Spyshots provide a first look at upcoming models before they become a marketing reality, and you see them here on paultan.org as well as many other publications on the Internet, offering a glimpse of what’s to come. It’s hard work getting those shots, as spy photographers will tell you, with plenty of waiting to be had for that elusive snap.

Our friends at Automedia, a German spyshot provider, have come up with a story about the often unknown aspects of what it’s like being a spy pixman, including the humdrum of sitting around for hours on end, hunting a prey you hope will show up at some point. But when it does, there’s much elation in the pay-off.

Before we get to the ditty, there’s something that has to be clarified, and that’s how we get these spyshots. Now, some folk have been questioning as to how we obtain them, and this is the perfect opportunity to clarify. So, why do we say it’s from “our international/European spy photographers” and why is our watermark there when these “publicly available” images also appear on some websites?

Well, “our car paparazzi” term is because we pay a subscription fee to legally use these images, and the money (let’s just say it’s quite a hefty sum annually, as forex isn’t on our side) goes direct to the people who put hard work into their craft, stalking cars in the sun and snow.

If you see these spyshots or variations of it elsewhere, it’s either from fellow subscribers (most reputable international websites do the right thing) or the publication has simply swiped the pics from another site. We know of some who do this – it’s akin to your friend paying for a meal, and you poking your fork into his plate and tucking away, without paying of course.

Some even go further to crop out or erase watermarks. Now, this isn’t just not nice, it’s downright theft, because it’s someone’s work, another person paid for it, and you’re using it without paying. As for the watermarks, it’s a request from our suppliers, a proof of purchase, so to speak. The same applies for the local Bernama watermarked pics you see on this website – there’s a subscription fee involved for the photos used.

That out of the way, here is Automedia’s entertaining take on what it’s like being on spyshot duty:

Things can be quite dreary in the spy photography business. Yes, you get times with a lot of excitement, forcing you to quickly react, drive fast, do handbrake turns and all kinds of things you would imagine car spies do. These days, you need to jump out of the car at the right moment, find a good position in just split seconds and then press the button and shoot, shoot, shoot.

Those are the hunting days, the thrilling ones, those that flood you with adrenaline. Today, however, is different.

It’s tedious: There’s hardly any action beyond my windscreen, and my eyes are blinded by all the white around me. Snow wherever you look – and the weather forecast promises there’s more coming. A lot more, that is.

I’ve been sitting in my four-wheel drive Skoda Yeti for hours, checking three roads at the same time. Binoculars up, focusing, identifying the car that’s still a quarter of a mile away. Binoculars down. Nothing interesting this time. It goes like that hundreds of times – through the windshield, through the left window, through the right window. From sunrise to sunset, if it gets real bad.

There’s no particular car I’m after, but being hidden at a T-crossing a few hundred metres away from the main gate of the Volkswagen Group’s winter test base in Lapland, lots of things can happen. Any moment. Literally any second. And in fact things do happen at times: A heavily camouflaged prototype of a Golf passes by – old stuff.

Same with a still disguised mule of an Audi A3 and a Bentley Continental GT. Nice cars, all of them – but nothing worth shooting and presenting to you in the News section of this website. On top, I’m hidden so that by-passers can’t see me waiting in my car. I should not give up my own disguise for a car that’s long been presented or photographed various times before.

My two big weapons are my patience – that, I have plenty of – and my cleverly chosen hiding place behind a huge snow bank. I can’t shoot from here, but I can check the roads without being seen – and then jump out in the right moment and catch the car I find worthy, revealing myself to the test drivers. It’s too late for them to escape when they see me – but that doesn’t stop most of the drivers to push the pedal and try a quick get-away. Useless by then, but I guess they want to keep their pride.

Er, wait! What’s that one coming there? Looks like an Audi, er, A3, I would say. Yep. Oh no, it’s an RS3. Ah, even better, it’s the RS3 Sedan. That one we’ve never seen before! Hang on a second!

The door flies open, I jump over the snow bank, and am now right on the street. I bet he needs to turn right here. If not, he will run me over. Or maybe, he wants to anyway. No. Taking up the camera, zooming in and to start shooting is just one fast and smooth movement. The Canon sounds like a machine gun, does ten images per second. Fifty shots later, it’s all over.

The RS3 is gone over a small hill, out of sight. But I can still see the prototype from all angles, on the display of the camera I still hold in my hands. Maybe the day wasn’t so dreary after all.