s exactly what this engine delivers.”

Some of the benefits this new 6.7-litre V8 diesel offers includes a North American first use of a compacted graphite iron engine block to meet the demands of higher torque and horsepower while reducing weight and increasing the engine block’s strength. Overall exhaust volume is also reduced with better throttle response via a unique inboard exhaust/outboard intake system. The new smaller, single turbocharger replaces the larger twin-turbocharger without compromising performance. The entire design of this new engine results in a smarter, more feasible layout allowing service people to access components much quicker, hence, reducing downtime in the shop and ultimately making happier customers.

Conventional towing is rated at 16,000-lbs, and 5th wheel towing at 24,400-lbs, with payload capability at 6521-lbs. The Super Duty’s Trailer Sway Control is standard, a system that detects trailer sway and quickly responds by intuitive braking, retaining control of both the truck and trailer. The factory-installed 5th wheel/gooseneck trailer tow prep package offers the strength of an under-the-bed crossmember while maintaining a flat cargo bed floor.

While the all-new powerplant offers the reliability and strength expected from uncompromising customers, the interior needs to be just as efficient. Inside this Lariat version of my F-350 tester, the cabin is unquestionably roomy, but goes even further with redesigned seats with ‘active comfort’ contours. Smart storage solutions provide 68-litres of lockable space throughout, including new lockable under-seat storage with removable partition and a 12-volt. Also, the most power access available in the class with up to six locations. This truck came with the $350 optional Rapid-Heat Supplemental cab heater that raises the cabin temperature—a small investment with huge impact on those cold days. The centre console is absolutely enormous, but with good reason, providing 70 configuration options to suit your needs.

Having tested many Ford products, their entire media/audio/Nav setup including Sync, is absolutely awesome, and this F-350 is no exception. You may be thinking, ‘big-truck, big-power, typically-bland-truck interior.’ Not even close with the Super Duty. At the heart of it all is an available internet-capable in-dash computer with Garmin nav system, hands-free calling, and touch screen with wireless keyboard—essentially, providing workers with a cutting-edge mobile office. The in-dash info screen located between two gauges is brilliant, with a futuristic looking interface (yet not cheesy) that is both smart and easy to use.

This 2011 F-350 crew cab starts at $57,899 CAD MSRP. With all options and before taxes/charges, the price for this F-350 comes to $75,409; the most notable upgrade being the $9,950 6.7-litre V8 diesel powerplant. Other options on this particular tester include a Fx4 off-road package ($450); premium cast aluminum 20-inch wheels ($1390), and the navigation system with satellite radio jack ($3020), to name a few.

Overall, the all-new Ford F-350 6.7-litre V8 Diesel Super Duty is remarkable. Certainly, beyond my scope of what a ‘working man’s’ truck is and should be. But realizing the capabilities of this Super Duty, the level of reliability and performance, not to mention living in truck-country Alberta with many truck-owner friends with all their towing/payload needs, I can appreciate all the Super Duty has to offer.

For more info on the all-new 2011 F-350 Super Duty, visit HERE

Published > Widebody WrX spread

Another feature in UK's best-selling tuner mag Banzai, June2010 issue. A widebody WRX I shot in BC back in fall; also ran in Modified Magazine for their cover story earlier this year. Compared to other tuner mags out there, both Banzai and Modified kill it when it comes to sensible, great-looking layout design, utililizing the best shots....as a photographer, this is all you can really ask for. For instance, this lead-in shot above for The Call of the Wild double-pg spread, they took advantage of this full-frame shot the way it was intended.

This shot made the books double-pg poster inside:

Spread:

Tested > 2010 Porsche Panamera S

2010 Porsche Panamera S

story & snaps: Amee Reehal

Perhaps not as prolific as the recently tested, top-of-the-line Panamera Turbo, the 2010 Panamera S is no slouch. With a 4.8-litre V8 producing 400-hp of naturally-aspirated goodness and coming in at nearly 40k less than the Turbo ($155,000CAD Turbo vs $115,100CAD for the S), this Panamera S, one of three V8 versions available, is arguably the way to go. Like most things in life, there are needs and wants…or in the case of the V8 flavoured Porsche Panamera, wants and want-mores.

Porsche’s first 4-door saloon to ever hit the masses, the Panamera is available in three V8 trims, all sharing the same 4.8-litre V8 engine: the Panamera S, the Panamera 4S (AWD version), and the Panamera Turbo (AWD turbo version). But if your wants are a little more modest, Porsche just recently unveiled two new V6 models: the Panamera and the Panamera 4 (AWD). Both with a newly developed 3.6-litre engine putting down 300-hp.

