© 2020 Desmond Louw & Antonia Heil
dna photographers / Cape Town, South Africa / Berlin, Germany
All rights reserved.

Driving a Dodge Charger in Detroit, USA

We arrived in Detroit! At first I was shocked of the state of this city and all the suburbs. So many beautiful houses stand empty and are falling into pieces, it’s crazy. The city is turning into one giant ghost city, but it’s very charming I must say. The people here are super friendly, I can feel there is still a good vibe here. I got up early to take a shot of the Dodge Charger (Dodge Charger SRT8, 6.4 liter engine, a remake of an old muscle car in the 60’s and 70’s) in front of an old house. I was setting my lights to take a shot of the car and this dude walked up to me, his name is Glory Hoggz (check him out on youtube!) and he is a rapper from Detroit. I asked if I can take a few shots of him and said “Sure thing man, let’s do this shit!”.
We worked a bit in a coffee shop, then we had a long shoot with the Dodge Charger in an old Packard factory. This place was massive!!! So after we found a place to enter the building with the car we drove around in the building from one room to another to find cool shooting locations, it was soooo rad! I must still work on the pictures (and I want to save them for the publication) but I have one pic of the rear that I quickly edited :). After this we went to a jazz festival in downtown Detroit with loads of happy people, I took some pics and Justus interviewed people. After this we went to a local brewery and had the most awesome beer. We were looking for a spot to cross the river next to Detroit so that we can stand on the other side of the water and take a picture of the car with the city skyline. We drove over this bridge and on the other side there was a huge Canadian flag. We were like ‘WTF’! So we arrived at the Canada border control and told them we didn’t realize we are actually entering Canada by crossing this bridge, they thought we are the biggest idiots alive and after some paperwork we could leave again for Detroit. So the Canadian border control thinks all South Africans are stupid, sorry about that! We had to go to this little island to get a shot with the same feeling, I love this photo! Detroit was cool, I will be back! Today we must travel 700km, so we better hit the road!
dna – Desmond

USA post 1: Skating through New York City
USA post 2: Driving a Dodge Charger in Detroit
USA post 3: Road trip: Detroit, Pennsylvania, Boston, New York City

Detroit USA Desmond Louw road trip by dna photographers 01

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Detroit USA Desmond Louw road trip by dna photographers 10

Detroit USA Desmond Louw road trip by dna photographers 09

Detroit USA Desmond Louw road trip by dna photographers 08

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Photographer of the year {SAGMJ}

The SAGMJ (South African Guild of Motoring Journalists) Motoring Journalist and Photographer of the Year competition 2013 took place in June and this was the first year I (Desmond) entered and I’m stoked to say that I came second!! I could only enter twelve photos, nine of the twelve photos must have been published in a magazine/newspaper in 2012 and for the other three I could enter any photo of my choice. Below you can see the pictures I entered. Seagram Pearce came first, congratulations! Also, Angus Thompson, editor of TopCar, won SAGMJ Editor of the Year award and Aaron Borrill, also from TopCar, was highly commended in the motoring magazine division. Congrats guys!

Extended cab side doors Isuzu

TopGear Cover M135i Desmond Louw 36

TopCar New and old Beetle copy

December 2011 GQ

Extended cab karoo pano Isuzu

Double cab wayer splash Isuzu

Focus ST03 InRat

Volvo V40 InRat Norway

Volvo V40 bridge Norway InRat

BMW GrandCoupe TopCar

AMG Black TopGear

Porsche GQ March 2012

TopGear shoot: Mercedes G-class AMG vs the Suzuki Jimny

I (Desmond) had loads of fun with the guys of TopGear to shoot these two cars, the Mercedes G-class AMG and the Suzuki Jimny. We went mad with them! The whole idea behind the shoot was to compare the cheapest and the most expensive 4×4 vehicles available in South Africa. Buy the latest TopGear mag (August 2013) to check out the whole story!
dna – Desmond

TopGear Desmond Louw 34

TopGear Desmond Louw 51

TopGear Desmond Louw 60

TopGear Desmond Louw 04

TopGear Desmond Louw 73

TopGear Desmond Louw 10

TopGear Desmond Louw 25

TopGear Desmond Louw 14

TopGear Desmond Louw 50

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TopGear Desmond Louw 72

ISUZU KB 2013 campaign – Western Cape, South Africa

Since December 2012, here and there we’ve posted a couple of on-shoot pictures via instagram and Facebook, now we can finally show you the end-product. For several weeks we shot (& edited) on location and in studio the new ISUZU KB’s for magazine ads, brochures, website, billboards etc.. An awesome experience, traveling in the Western Cape while shooting great cars. Go to your local ISUZU dealer to get a brochure, a product we’re very proud of. Thank you Manni and Gerald for all your help!

