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Posted by Joseph Clement on 15 January, 2018

Introduction

It’s the start of a new year which means it’s time to set a few goals, start new hobbies, and explore some of the pastimes you already have in more depth. One of my main hobbies is car spotting, something I had no clue I would ever get into. I mean I’ve always liked cars but I didn’t know that one day I would be searching the streets of London for them.

I thought it would be helpful to anyone looking to get into car spotting if I share some of my experiences and explain how I first got into it. I hope it will serve as some kind of inspiration for you to get out there and give car spotting a try. I also want to talk about some of my goals for 2018 and how I aim to achieve them.

How I got into car spotting

I began car spotting back in August 2016. The first car I took a picture of was a Ferrari 458 coated in what looked like Giallo Modena yellow paint. The Italian beauty was so stunning I had to take a picture on my phone. I spotted the car whilst out for a walk in central London, it was parked on a Knightsbridge backstreet.

I started going for more walks in central London with the intention of stumbling upon another one of these exotic supercars, soon realising that Knightsbridge backstreets were a prime location. I was slowly becoming hooked on the thrill of spotting cars. Finding and taking as many pictures of rare cars as I could was my new goal.

Shortly after setting up an Instagram account dedicated to car photography I noticed that I was not alone. There were thousands of people all around the world who were also interested in spotting cars. Some had even made careers out of doing it, becoming extremely popular on various social media platforms.

When I was young I remember hearing about trainspotters and people who would go to airports to watch aeroplanes taking off for hours. At that time I didn’t quite understand it, but now I do. Each new spot is like getting a hit of dopamine, it feels good, it leaves you wanting more.

During the rest of 2016, I made regular trips into central London to spot cars, this continued into 2017 and I was starting to build up quite a nice collection of photos on my Instagram account. I was also starting to learn which London car spotting locations are best, planning routes that would allow me to visit each hotspot in just one outing.

Something else I learned is that car spotting is a lot harder during the winter months. In fact, the whole automotive scene goes a bit quiet during winter. Don’t get me wrong there are some gems waiting to be found, but your spotting success rate will definitely take a hit during the off-season.

In my opinion, the best time of year to spot cars in London is during summer. People generally tend to go outside a lot more when the sun is out. It’s an opportunity to take the car out of the garage, drop the top, and go for a cruise. Also, supercar owners from overseas often fly their vehicles over to London while on vacation. Some of the best cars I’ve spotted have foreign plates.

My car spotting goals for 2018

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, I have a feeling it is going to be a good year for car spotting. Although, my first few outings this year have been less than fruitful. I was only able to capture a few pictures of common cars, nothing exotic. Regardless, I am still excited about car spotting during 2018, especially when summer kicks in.

One of my personal goals for this year is to engage with the car spotting community a lot more. It would be great to meet up with some fellow London car spotters and go for an outing as a group. Meeting people who are passionate about the same things as you is always good fun, it’s something I didn’t do enough of last year.

Another thing I want to get better at is quickly finding out the locations of rare supercars with the intention of going to those locations and securing a shot. I know a lot of people use the #liveupload hashtag on Instagram to let people know that they just took a picture of a car in a certain location. After seeing this hashtag some car spotters will then try to travel to that location quickly in order to capture a picture of the car themselves.

I’m sure there are forums and Facebook groups out there that share information relating to supercar locations, I just need to find them and join. Or, I could just start a Facebook group for this purpose myself. Either way, my point is that I need to find a way to be more in tune with the community so that I can obtain better photographs and share useful information.

Lastly, I really want to do some car spotting abroad. The thought of going somewhere like Monaco to spot supercars gets me really excited. Also, attending some motor shows outside of the UK would be awesome. In fact, attending more motor shows and meetups full stop is definitely a goal for 2018.

A list of my car spotting goals:

  • Put more time into car spotting during the summer, rather than the winter months
  • Engage with the car spotting community a lot more
  • Meet other people who share my passion for supercars
  • Join more forums and Facebook groups that are related to car spotting
  • Start my own car spotting Facebook group
  • Do some overseas car spotting
  • Go to some motor shows outside of the UK.

Conclusion

Central London is a fantastic place to find exotic cars. If you’re considering getting into car spotting, there are lots of hotspots you can check out. Most of the time I find that it’s not just the cars that look good in my photographs but also the background. The streets of London provide a unique backdrop that is often full of character, personality, and life.

During 2018 I hope to capture the spirit of the city in my photography, up the overall quality of my finished pictures, and find new locations. Moreover, I want to engage with other people who share my passion and enjoy creating car-related content.

To all existing car spotters, please keep doing what you do. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to dedicate a substantial section of my day to drooling over your pictures. I think the appropriate word/hashtag is #carporn.

Oh, and on that note, if you are a car spotter and you want to collaborate or meet up with me for an outing, please reach out. As I mentioned earlier, I want to meet other like-minded people who share my passion. You can contact me by clicking here OR via the following social media accounts:

Instagram – @ShiftingGearsGT

Twitter – @ShiftingGearsGT