Photographing a Rat Rod

by | Jan 11, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“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 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 die-hard rat rod aficionados this old Chevrolet may not be a classic “rat rod” but, to me, it 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 its unique ambience and architecture.

How I made this shot: 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, with lots of luck, got something close to what I wanted. Instead of guessing, the Panasonic Lumix G5 mirrorless camera that I used for this shot has a tilt-swivel screen lets me hold the camera over my head and see exactly what I was getting. Lens was the Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 (at 17mm) along 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.


Along with photographer Barry Staver, Joe is co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s now out-of-print but new copies are available from Amazon for $21.88 and used copies at giveaway prices—four bucks.