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Old Aug 15, 2010, 8:34 PM   #1
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Default Cars

Every year a local car club hosts a show in Pine Mountain Club, one of the neighboring communities. It's always fun to wander around and see the beautifully restored automobiles from times long gone. However, this year I became very aware of my inability to take good car pictures - they are not as easy as you would think. I always seemed to be cutting off a bit of bumper, or being at an awkward angle for using the 12-24, one that accentuates the inherent distortion you get with a really wide lens. Or I did something else wrong.

The conditions were very difficult - it was late morning, the sky was crystal clear and since the elevation is over 5,000 feet, the sunlight is strong. I mostly shot 5 frame exposures, 2 stops between frames, then processed them as HDR. In some cases the HDR versions didn't work for various reasons and a couple needed to be combined with one of the single exposures to get rid of ghosting and other things like that. I'll identify all that were processed using Photomatix. All were taken with the K7, most with the DA 12-24. I think a couple here might have been taken with the DA*50-135.

Here are a few that I thought were reasonable.

With one notable exception, all of the cars were beautifully restored and highly waxed. (HDR)

I have no idea what hydra-matic means, but it meant something to Oldsmobile at sometime: (not HDR, not needed)

Hood ornament: (HDR)

And the car it was on" (also HDR)

Some of those old cars sure look so long! (not HDR - the HDR version brought out too much of the Village buildings, very distracting)

I have no idea what these are for, but they sure look impressive: (HDR)

I'd love to own one of these cars. (HDR, I wanted at least a bit of detail in the interior)

This belongs to the car I've always wanted to own, even before I could drive. The interior looked perfect, even the seats still had the embossed ponies on them (the picture I took of it had an awkward dof - should have used a smaller aperture). But this says it pretty well: (HDR, converted to b&w because I wasn't careful and lens flare caused some discoloration).

The car that Dan would love to own (though he did wonder if he had enough flexibility to get in and out of it any more): (HDR)

Here was the one exception to the bright, shiny perfectly restored cars. It had a sign on it that said "This truck has no class" which got me laughing: (HDR)

Anyway, we had a fun time looking at a bunch of beautiful cars. I learned a fair amount of how NOT to take pictures of show cars, but for the most part, the HDR part of it worked reasonably well.

I have one more that I'll post in the August Challenge. As a photo it's not the most brilliant in the world, but I was really happy with the HDR part of it.
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Old Aug 15, 2010, 9:08 PM   #2
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very nice series, looks like you had a lot of fun. cant tell much of engine from last shot, but from what i can tell looks like the engine is cleaner than the car, curious as to why they left it rustic, a cool concept, but I've seen a few of these fully restored and they were beautiful
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Old Aug 15, 2010, 9:10 PM   #3
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Great. If you have a few more shots, please post. The colours are rich. The reflections are giving me ideas on what I might do at a classic car rally. Your cropping was a little tight on that old corvette. Almost missed the rear bumper. Nice HDR effects. Not overdone. Just effective.

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Old Aug 15, 2010, 9:37 PM   #4
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Great pix...I'm envious and I spend a lot of time taking pix of vintage cars, hot rods. Really like pix with the Hillborn Fuel Injection stacks with the balls in the tops.

You have a good, natural eye for cars and their components...very nice angles.
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Old Aug 15, 2010, 11:45 PM   #5
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Hi Harriot

Great Shots!! I have to agree that its not as easy as you Would think takeing pictures of restored Show Cars.

As lesmore has said the picture with the Chrome Stacks is a fuel Injection System.

The "olds hydramatic " Is just an early Auto transmission.

Tell your hubby that i am With him. The Cobra is my second most favorite muscle car. Although i am Not Sure what manufacturer that car is. All the pictures that i have of the Cobra have a Cobra emblem on the hood. So not sure if that is a kit car!!
Either way Would love to be tooling around that car.

