Shooting a Macro Lens at Cars & Coffee

by | Nov 17, 2020

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

What if they had Cars & Coffee and nobody came? That was nearly the case at November’s C&C event at the Vehicle Vault in Parker, Colorado. The weather forecast called for a sunny, somewhat chilly day but with a high wind warning. This event is usually held rain or shine but when I arrived at the venue there just twelve—count’em—parked cars. Shortly thereafter a few other cars arrived, including a brand-new Land Rover Defender. This was a beautifully finished vehicle but, to me, seemed rather large. It appears like nobody at LR had access to an original Defender and this new version appeared to lack a sense of scale. The four-door Defender is nine-inches longer than a Range Rover Velar, itself a large vehicle. But I digress…

My idea was to take the new (to me) Olympus’s M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens to Cars and Coffee and shoot some close-ups of the car’s details but more than that to see how the lens behaved as a regular 60mm lens on a Micro Four-thirds camera (i.e, 120mm equivalent.) You can read all the details about the lens and my initial test results here.

How I made this shot: It was slim pickens at the event but the first shot that I made was this hood ornament that was found on a 1931 (I think) Chevrolet hot rod. The camera used was my Olympus E-M5 Mark I with HLD-6G grip. The Program mode exposure was 1/640 sec at f/6.3 and ISO 320. This exposure method turned out to not be the best choice for this lens, something I didn’t realize until looking at the images later in Photoshop Bridge. Because of changing lighting and typical dynamics at car shows, I usually shoot in Program mode but I believe that shooting in Av mode with this lens would have given me better control over depth-of-field. Nevertheless I like this shot and the lens’s bokeh.

How I made this shot: This photograph demonstrates why shooting in Av mode would be preferable to shooing in Program mode at car shows. This close-up of a 2020 Land River Defender (locking?) lug nut shows the wafer-thin depth-of-field when letting the camera pick both aperture and shutter speed. After all, the OlympusE-M5 has petty good built-in IBIS, so shooting this at 1/300 sec at f/4.5 and ISO could do with more depth-of-field.

How I made this shot: This Jaguar XK-8 looks similar to one that Mary and I almost bought; she didn’t like it because it had too many miles on it but my guess it would have been less brain damaging that our X-JS was, although that was a pretty car in it’s own right. The Program mode exposure was 1/600 sec at f/7.1 and ISO 320 with a plus one-third stop of exposure compensation.


After much too short of a time at the show, the high winds blew in covering me and the camera with blowing dirt; the lens has splash proof and dust-proof construction. Cars started heading our and I beat feet out of there too and shortly thereafter it started snowing.

PS. I would really like to try shooting the M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 at next month’s Cars & Coffee at the Vehicle Vault in Parker, Colorado. Weather permitting, I hope to see you there.



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