Capturing a supercar road trip on the Galaxy S9 Plus
First brutal super cars and slick sexy super phones.
I had the chance to bring the two together in on epic [UNKNOWN], and God, it was awesome.
The journey would take me 1500 kilometres through Switzerland, Germany and France before heading back to London.
The car, a 2017 McLaren 570GT.
A supercar with killer good looks and a V8 engine that will propel it from 0 to 60 miles an hour in a lightning fast 3.4 seconds.
My goal was to see how well the new Samsung Galaxy S9+ could capture the exhilaration and the exhaustion of a once in a lifetime trip.
Could the phone take the place of my trusted DSLR and shoot a magazine style sports car photo spread?
What follows is my attempt to do just that.
My trip started bright and early in Geneva, a picture of the car from the heart of the city at 7 AM And after getting out of town, I quickly find a lay by to pull over and set up the phone.
To help me film the trip in the S9, I brought a compact Manfrotto tripod with a smartphone clip.
The challenge However, it was framing the shot properly.
While you get a large view of the scene when you're in photo mode, as soon as you hit the video record button that view zooms in dramatically.
It makes it impossible to accurately frame your video before you start recording.
As a result, all of my video clips needed trimming at the beginning to cut out the time I spend reframing the shot.
You can see then I've got the camera set up.
I basically need to set up recording at this lay by and then drive for a while to find somewhere to press stop which means one very long video file but also means I get to video me videoing me.
Which might be a bit meta.
The next problem occurred when I put my foot to the floor to accelerate onto the motorway.
The sheer force of that massive V8 engine of the McLaren, caused the little tripod to immediately topple over.
I had to keep driving for 20 minutes until I could safely pull over and reset the camera.
To avoid the same happening again, I move the phone to my full sized [UNKNOWN] tripod.
And by extending its legs to wedge in the passenger foot well in the passenger's seat, there was no room for it to wobble over while driving.
From there it was simply a case of settling down into the car and enjoying the journey.
Taking the faster motorways I was able to relish the thrill of the car as I cut my way around multiple stunning snow-capped mountains.
Eventually I pulled off the motorway and started to climb higher into the Alps.
It was here that the car really came into its own, gripping tightly as I rounded an endless string of hairpin bends, shooting forward like a bullet while I stamped on the accelerator when the road straightened out.
With the windows open, the roar of that huge engine sounded amazing, echoing off the sheer rock faces.
I kept a vague eye on the phone, pulling over every so often to restart recordings.
I'm shooting at 1080P resolution rather than 4K, and with 128 gig of storage on the phone, I wasn't at all nervous about running out of space.
I carried on following the Mansion Road, winding higher and higher Snow just building up alarmingly on both sides.
While the [UNKNOWN] GT had all weather tires and traction control, it didn't stop the rear wheels sliding out of many of the corners of the snow covered roads.
While power [UNKNOWN] around the snow covered Benz was immense fun, it all came to an abrupt halt when I found myself inadvertently queueing for a train.
So, interestingly I have.
Come up the top of this mountain and found I can go no further.
I have to get a train with the car, but this is a train that I think goes through the mountain because the pass over the top is closed because of the snow.
The problem I have is that I have no idea Where this train goes I wasn't expecting to need to take it and first ticket wasn't clear to where I actually end up certainly for now it looks like I am going out a train in the car and it would take me.
This train trip started [UNKNOWN].
The rickety old train was only marginally wider than the car and I thought it was towards the front of the queue, I was one of the first to drive on.
The car's parking sensors were bleeping in terror as I crawled down the carriages, the rough metal of the train barriers threatening to gouge great lines in the expensive paint work of the Maclaren.
But that unpleasantness was far from over.
The other thing I didn't realize is that the tunnel had no lighting throughout.
Well, the good news is that it's at least completely pitch dark.
So that's nice.
I have no idea where I'm going and can't see anything without my Iphone lights on.
Tried to do some filming of the [INAUDIBLE] but without the lights, there's just nothing.
Nothing at all.
That's as much light as there is, as you can see.
That's not very much.
I really think they could probably do with a few lights in here, just to make it less terrifying.
After what felt like two hours, it was more realistically 20 minutes.
I was back in daylight, and once the GPS caught up, I discovered I was at the Goppenstein Station.
That wasn't very fun, if I'm honest.
Speeding through the center of the mountain.
In all consuming pitch darkness.
The makings of a panic attack is there's no way out.
Can't even open my doors because I'm completely wedged in.
It wasn't exactly on my route, but I wasn't far off, and it didn't take long before I was at my first overnight stop in the Swiss town of [UNKNOWN].
It seems a great place to do my first photo shoot of the car.
And with about an hour of usable daylight left, I drove around to find the best location.
That's no easy task, not only do I need to find the spot that increase the beautiful mountains in the background but that location was also have a great looking area in the foreground for the [UNKNOWN] I think it's a cool [UNKNOWN] but more importantly [UNKNOWN] a real challenge [UNKNOWN] cuz it's got the very very brightest sky, we got the shadows and the landscape [UNKNOWN].
Now if the camera can captured this in one shot, then I'm gonna be pretty impressed.
As I was alone on the trip, there was no second drivers who could quickly move the car out of the way in an emergency.
I eventually found a good spot.
And over the next 20 minutes, I walked around the car looking for the best composition that really showed it off in the dramatic beauty of its surroundings.
I got down low for many shots, as this angle gives any car a powerful, menacing look, which works perfectly for a high performance car like the McClaren.