Late July, the 25,000th Panamera rolled off the Leipzig factory:

Oddly enough, I personally had a more difficult time handing over the keys to this S than with the Turbo. Arriving in black-on-black (Espresso Natural leather, to be exact), all stealthed-out, this particular Panamera suited me just fine. And the good people at Porsche Canada (Tony Morris) allowed me to keep the car for a double extra days, and I savored every extra moment—arriving to soccer a little early, hitting the driving range a couple extra times, car pooling to dinner Saturday night, grabbing coffee at the third nearest Starbucks (which isn’t all that far, frankly); you know, just knocking off those errands from that weathered To Do list your wife handed over a year ago (fix toilets – done). Whereas the previously tested Turbo in Yachting Blue Metallic and two-tone cream leather interior seemed to be more on the ‘executive’ side (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), this blacked-out, non-turbo-just-as-awesome version seemed a bit more raw, a little more modest, if you will; encompassing all the fine German engineering you’d expect from Porsche (unreal handling, consistent power, etc) but without some of the frills (i.e. the $3110 Sport Chrono Pkg in the Turbo).

Starting at $115,100CAD, this Panamera S (before taxes/charges) comes in at $137,635CAD with all options, including: the Espresso Leather interior ($7040); heated steering wheel (290); 20-inch RS Spyder Design rims (4250); Alcantara Roofliner (2720); Bluetooth interface (950); BOSE audio system (1970); XM Satellite Radio (1030); upgraded floor mats (210); Walnut interior pkg (1360); and the Universal Audio Interface (600).

For a further read on the new Porsche Panamera, please check out my Panamera Turbo review HERE.

For more info on the Panamera, check out the manufacturer’s website HERE.

2011 Chevy Silverado HD & GMC Sierra HD Launch

Couple weeks ago, GM Canada introduced their 2011 Chevy Silverado HD and 2011 GMC Sierra HD to the media here in Alberta. The launch included head-to-head, tractor pulling drag races on an isolated airstrip just south of Calgary, allowing media and dealer reps the chance to get behind the wheel for a few pulls  and see the GM trucks' full potential against the competition.

We helped cover the event providing GM with media content, both stills and video, including shots of the event and product in action, along with unedited b-roll footage. We had two photographers and one videographer on this job. Here are some of the stills:

Product:

Event:

Tested > 2010 Toyota Venza V6 AWD

2010 Toyota Venza V6 AWD

Review: Amee Reehal; Photo: Toyota

The 2010 Venza is Toyota’s latest CUV offering—a stylish, roomy family-mover built on the proven Camry platform. Available in 4 versions, the Venza lineup begins with two 2.7-litre 4-cylinder models, in either FWD or AWD. Two additional versions include a hefty 3.5-litre V6, again in either FWD or AWD. My tester was the best of the bunch: the V6 AWD starting at $32,100. Including the optional $5,910 Touring Package, the final price on this Venza (before taxes/charges) rings in at $38,010.

Even at a $29,310 CAD MSRP for the entry-level Venza, the standard inclusions are impressive. Some standards found on all Venzas include a 6-speed auto transmission; stability control features such as the Advanced Traction Control System andHill-start Assist Control; electric power steering; and a fairly comprehensive climate control setup that includes A/C, dual zone auto climate control, a dust/pollen/deodorizing air filter, and rear seat heater ducts, to name a few.

Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the exterior styling (still not sold on the bulbous front grill). But the wagon-like, aggressive yet streamlined look grew on me quick. As with nearly all crossovers on the market, exterior design is often as ambiguous as the CUV segment itself, thus comparing the looks from one to the next is almost irrelevant. The Venza, however, does render that true crossover appeal—not quite a wagon nor minivan, certainly not a sedan, and nowhere near a full-sized SUV, the Venza looks like a sophisticated family ride at a reasonable price-point.

Adding a more sporty look, only to the V6 trims, are dual exhaust and huge 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in P245/50R20 tires (19-inch found on the non-V6s). The Touring Package certainly adds to this CUV’s curb appeal, including a power rear door with jam protection; a backup camera; and panoramic glass roof; front door handle touch sensors lock/unlock feature; and chrome-accented door handles.

The cabin feels large and roomy, both in the front and for rear passengers. Overall styling, including the centre console, is kept fairly basic, appealing to a broader market perhaps. A 6-speaker CD/radio audio system with Bluetooth, integrated XM Satellite Radio, a roof mounted antenna, and USB input for MP3 is standard on all Venza’s…a welcome inclusion for the long-haul family vacations at no extra expense to the folks. Other standards found on all four versions, include 8-way power adjustable driver seat and power lumbar support; 3.5-inch LCD display; carbon fiber-style interior trim; and a 3-spoke steering wheel with audio controls, to name a few. The Touring Package adds a 4-way power adjustable passenger seat with lumbar support; leather seat surfaces; heated front seats; a sport push button start with a smart key system; the TFT customizable multi-info display; satin mahogany woodgrain-style interior trim; leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; synthetic leather door trim, plus a bunch of others.

At under 30k, the Toyota Venza is a great choice for any family. While the nearly 6k Touring Package will certainly add to the bottom line, the standards alone make this an affordable choice with little to no compromise in cargo, safety, performance, and comfort.

For more info on the 2010 Toyota Venza, visit HERE.

Published > Custom V-Rod feature

First time contributing to Motorcycle Mojo magazine, one of Canada's leading motorcycles mags, here's a cool feature running in the current Aug/Sept2010 issue showcasing two very dissimilar yet totally badass custom Harley V-Rod bikes.

As usual, Greg Williams manning the words; yours truly working the shots.