Adventure of a Magazine Feature Photo Shoot


I was in my garage standing over top of the bare chassis of my truck with the air suspension taking shape. This was over two and a half years ago. My brother-in-law had just convinced me that I needed to make sure it had 22 x 14 wheels to get that "cool kid" modern flair. Upon agreeing I said, "I bet when we take this to some national shows it’s going to make it in a magazine." It certainly had not been my aspiration because, although it was a ground up build and getting a little fancy, this truck was just an excuse to build a truck rather than go buy a late model truck and it was intended to be my do-all driver, not a magazine show truck.

Early on, Kaleb Shumaker, the painter of the truck and the originator of the Far From Stock name, had not come to terms that the truck was ever going to actually get finished. But as it progressed and he started making a checklist of his to-do items, he wrote on a white board several main items and capped the list off with "see it in Diesel Power!" Well he had the publication wrong but things did come to fruition. Not as easily as I just made it sound though.

I'm going to skip right through the details of two and a half years of scrounging, parts sourcing, fabricating, scrapping steel to gain funds and everything else it took to build a custom fabbed truck that drives, and head right to when Chris Tobin, the Diesel World Magazine contributor, was walking across the parking lot of the show and shine at the TS Performance event in Bowling Green KY and I enthusiastically shook his hand and started a conversation. With me agreeing to have the truck a little more "done" looking by then, we tentatively scheduled to meet up at another diesel event a few months down the road.

When I go to these events I get a little crazy with cleaning the truck, making it presentable and endless meet and greet sessions with people both familiar and unfamiliar with the truck. This is all after I probably spent a ridiculous amount of hours in the garage leading up to the show. I end up worn out and low on energy. But none of that stopped me from keeping in contact with Chris and getting things set up for a shoot. Little did I know that he was on the same harebrained schedule as me. Early in the morning while I was getting the truck cleaned up for the photo shoot he had to cancel because of being up too late the night before with the truck pulls. That was the end of the energy for that weekend and I totally gave up on the idea of that being a photo shoot weekend.

A couple of months after that, which is almost exactly a year ago from now, we met up again at some diesel dirt drags in London, Ohio. Finally a day that we were both able to get it accomplished. I still didn't have the truck as ready as he would have liked it to be but from the outside the truck appeared done. He took the batch of photos and called it a session. Then came the editor changes and other things that happen in a magazine that keep the photos shelved for a long time.

Then one day out of nowhere Chris contacted me and said that it might be nice if some photographers got some pictures of my truck when I was at the Good Guy's nationals in Columbus, Ohio. After getting sent contact information for two different photographers at the event at two different times and meeting up, along with some complaints of lighting and the setting, that whole thing was canceled. A little while later Adam Blattenburg, the head editor of Diesel World Magazine, who evidently was behind the requests for the Good Guys show photos, Contacts me and says that we have less than a week to produce a possible cover shot!! So things went from a year old dead article to an article with a cover shot in two seconds! Needless to say I was very excited being that I had seen firsthand the difficulty of getting to this possibility. He was able to schedule Jordan Unternaher, which was really great because he's a friend and lives close by, and made the first relaxing non-time crunch photo shoot of this experience. I didn't know what it took to get a cover shot but evidently he did because they loved his submissions. We simply drove to until we saw the right spot, pulled in, took photos and it was over! Relatively quickly we had confirmation that all was going to work and just like that it was done.

Reading the article myself with my own eyes was really an exciting experience. The funny thing was how easily I was absorbed into it, being the exact type of article that I would have been glued to when I was reading articles prior to my build. Chris did an outstanding job of relaying my thoughts on the build and told the story just like I would have wanted it to. Seeing it all covered in one place was very enjoyable and since I didn't compose it, it was actually like a real outside perspective into my own build that I already am familiar with every nut and bolt. Hopefully readers were as entertained as I was and they can use it to get their own creative juices flowing. I know it worked for me.

Follow Darrell on Instagram @mopar1darrell for more of his story.