Urban reflections of Madrid

This is a recap of a great project I was part of for Toyota Motor Europe and their new hybrid car Toyota C-HR. It was a challenging, and very interesting assignment. We had to conquer pouring rain as well as the incredibly busy traffic in Madrid, all within less than 48 hours.

Together with SeeMyCity colleague Dirk Bakker (@macenzo) and 22 other photographers and Instagrammers, I was invited to Madrid as a part of their project #UrbanReflectionsMadrid – a campaign to celebrate and promote the launch of the Toyota C-HR.

During the two campaign days, we were all given a brand new Toyota C-HR to drive around Madrid with the objective to capture urban reflections in the car – all in our own unique style. The best 24 expressions from the campaign will be used in Toyota’s digital campaign and will participate in the planned exhibition in their European showroom right on Champs Elysées in Paris. So excited about that!

The company

All in all, it was a full packed, full paced, amazing weekend. We met other photographers and bloggers as well as the European Toyota marketing executives who were right there amongst us. We were treated and pampered like celebrities, fed amazing food and the organization and planning ran so smoothly, we didn’t even notice it.

Toyota came across as a very sympathetic and considerate company (my personal, honest opinion). You could feel the passion they have for their work, their brand and how they stand behind and believe in the company’s philosophy and product.

Safety first

I admit I’m a woman, not particularly interested in cars, except that I sometimes need one as a means of transport. Still, I am a happy and very content owner of a Toyota RAV4 that I have owned and driven for over 11 years. For me, this weekend was an eye opener in a couple of ways that I think might be interesting to most of you as well. Please don’t read the following as advertising, but rather as something that everyone should consider when buying a new car, regardless of which brand it is.

A car is not only about how fast it drives, how much it costs or how good it looks. It’s also about the environmental influence as well as security functionalities. Toyota managed to convince me about their hybrid technology and my next car will definitely be a hybrid. Also, my next car will have all the safety senses available with today’s technology – know why? It saves lives. You can read more about Toyota’s safety senses on their site, but in short and as an example; if someone walks in front of your car, the car will automatically sense it and stop even if you don’t hit the brakes yourself. Basically, your ability to notice and react is not an issue anymore, the car will stop regardless. I experienced this first hand during a ride in Madrid, and it was such an eye-opener to me. As a non-reader of car magazines or blogs, I didn’t know about this technology. Imagine how many lives can and will be saved by this new feature? And that’s just one of the safety features, there are so many more.

As this trip for me was mainly about the photography challenge, I’d like to show you a few of my favorite shots. I have attached a few “normal Madrid” shots below. We really didn’t have time to photograph outside of our assignment #UrbanReflectionsMadrid, so I’ll need to return to Madrid for a more touristy/travel photographer approach:)

Chasing reflections

As I mentioned in the intro, we were struggling with both the rainy weather and the busy traffic as well as parking issues in Madrid. When shooting reflections off a car, it’s quite essential to be able to stop the car and have time to set up and shoot the reflections. This proved near impossible during the busy Saturday night traffic and VERY wet rain but thankfully improved on Sunday morning, when most of the city was still asleep and we had a few dry hours. Wow, the relief! You could see all the relieved faces and smiles of all the photographers after the Sunday shoot when they were finally able to shoot our reflections. Below you can see Dirk in action at our most favorite location. We were shooting with both iPhone and Canon DSLR, and in the end, our mobile shots turned out great. Most of the shots in this article are mobile shots actually, including the one below (if you’re wondering about the ‘booket’ effect, it’s actually added with an app called Tadaa SLR).

“Normal” Madrid

We didn’t have much time to shoot Madrid in a more traditional way, it was full focus on getting those reflection shots. But I did manage just a few interesting nonreflective ones, simply because I just couldn’t not take these:)