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Old May 12, 2003, 11:20 AM   #1
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Default photographing car shows - better results

I've been having this problem with every camera I've owned, but I'd like to solve it for the Nikon Coolpix 5000 I just purchased. The setup I am currently have is the Tiffen UV filter and circular polarizer. I just bought it a couple of weeks ago, and I need advice on what to buy or try next.

At car shows I routinely run into cars with "ghost" graphics, and a show quality finish. (Ghosting paint is a technique where you add pearl, metal flake, etc. to the paint and then spray graphics. These graphics are then only visible when the light reflects off the car from certain angles.) The show quality finish is where I run into problems. The paint is so reflective that I end up with pictures of clouds, people, trees, and the graphics are barely visible through the reflections.

I know part of the problem is the polarizer lenses I have been using. (I have a pair of Maui Jim's polarized sunglesses and I can usually see the graphics fine.) So is there a different polarized lense I shoud be trying?

As for technique, should I be shooting my pictures at a different time of day? Will a lens hood make a difference? Should I try and take the pictures through my sunglasses?

So I don't sound like a complete newbie; I have taken photography classes (high school and college), but I was mostly told what to go out and take pictures of and how to take them.
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Old May 12, 2003, 11:40 AM   #2
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Interesting problem.

You should be using a proper circular polariser which rotates to give you control of the amount of polarisation.

A dull cloudy day maybe advantageous rather than sunny.

Try without a polariser as per your eye.

Try under and over exposing.

Try different angles and don't be afraid to get low on your stomach.

Can't think of anything else to try so good luck.
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Old May 12, 2003, 12:21 PM   #3
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Can you recommend a different brand of polarizer?

I've been trying the different angles with little success. I'll try changing the exposure next.

Just to make a comment on waiting for a cloudy day: a solid cloud cover usually detracts from the ghosting I am trying to capture. Partially cloudy days seem to be the worst. There is plenty of light to get see the ghosting, and at the same time the reflections of clouds stand out.
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Old May 12, 2003, 12:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Can you recommend a different brand of polarizer?
Never noticed you already have one. I doubt a different brand will make any difference.

You'll just have to keep experimenting and taking lots of pics.
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Old May 12, 2003, 1:06 PM   #5
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Thanks,

I just switched ISP's and I don't have my "free" web services set up yet. I'll try to get that set up so I can post a picture of what I am trying to do.
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Old May 13, 2003, 12:47 PM   #6
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Here are some samples of what I am getting:

In the first 2 you can see what I am dealig with in terms of reflecting the sky and myself.





This one is a little better, but with the naked eye or polarized glasses you can easily see the flames across the entire hood.

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Old May 13, 2003, 12:53 PM   #7
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I would try under exposing and adding contrast later to try and bring them out more.
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Old May 13, 2003, 3:33 PM   #8
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thanks
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Old May 13, 2003, 5:41 PM   #9
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You've definitely got a dificult problem - what you see is what you get and the camera doesn't appear to lie! I think you want a diffused sky, which means a dull day, no mixed cloud interspersed with bright sunlight.

When shooting shiney equipment panels in the past, I've sprayed them with a matte clear lacquer which reduces reflection - you can't do this with your cars though!

The best light is 'North Light' That means avoiding mid day (sun over head), positioning a car in front of a building to obscure direct sun, whilst allowing the north sky light reflection to light your car. you may get flatter pictures and have to play with contrast enhancement.

I think you will achieve more my positioning your cars and picking the right time and sky conditions, than adding filters and hoods.
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Old May 13, 2003, 7:39 PM   #10
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Wow, what a problem...you almost need to have studio conditions with diffused light from just the right angle to pick up those "ghost" graphics...

Maybe you need to travel to car shows with a big portable white canopy or tent. :lol:
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