I ‘m Still Dreaming of Fiats

by | Jan 14, 2021

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve had a love affair with Italian cars ever since the early 1970s when I purchased a 1969 Fiat 850 coupe (great car) and then, later a 1970 Fiat 850 Spyder (not so great) that came with all of the problems  people often think of when they think Italian cars. With Fiat’s re-entry into the US (and maybe its imminent departure) I wanted to share one of my favorite car photographs that I call Dreaming of Fiats.

Autobianchi BianchinaEvery year the Italian car owners clubs in Colorado gather at a show called Automezzi where there are lots of exotic, interesting and beautiful cars on display including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancias, Panteras, Maseratis, Alfa Romeos, and Fiats. While at the car show a few years ago (and before they discovered their latest and best venue) I saw this little red car that captured my imagination but there was always a crowd gathered around it. When leaving the show, I took one last look and there was this kid—dressed all in black—standing in front of the car and I made a shot using a Leica Digilux II. (I said it was several years ago…)

After I made the photograph I looked back again and the kid had left so I made a second exposure (below.) At the moment of the second exposure I knew two things: I was going to combine both images on different layers in Adobe Photoshop and I was going to change the opacity on the “kid” layer so he showed through the car in a ghostly way.



Autobianchi BianchinaI started the process by opening the photograph of the car without the kid and saved it as a Photoshop (PSD) file. I was ready for the next step. Since the background was so busy I applied Color Efex Pro’s Old Photo: Black and White filter to it. I thought the effect was perfect because it makes it look like a diorama, which many people believe it is rather than a real outdoor car show.

Next, I used Photoshop’s Eraser tool and erased holes in the duplicate layer where the car was located. Tip: I usually turn off the other layers so I can only see the one that I’m erasing. Next, I dragged the file with the kid atop the original image, automatically creating another layer. I made sure that the kid layer was the topmost layer. Using the Eraser tool, I erased everything but the kid from that new layer. Since I wanted the kid to be “ghostly,” I set the Layers palette’s Opacity control to 70% in the Layer’s palette.

Even though the car itself is really an Autobianchi Bianchina, it does have a Fiat engine, so I call this image “Dreaming of Fiats,” and feel that unlike most of my car photos that are just pretty pictures, this one tells a story. I know what my story for this photograph is? What’s yours?


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