You could say we automotive magazine/web hacks have the best job in the world. I mean it’s non-stop cars, trucks, parts, and people, day in, day out. It’s enough to spoil somebody. But there are degrees of access for some ... ahem, me ... that makes some of my colleagues a little jealous. At SEMA this year, my access was due to a special assignment.
You see, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) hires four of us to photograph all of the new product releases at its annual trade show in Las Vegas. It’s a big deal. We set up four temporary photo studios (coves to use the parlance) and bring in studio-type strobes (great big flashes that mount on stands). Then we proceed to take pretty pictures of parts.
And it’s lots of parts—this year, about 2,500, in fact. The subjects run the gamut. Some are patently absurd (hats with long visors that transform into curtains to make a little theater for your phone). And others are really cool (adapters that plug into OBD-II ports and turn smart devices into data logging gauge sets that you can configure for a specific tuning or racing purpose). But that’s only part of what makes it a cool gig. The other part is that we have a ton of fun.
The images that follow offer a little bit of insight into the cool things that showed up at the 2017 SEMA Show. Some are pretty straightforward (mufflers and the like). Others are problem solvers (cast-iron headers for quiet engine swaps). And some are just patently amazing (a relay network commanded by Bluetooth switches that promise to reduce the harness in your vehicle to a couple dozen wires).
What follows is a gallery of the more interesting things that crossed our photo coves. We’ll use the feedback to determine a shorter list that we’ll publish with finer details about the parts themselves. But until then, enjoy!
Photos by Chris Shelton