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 09

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 10

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 08
ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 07

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 16

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 15
ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 14ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 13

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape TownISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 05

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 12

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 03

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 11

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 04

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 02

ISUZU KB 2013 dna photographers Cape Town Desmond Louw car photographer 01
Below you can see a 3 D interior tour of one of the cars.

TopGear shoot BMW M135i

I (Desmond) went out with the TopGear guys to Calvinia, apparently the place where you can buy the best meat in South Africa. They compared the car, a BMW M135i, with a piece of meat. We bought a few steaks and had a braai next to the road. What a cool day! Oh yes, I have the cover photo!!! I love working with awesome people, thanks Calvin Fisher and Braam Peens! Get your issue (December 2012) now!






BMW bike trip, Sutherland, South Africa

Just before our trip to Germany, I (Desmond) did a bike trip with a friend and colleague to Sutherland. It rained non stop the first two days and the rest was just insanely cold! At one stage it was -3 degrees at lunch! We drove 600 km on gravel and mud in the area and it was truly challenging. You can see the whole trip and more photos on bikeroutes.co.za. This is a new website dedicated to the bikers in South Africa that want to know and submit routes in South Africa.

I took one body (Nikon D700), two lenses (14-24mm F2,8 and a 50mm F1.4) and a flash (SB-600) with me. I fell twice with the bike but all my gear survived 🙂

What a cool trip, what an amazing part of our country!











Norway roundtrip

Yes, we are lucky. We are working while traveling and traveling while working. A dream job indeed. We traveled all the way to Norway (our first Europe stop this year) to drive a brand new Volvo V40 on Norway’s beautiful roads. If you speak Afrikaans, read our story here on page 8. We started our trip in Oslo and in the following days we went to Oppdal, Kristiansund, Molde, Trollstigen, Geiranger Fjord, Bergen and Geilo and finished up in Oslo. Have a look at some of our favourite pictures and enjoy the nature, that’s what Norway is all about.
dna – Desmond ‘n Antonia





The insane Trollstigen Mountain Road. Breathtaking.
Trollstigen (English: Troll’s Footpath) is a serpentine mountain road in Rauma, Norway, part of Norwegian National Road 63 connecting Åndalsnes in Rauma and Valldal in Norddal. It is a popular tourist attraction due to its steep incline of 9% and eleven hairpin bends up a steep mountain side. Trollstigen was opened on July 31, 1936, by King Haakon VII after 8 years of construction.




Men chilling at a pub in Bergen.


A king’s guard in front of the royal palace in Oslo, the residence of the king of Norway.



Inside the Kvernes stave church, dating from approx. 1300 AD. It is one of the youngest of the Norwegian stave churches.


A friendly Norwegian we had a long chat with.



Averøy’s major, Ann Kristin Sørvik.


Averøy’s major, Ann Kristin Sørvik took us on a hike with her husband who is a captain.



The famous bridge Hustadvika on the Atlantic Road.  In winter it is a spectacular sight with the dramatic storms.





Kristianssund, the gateway to the Atlantic Road.




The fishing village of Håholmen (a must, when you visit the Atlantic Road!).



Geiranger Fjord, one of Norway’s most visited tourist sites and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



That’s us in Oslo.



GQ interview – Stephan Winkelmann, CEO Lamborghini – Cape Town, South Africa

Yesterday I had to document this interview with Aaron Borril from GQ magazine and Stephan Winkelmann, the boss of Lamborghini.

When Stephan arrived at the hotel where the interview took place he just came from the airport and this was his first hour in Africa. He seemed so relaxed and he is really the slickest cat in Cape Town at the moment with his tailor made suite, that’s for sure!

After the interview I had 30 seconds to take a portrait, I nailed it!


We made it to the end! – USA

Wow, I’m back in Cape Town, this was one big adventure…whats next???

Here is our lovely companion, right at the end of Route 66 at Santa Monica. (How cool is it that the road turns in a pier that goes deep into the sea, with a huge entertainment park with rides and stuff!)

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Ghost towns, and more crazy friendly people – Route 66, USA

The scenery was once again totally new and mind blowing today, virtually no traffic on the route and we drove trough real ghost towns. The most lovely old houses just standing there and rotting away, crazy to see!

I met 3 French dudes on holiday also riding Route 66 in a Mustang and a Harley at this iconic stop.

Today we clocked 500 miles on our little beast, we are so getting to know this car, the rear suspension is not German and handling could be better but sure drifts nice and easy around a corner!

