I caught the car bug young. My parents took me to the antique car show as a kid and I loved all the old cars. My best friend’s big brother could draw cars like nobody else. People used to take his pencil sketches of their cars and frame them. His family was loyal to Chevrolet. And, while the ’57 Chevy was the first car I learned to recognize on sight, Ford is the brand that resonates in my heart. Ford means family to me.
Aside from the fact that Henry Ford changed the world by creating the market for automobiles, the reason is this: my dad’s family farm has been loyal to the Ford brand for three generations. Ever since my grandfather finally ran his 1964 Plymouth Valiant into the ground, the farm family drove only Ford trucks.
The brothers had a very low opinion of the Valiant, but I think that car’s eventual failure had more to do with the 50km of hard gravel roads between their farm and the nearest town, and perhaps the reality of transporting five boys in the family, three of whom who grew to six feet or taller. The Valiant never stood a chance.
After the Valiant died, was stripped for parts and left standing, it rotted in the bush for two decades before an extremely stubborn prospective aunt finally broke the farm’s Ford run. She moved out to the farm and refused to give up her four-wheel-steering Honda Prelude. But it didn’t last. After the wedding, she traded in the Prelude for a forest green Ford Aerostar.
As a rule, the farm trucks had the lowest possible trim package and no options.
My mom and dad’s first family vehicle was a blue 1981 Ford F100. It had a bench seat for 3. That’s what made it a family vehicle. I could ride on a booster in the passenger seat.
At the age of 12, dad strapped me onto another bench seat by way of a yellow pages, and attempted to teach me to drive on the top of the icy hill where our rural mailbox stood. I skidded that silver 1978 Ford F-150 4×4 right off the road and into the snowy ditch. The neighbour pulled us out with his extended cab 4×4, also a Ford.
Concessions to fuel economy and child safety eventually led our family into a maroon 1988 Ford Taurus. When that car began overheating on long, snowy winter drives, we moved on to a green Ford Explorer. I loved that Explorer but the keys were awfully hard to come by. I mostly got to drive Grandpa’s red and white 1984 Ford Ranger 2WD, great for burning donuts in the dirt. I took that Ranger to my first volunteer job, and on my first few dates, before buying my own car (a Dodge).
By that time, Grandpa had upgraded to a black and silver extended cab 4×4 Ranger with a tape deck and air conditioning. It was probably the first farm vehicle aside from a tractor with air.
After Grandpa passed, first his son, then an adopted grandson, drove that air conditioned Ranger.
Today, the uncles still drive Ford trucks with front bench seats, although they’ve given in and pay for air conditioning on all their vehicles. Another generation is taking over the farm, and as far as I know, Ford still rules their domain, an unbroken reign of 40 years.
So, given all that Ford history, when I got the call to work on a series of adventures for Ford by way of Blue Hive and Blue Ant in 2015, I jumped at the chance. Led by Alan at Blue Hive, Roadside Attractions was produced by Renée and Nick at Blue Ant, directed by Jim Morrison IV, and lensed by DP Christoph Benfey. Nick Coffin was a superb 1st AC. I had a great time operating camera and getting to know our participants. It’s worth watching the videos just to get their stories.
On the technical side, we shot primarily available light, mostly with Canon glass and cameras, working with everything from car mounts to drones to gimbals, and as always, there was a healthy amount of handheld work.
I found that as we crossed Canada, memories of camping with mom and dad and our extended family came unbidden, especially as we drove up and down the mountain roads of Vancouver Island.
I’m deeply thankful for the opportunity to live the roadside adventure for one of my favourite brands, working with a super-talented team. The campaign was successful, quickly garnering over 300,000 views on Cottage Life and Youtube. Today the six videos have over a million views.
A link to the campaign here:
And the videos we worked on here: