Posts by Joe Farace:
“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”— Thomas A. Edison
Similarly, it could be said that to create an interesting photograph also requires “a pile of junk.” Back in the 1970’s junkyard art was a popular genre and photographers discovered that these were the ultimate photo op but times change. In a different, less politically correct world you might call this junkyard art but even junkyards themselves these days prefer to think of themselves, as they should, as recycling centers. And often the owners or managers of these centers are not interested—or won’t even allow photography in their business.
Nope, can’t do it anymore. Conscious of their image, most junkyards won’t even let you dig around for parts (although thankfully some will) and if you ask for permission to make photographs the answer will always be “no.” How then did I make this image? The recycling center’s owner’s wife is a photographer and was familiar with my work but most people won’t be that lucky. You can always ask the owner and be nice and show examples of your work to demonstrate that you’re trying to make artistic images. It’s worth a shot.
This is an odd (and old, made in 2006) photograph. It’s odd because these days even a rusted out VW Bus is worth close to $100,000. Yup, I don’t get it either but nostalgia exerts a powerful pull on car values. But why would anybody graft a VW Beetle body on top of a VW bus? One can come up with many scenarios, none of them likely the truth.
The image was shot with a Samsung GX-1S back when they made cameras. Lens was an smc Pentax-DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL and was captured with an exposure of 1/180 sec at f/11 and ISO 200. Image was processed in Topaz Texture Effects software.
My book Creative Digital Monochrome Effects is available from Amazon with new copies under $6 and used copies at a giveaway—less than three bucks— price. Your purchase of the book helps support this blog and Amazon does not raise the price to you, so it’s a good deal for everyone.
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If you’ve been looking for a way to jumpstart your photographic techniques for photographing cars, our private workshops are a great and affordable way to start. Sessions are 90 minutes long, cost $75 (cash or check) and are held at Cars & Coffee events in Parker, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs. We’ll kick off the session with a brief discussion of capture options, and then we’ll walk around the show and make photographs.
These are one-on-one sessions between the student and myself where you will get to ask questions as we walk through the show discussing the right choice of lens for a specific kind of car, type of shooting situations such as dealing with the sometimes crowded areas that you’ll encounter at indoor or outdoor car shows and Cars & Coffee events. I’ll show you how to cope with exposure conditions for dark and light colored cars, how to use flash to light a car’s undercarriage.
These private workshops are aimed at both DSLR or mirrorless camera users, and I will be working with whichever of these camera types, although maybe not your exact camera brand—see the Gear section— that you use so there is no confusion about my use of a particular technique.
After the show when you get home and take a look at your images on your computer you may have some follow-up questions; anyone using the service can e-mail me later with additional questions at no additional cost.
I’m looking forward to working with you. Just click on the Contact tab above and send me a note so we can pick the most appropriate car show for your schedule.
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Back in the day, when I shot film, I would never have shot an assignment or important images before testing the concept and the gear beforehand. Medium and large format studio shooters used expensive Polaroid film to make test shots before clicking the shutter with real film while the rest of us would shoot test rolls before trying new technique or new gear.
Along comes digital capture with instant feedback though LCD screens and everybody thinks that testing wasn’t required anymore; you could just test as you went along. This created a secondary phenomenon in which some shooters thought they no longer needed a back up camera After all any problems would be immediately visible but some of us never thought what would they do if there was a problem. And believe me gear failures occur, even with brand new equipment. The big problem is that not all LCD preview screens are accurate as far as color and contrast and especially not as the color correct monitor sitting on your desk that’s used to process images in Photoshop or Lightroom. Surprises lurk, so you need to test.
I did some testing at a car show in advance of making a trip New Mexico the following week. One of the things I was testing was a new wide-angle zoom lens that I though I would just love but in actual shooting was so wide that it was impossible to shoot any of the cars without getting too much extraneous detail, including people walking into the shot. And the camera LCD screen also showed there was some slight vignetting even with the built-in lens hood off the lens but when I looked at in on my monitor it was much bigger than I thought. This lens was not going to New Mexico but I found out now, not when I was in the land of Enchantment.
Then again testing also helps you plan ahead for the inevitable moments of stupidity. In addition to the SLR and wide-angle lens, I brought along a pinhole camera that shot a wide aspect ratio. I was happily shooting away right up until lunchtime, when we took a break to eat lunch I accidentally knocked the camera onto the floor. I’ll admit that I’m a but of a klutz.) The camera’s back popped off! And yes it was loaded with film. As luck would have it landed with the back side down, so I slipped the back on and went into the Men’s room and turned off the lights to more securely fasten the back. What this unplanned test showed me was more than the exposure and the angle of coverage I could expect but that I needed to bring some gaffers tape to keep the back securely closed. PS. I did loose one an a half panoramic frames but at least I had some images.
There’s an old expression that goes—Good carpenters say that you should measure twice and cut once. I think that we should test twice and shoot once. And remember, there are no perfect photographs but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.
Barry Staver and Joe are co-authors of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s currently out-of-print but while new copies are available at collector (high) prices you can purchase used copies at giveaway prices—less than five bucks—from Amazon.
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If you’re a regular read4er of this blog, you know that I’m a bit of an Anglophile. And while I’m currently driving a German car my previous two vehicles were British. And for a long, long time I was in love with the classic MG TC.
The TC was the first postwar MG launched in 1945. It was similar to the pre-war TB, sharing the same 1,250 cc pushrod-OHV engine with a slightly higher compression ratio of 7.4:1 giving 54.5hp at 5200 rpm. Even though only ever built in right-hand drive, it was exported to the United States with slightly smaller US specification sealed-beam headlights and larger twin rear lights, as well as turn signals and chrome-plated front and rear bumpers. 10,001 TCs were produced, from September 1945 to Nov. 1949 more than any previous MG model.
The closest I came to actually owning an MG was when I was in negotiations with a collector who owned three TC’s: One was a 100-point Concours car in British Racing Green and the other two were ivory-colored, the so-called “Old English White.” One of them was a high end driver that needed some work but he had the parts and we agreed on a price. I test drove the car and was surprised at it’s performance for a 1948 automobile that only had 50 horsepower. And then he changed his mind about selling it…
And I have since moved one. At this point in my life, (I think) I’m not interested in owning an MC TC but still have an abiding affection for these elegant, stately carriages, There’s something about those tall skinny wheels and elegant grille that appeals to me as does the right-hand drive—All TC’s are right hand drive—that I also admire in JDM classics like the Nissan Skyline, although how that relates to old MG’s I’ll never know.
This particularly MG TC had an amusing radiator cap that harkened back to the days when classic automobiles had distinctive caps. This one made me smile. And was photographed with my Olympus E-M5 Mark I with 14-42mm kit lens (at 42mm) and an exposure of 1/320 sec at f/10 and ISO 250.
In How I Photograph Cars, there’s also lots of information on photographing cars including motorsports from sports car racing to drag racing including safety tips when working around fast racecars. You’ll go behind the scenes as I photographs a small car collection for a client and look at not just the challenge of photographing a group of cars but the logistics involved in making the shot happen.
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As an unabashed Anglophile, it should surprise no one that I owned a new Mini and it may not surprise anyone that it was not a great experience. Oh, the car looked great and drove great when the transmission wasn’t jumping out of gear, but reliability. No so much, It go to the point that I knew the first name of the tow truck driver who would lovingly haul my Mini Cooper Clubman away during it’s latest crisis. I could go on, but I’m guessing fellow Mini owners how know the story goes.
Mini Remastered by David Brown Automotive is the second model to be produced by the low-volume, British coachbuilder. Based on a classic Mini, it combines the iconic Sixties car’s looks with modern technology and luxury hand-finished materials.
Each car is built by hand using brand new body panels to create smooth and accurate surfaces with perfect shut lines. The exterior shape has been refined, visually softened and ‘cleaned’ by de-seaming the silhouette and welding in structural beams, with additional support struts for rigidity. Each car also undergoes a soundproofing process.
The car’s is infotainment and navigation system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a four-speaker sound system, keyless-go, USB connectivity and charging, as well as push-button start and remote central locking. The interior has sculpted seats with a hand-trimmed interior and a combination of paint, leather and fabric finishes to the dash. There’s retro Smiths dials, a Moto-Lita steering wheel, and—surprise, surprise—a cup holder.
David Brown completely rebuild each classic 1275cc engine Mini engine and power is increased by up to 50% more than the original unit. Teamed with a fully reconditioned four-speed gearbox, upgraded suspension and brakes, emphasis has been placed on reliability—not my Clubman’s bets features—and driving dynamics.
Prices are still to be announced, but you can be sure it will be expensive, even more so that whatever the highest new Mini prices are.
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