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Old Aug 16, 2010, 6:34 AM   #6
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Very nice compositions. I especially like the various reflections.
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 6:43 AM   #7
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Wonderful series. I love vintage autos but have never gone to a car show to shoot them, I need to do that.

The first shot is my favorite. I think whatever distortion you may have is working in your favor. The reflected car is awesome.

As per your usual the HDR is done beautifully!

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Old Aug 16, 2010, 6:53 AM   #8
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Wonderful job on some tricky subjects and difficult lighting. Your master touch, both with camera and processing, shines through in all of these. Great detail, amazing color & clarity, fine composition, and some unique perspectives (especiall #1)!
PS - the last one could have been taken in my neighborhood...
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 9:52 AM   #9
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The reason the left the brownish....early F series Ford pickup rustic, or probably pretty well as found.... is that this is another school of thought to express how a vintage car/ truck should look. Except that I can just see what looks like a modern 'filter charger' peaking out of the engine bay...have a feeling that it may have a more modern engine then what it had when it left the factory...so it may be verging into the rat rod category.

Some like to leave the appearance pretty well as it was found in the barn, or wherever....so it has all the 'patina' that age has bestowed upon it. I would say going by the partial pix that this is the category this Ford P/U falls into.

Many still restore it to the look, as per it left the factory...or better...check out the early, white/blue Corvette.

Some will mildly customize a vintage vehicle. These vehicles are quite glamorous..check out the yellowish 2 tone '55 Chevy , 2 dr. hard top....with it's non stock wheels, paint, painted bumpers...I'm guessing some engine and interior mods from stock...although I'm guessing there.

Then there is the Rat Rod.....which may have some interesting mods, but essentially the body work, engine, etc...may be worked on and modified....but turning it out as a jewel is not the intent.

All these categories are not chiseled into stone....

Last edited by lesmore49; Aug 16, 2010 at 10:04 AM.
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Old Aug 16, 2010, 2:53 PM   #10
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Les - most of my shots were framed way too tight. Some of them I had the framing tight, but OK - but then had tilted the camera slightly and so when I straightened them I cut off something (bumper, tire etc.). It's been a while since I shot as exactly as this and I'm still not entirely used to the K7's 100% viewfinder. Old habits die hard and I still subconciously depend on that little bit extra the K20 and earlier cameras give you. That's why I mentioned that this type of shooting is harder than one who hasn't done it would think. I also discovered that the 12-24 can give you really strange distortions if you stand by the side of the front tire. Instead of giving you a classic 2 sided angled view, it distorts the front quarter panel compared to the back. I took several that had that problem (good thing its digital and there's a delete key!).

Phil - The Cobra said "Shelby" on it for manufacturer, so I assume it's not a kit car. I have a pretty good shot of it from the side but am not entirely happy with how I processed it. I think I'll go back and re-do it, maybe tonight, then post it.

Thanks for the information about the fuel injection system. The show had lots of hot rods, fewer really old restored cars or classics (like the Chevy or the one I posted in the August Challenge). Some of the engine modifications were really interesting - there was one who's hood was on a lift system, the whole thing lifted up. There was the usual cut-out for what I guess might be the air intakes for some type of turbo (?). I took several shots of it but wasn't very happy with them. I might post them in a different thread on how NOT to take pictures of cars!

mole - The last one did come from my neighborhood according to the sign. I suspect it might have been pulled straight out of a barn for the show, too - the area it said it was from is zoned several acres and there's still a few old farms/ranches there, owned by the decendents of the original settlers. It's entirely possible it's an old ranch truck that still does work duties and is maintained in working condition. I'd like to think of it that way.

One of the things that stuck me when I was looking at one of the restored pickups was just how small the engine was. It was a chevy (with absolutely gorgeous wood boards in the bed!) and the engine looked so tiny in the large engine compartment. I well remember a '76 chevy I once owned (with a 350 engine) that had hoses and cables and things all over the engine compartment - no empty room at all anywhere. How times have changed.
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