Gabriel Nivera

Pictures & Conversations

A collection of images and the stories behind their creation.



I love going fast and will take every opportunity to go fast when possible.  Car, boat, bike, plane, if it moves, I want to go fast in it.  Now if you present me with a chance to go fast and take pictures at the same time...well then I am all in!  Now most of the time when working with automotive clients we get a list of pre-approved angles that have been determined to make the vehicle look its best and "on-brand".  This compilation of guidelines, angles, perspectives, crops has been put together by designers, product managers, executives, art directors to make sure the product always looks its best and shows off all the brand new features and doo-dads, and rightfully so.  However that process is very intense, detail oriented, and quite laborious. Having to check what we are capturing against mock ups and references; doing our best to  match it it to a T vs the need to move on and capture the amount of images prescribed is a constant struggle.  It's amazing how much time "one simple shot" can take.  This time I had free reign to do as I pleased, so I decided to do the total opposite and just wing it.

My request to Runi and Olli was simple - "let's meet up in the morning and let's ride a really fun route, make sure it has got tons of twists and turns, a bunch of ascents and descents, and most importantly a section you can go flat out and keep the throttle open at full power."  With that in mind we set off.  We mapped out a 60 km loop from the village of Eidi through the mountain passes of Slættaratindur - which would provide the twists & turns as well as the elevation gain, and finally the coastal road which would provide the straightaway.  Now - under normal circumstances we would apply for permits, get police to close down the roads, get a chase vehicle, set up comms between riders and myself, and mount a fancy stabilization rig for the camera - but we had none of that.  I had a rental hatchback (with fold flat seats), a camera,a driver, a navigator, 2 riders, and their sport bikes.  We devised a simple system of hand signals to help me position the guys as we drove along.  Peter would drive at about 100-120 km/h (60-75 mph, cornering at around 90 km/h (55 mph) - mind you we left the rear hatch and this was acting like a giant wing.  Adrian would watch the road and yell out the direction of the upcoming turns to me and warn of oncoming traffic so I could signal the guys where to be in my frame.  All the while, half my body is in the car (laying prone), and the other half was anywhere from 1 foot to 3 feet above the tarmac which was whizzing by an an incredible rate of speed.

We passed a few sheep who stared at us blankly as we rushed by and we garnered a few bemused looks from fellow motorists, but otherwise the roads were completely ours to do as we pleased.  Which meant burnt-outs and wheelies of course.   At one point the guys had gotten their bikes so close to the car, I was able to reach out and touch the front fenders of their bikes; their wheels were almost kissing the bumper.  It wasn't too long until I started to start to feel the effects of motion sickness.  Looking through the viewfinder as it bounced around, scenery going by in the wrong direction, and being tossed from side to side in the boot of a car was not comfortable at all.  At one point had to ask the guys to take a bit of a break so I could regain my computer and get my bearings.  Thankfully - that was as dramatic a moment we would have that day.  Oh and I managed to photograph a couple sweet frames that totally capture just how fun it is to ride a motorcycle down those incredible roads.  It was a good day!