I shot in auto mode on the S9+, as it seemed to produce the best looking results.
I was really impressed with its ability to keep the bright blue sky under control, but still give plenty of detail in the darker areas of the scene.
Even looking at the images on the phone, I was impressed.
Back in my hotel, I wanted to shoot my room.
It is great to give some behind-the-scenes color on a trip like this.
Although the camera has a fairly wide-angle view, it wasn't wide enough to capture the whole room.
A neat trick, however, is to use the panorama mode and pan the phone around To capture the scene from one side to the other.
I put the phone back on my tripod in portrait orientation this time, providing a perfectly levelled pivot point that let me simply push the phone gently in a semi-circle to capture the shot.
Day two would take me from the Swiss mountains through the German black forest and onwards towards my next [UNKNOWN] stop in France.
I had over 800 kilometers to cover or about ten hours according to Google maps, which didn't leave me much time to stop and take photos.
So I was on the lookout for any locations that didn't require significant detours off my route.
I set the phone back up on the larger tri pod, trying various filming angles, to capture the amazing scenery as I drove through.
As well as a straight on view.
I tried sideways angles out of the passenger window and, using the second zoom lens, I filmed the wing mirror getting a great view of the mountains behind me as we steadily disappeared out of sight.
Many miles later my eye was caught by a roadside logging station.
I knew I had to pull up for some shots here.
The huge piles of immense tree trunks laid flat Provide a great opportunity for an interesting counter point, the ultimate non off road vehicle going off road.
The muted colors and subtle sunlight look great even on the phone screen, again I made sure to walk around leaving the car in to different angles and even opening the doors to try and find the best shot.
At one point, I even climbed high on to one of the stacks of logs to try for an overhead view.
A few tweaks and snaps later and I was really pleased with this series of images.
My next stop then was the Geroldsauer waterfall.
I didn't intentionally seek it out but I happened to see a sign on the roadside and simply had to take a look.
I parked up and started walking down the trail, and along the valley to my goal.
As I walked further and further, the light started to noticeably drop and I became concerned that I wouldn't be able to get there and back in time.
I had no phone signal, so I couldn't check how far the walk was or if it was even worth trying to make it.
I started jogging on the path to try and get there faster, and eventually came to the waterfall.
In all honestly, it was disappointing, not least because the main viewing spot had been roped off for safety reasons.
So I wasn't able to get the proper photo I wanted.
So back we go I suppose.
That was disappointing.
That's just one of the trials of trying to do landscape photography in an area that you're completely unfamiliar with.
I did at least find a smaller waterfall on my way back where I was able to snag a neat shot with the phone.
I crouched down low balancing on a couple of rocks to get the best angle for the phone.
Shooting in manual mode this time, I was able to use a slow shutter Speed in order to slightly blur the water, which really helps give a sense of motion.
Finally it wasn't the [INAUDIBLE] side waterfall but it was a cool alternative.
After my disappointing hike, I decided it was time for some fun, so I headed to the Audubon.
With no speed limits on many Germany's highways, that's where a [INAUDIBLE] car like the 570GT can really come alive.
We're over 200 [INAUDIBLE] it's kind of as fast as I want to go in this
The first leg of my last day took me through the Champagne region of France where I made straight for a boulangerie to buy some quiche and an apricot tart.
Well done, random patisserie in France.
It's just sad custard in a pastry case.
But it's good.
Yeah, this'll keep you going.
Bollocks to the music.
[SOUND] I've got my own soundtrack.
Sounds like that.
I visited this area before, so I knew just how stunningly beautiful it can be.
However, I hadn't visited in March, and the combination of dense black clouds and the driving rain Then the shooting conditions were terrible.
Worst still, arriving out of the summer season meant the lovely champagne houses I passed were all closed.
I did hope to find some sort of luxurious champagne mansion to use as as a background for the car, to provide a wonderful context for the area.
The nearest I could find in the pouring rain was just an out building.
It was perhaps better than nothing, but it wasn't the stunning vista or mansion I hoped to capture in what turned out to be my last photo location of the trip.
After cutting my losses in Champagne, I cranked up the music and headed directly for the Eurotunnel, stopping briefly at one of the larger wine warehouses in Calais, for a box of France's finest.
I boarded the Eurotunnel train, thankfully a much wider carriage than the Swiss mountain train, so no fears of ruining the sides of my car.
Popped on a podcast to keep me entertained while the train took me under the English Channel and back to England.
There's no question [UNKNOWN]
a lot of fun.
Driving in insanely fast [UNKNOWN] super car [UNKNOWN] and across the continent is just sort of dream trip I never imagined getting to do But the photography wasn't easy as I had hoped.
The Galaxy S9 Plus played it's part extremely well.
It's photos looked great with spot on exposures of light and balance.
Manual controls too helped me get more creative and the wired adventure mode helped capture as much light as possible without shooting in shady locations.
The sheer power of the processor meant the editing and snap seed every night was an absolute breeze.
The video quality looked mostly excellent as well, despite the frustrations in framing blind for the zoomed-in view.
The bigger problem for me was simply being alone.
Having to find a safe place to park the car each time I wanted to shoot meant I was extremely limited in the areas I can actually take the photos.
I could have got much more dynamic shots with someone else with me, and it would certainly have given me a bit more flexibility to stretch the phone's skills a bit.
It's definitely been a learning curve but despite that the phone has helped me take some badass shots of an incredible machine in a stunning location and really, that's all I wanted.
Our sheep friends are still here, hello sheep friends.