The Audi R8 is a sitting duck, and Doug DeMuro bags it without pausing as he trolls through suburban Atlanta in search of exotic cars, turning on and aiming his Canon point-and-shoot with one fluid motion and nonchalantly banging off a perfectly framed image through his open window.
As the R8 glides off into traffic, DeMuro notices a flash of red - Ferrari red - in the left-turn lane of the next cross street. "An F430 Spider," he announces matter-of-factly. "If it's an Asian driver, then I think it's from California. The plate is going to read 430 F1."
DeMuro pulls a quick U-turn against a red light to position his Audi A4 in front of the Ferrari. The 430 turns left, as expected, but then ducks into a strip mall. DeMuro backtracks for a closer look and catches the Ferrari in the parking lot. Sure enough, it's wearing a California tag. "I shot it a few days ago," DeMuro says. But as we schmooze with the Asian owner, DeMuro hears the signature snarl of a V-12 engine and sees a blue Lamborghini cruising past on the far side of the street. "Murciélago!" he shouts, and we sprint back to his car.
Furiously working his Tiptronic transmission, DeMuro peels out of the parking lot, hurtles the wrong way up a left-turn lane, and cranks off another illegal U-turn. Two minutes of brisk driving puts him in position for photos of the back of the Murciélago. But the money shot is a side view, and each time DeMuro starts to pull even with the Lambo, we hear its exhaust crackle and see its rear end squat under hard acceleration. "That's gorgeous!" DeMuro says as he darts from lane to lane in hard pursuit. "Man, that thing is sinister!"
DeMuro doesn't usually chase cars through traffic for long, and even now, he gets his best shots when the Murciélago is stopped at a red light. While DeMuro snaps the Lamborghini, photographer A. J. Mueller jumps out of the car to shoot DeMuro. As traffic crawls past, a young woman calls out, "Is that somebody famous?"
So far as I know, the owner of the Murciélago is just a rich guy with a flamboyant streak. But DeMuro is a minor celebrity. Actually, he's a major celebrity among a really, really small subset of car enthusiasts. The obsession that binds them together is known as carspotting, and DeMuro is among its most successful and indefatigable practitioners.