Photographing a Rat Rod

“Street rods have a Chevy in front and a can of wax in the back…Hot Rods have a flathead in front and a box of tools in the back”—Fred Offenhauser;

According to Wikipedia: A rat rod is a style of hot rod or custom car that, in most cases, imitates (or exaggerates) the early hot rods of the 1940s, 1950s, and early-1960s. … Most rat rods appear “unfinished”, regardless of their status, as only the vehicle’s bare essentials are driven.

To real rat rod aficionados this old Chevrolet may not be a classic “rat rod” but, to me, has the proper vibe. This car was photographed in the city of Prospect, Colorado that has always been one of my favorite places to photograph because of the unique architecture.

To get high angle “Hail Mary” shots in the past I would hold the camera over my head and make a guess at where it was pointing, then make a lot of shots until I got something close to what I wanted. Instead of guessing, the Panasonic Lumix G5 (that I used for this shot) has a tilt-swivel screen that let me hold the camera over my head and see exactly what I was getting. Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (at 17mm) was used with an exposure of 1/400 sec at f/8 and ISO 400. The final image was tweaked in Analog Efex Pro using the Classic Camera filter.

car.bookIn 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.