We also had burgers in this “out of a movie” cafe with super friendly peeps…(all the people here in America are very very professional in their jobs and also very friendly.

Tomorrow will be our last day on Route 66 as we will arrive at the end of the road in Santa Monica.

Cool people, guns and the open road! – Route 66, USA

Monument valley was something to see!! The home of the road runner.. meep meep!

Because of the new highway next to route 66, some of the towns are ghost towns. Crazy to see all these lovely vintage houses just standing there with nothing in it…

Just love how the clouds form wings around this sign.

The biggest staffie I have ever seen in my life!!

Yes, I’m a super being, I don’t need a helmet DUHH!

Really? Do we need to fill up again??

Only in America ..

JUSTUS, SLOW DOWN, THE COPS! No just kidding, we are actually driving like gents, the speed limit is enforced by planes flying super high and checking out the cars, if a car speeds the ground police stops you… crazy.

Its spring here, I just love it!

This dude makes a mean coffee!

Route 66!!

Riding, nature and more riding…. – Grand Canyon, USA

Wow what a day, we saw the most amazing nature including the Grand Canyon!!

This little dude tried to steal my jerky, the little bastard!

While the sun was setting on us I told Justus we have to stop to take this, what a cool shoot I had in only 10 minutes!

“Tune in” tomorrow to check out the pictures I will take at monument valley!! the place the road runner comes from!

Hello Route 66! – USA

Today’s trip in the car was awesome, the nature was so different to anything I have ever seen, so fresh on the eyes.

Meet Rhonda, she was our sweet little fuel attendant and didn’t know where Cape Town is…

Mickey was on his way to pick up his camping trailer he just bought in a town very far away, he was so amped to tell me all about his bike.

We arrived in Williams, a very (!) small town on route 66, it feels like being in a movie, everywhere guys with big beards, Harley’s and leathers. As we arrived we saw a baseball game, my mind switched over to photo mode to the max as this was my first ever game I have seen!!

Las Vegas, day 1 of 2 – USA

We started the day traveling to Las Vegas in the Karoo (well it looked like it) and we stopped at a truck stop to eat the most disgusting food ever, I ordered a chicken roll thingy and it came with this k*k rice and beans with melted cheese on it, I promise you I never ever in my life tasted such fake food   JUK!

Well well well, Las Vegas…

You know you have to investigate something you have to see the high and the low to kinda know what the average is, well this place is the very high when it comes to extreme people and what they can do, good and mostly bad.

We were riding and walking the streets last night and out mouths were just hanging open. I don’t think I will ever want to see this place again as its such a superficial world but I’m glad I have the t-shirt.

Here are some shots of last night, a night I will never forget.

This is the view from our hotel room!

We are having so much fun with the Camaro, haven’t taken any official photos of it but here are some pics of it and the scenery…

PS.The cops pulled us over when we took the driving shots, they gave us so much shit cause I was standing on the backseat while were driving to get this effect.

We arrived! – USA

So we are here!

How cool is this, one of my best best friends and I are doing a road trip in America in an American muscle car.

We arrived in Santa Monica and stayed in a hotel on the beach front.

Well being a bit jet lagged we did not see much yet, but one thing is for sure, the people here rock, all I want to do is chat to everyone, for some reason they fascinate me…maybe its because I have been reading and collecting American magazines since I can remember and I can relate to so much in my lifestyle?

Yip there is a bit of American blood in me that’s for sure, and I will live the dream for 10 days!

I will try to post as much as possible, so check out this space!!!


Nissan GTR Top speed test for Rapport in Upington, South Africa

I had the opportunity to go to Upington where Nissan South Africa delivered a GTR for us on a truck to test, Justus and I felt like little boys (ssshht I know we still are) when we saw the car at our hotel, like a Godzilla as Justus liked to call her. We had a amazing time with Veralda (PR of Nissan SA) and Janico (GTR Production manager) from Nissan, truely awesome and interesting people, we surely had Upington’s attension for the 3 days, everywhere we went people stopped us to have a closer look at this machine.

As a Porsche fanatic it was a sad day for me when the Nissan GTR clocked a time of 7 minutes and 27 seconds around the Nurburgring, and showing the 911 Turbo that Nissan is better and cheaper! So needless to say I wanted to feel for myself what this car is all about. I had a test drive in it last year but in Cape Town and of course this is not a city car, you want this on a track or the longest airstrip in Africa to feel the magic, so thats exactly where we went!

The GPS told us 315km/h WOW!

Go check out the short video I made of the day.

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