Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Rodders Revival ~ Hot Rod and Custom Car Show

Nikon D4 f-16 ISO 800  1/250 sec 28-300mm at 32mm focal length hand held VR on.
Saturday I attended The Rodder's Journal Revival ~ Hot Rod and Custom Car Show at the Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland. I first learned about the Rodder's Magazine when conversing with a gentleman in Ocean City this past spring when I was making images of his car. The show at Pimlico was awesome! It was a fabulous day, and there were amazing rods everywhere!
Capturing images at a show like this is difficult due to the crowds, background issues with lots of cars close by and sometimes light. I have found it best to work with my 28-300 mm lens handheld as it allows me to work details and wide angles in a crowded environment outdoors with plenty of light.
My favorite perspective when shooting the cars is low to the ground and shooting front to back, from the side or looking up, using the sky as the background. Often I will just sit down and wait for a moment when there are no people passing by, it requires patience.
Nikon D4 f-8 ISO 800  1/60 sec 28-300mm at 200mm focal length hand held VR on. Processed in Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro 4: Glamor Glow Filter
The new matte satin custom auto paints are fabulous for handling light, they absorb it and reflect it gently minimizing those harsh hots spots typical of highly reflective paint.Shooting custom details is also terrific as the designers crafting these custom looks are truly artists!
Nikon D4 f-22 ISO 800  1/500 sec 28-300mm at 105mm focal length hand held VR on.

I love the curves of the old coupes and enjoy using them as abstract shapes against the sky. Often on really bright paints like this one you have to underexpose to avoid blow out and color issues. When processing these images there is often a lot more dust, chips and imperfections than at first sight. I enlarge the image several times and scroll through all areas looking for dust, lint, fingerprints, chips and imperfections to clone them out.
Nikon D4 f-11 ISO 800  1/500 sec 28-300mm at 72mm focal length hand held VR on. Processed in Photoshop and Nik Color Efex Pro 4: Glamor Glow Filter

"Reflection management" is also a challenge. I constantly look at the subject especially the chrome parts and in highly reflective paint, to see how reflected subjects are appearing in the shot. Depth of field is also challenging as often we are shooting very close to our subjects so I find f-8 to f-22 works best unless you are looking to create some boca in the shot.
Nikon D4 f-11 ISO 800  1/500 sec 28-300mm at 28mm focal length hand held VR on.

I will often make image compositions in the field that crop out either adjacent cars, people or buildings, leaving a somewhat unusual composition...but I think it is better to get a clean shot with an unusual composition that to get a great comp with lots of distracting backgrounds and picture elements that just don't support the main subject. If you can find them repeating shapes are fun to work with as in the image below. Color is important and bright colors make impactful images. A great paint job is also critical or you will be doing a lot of repair in post processing, selecting the best subjects out of the crowd is also important.
I am marking my calendar for next year for the last week in September to attend this show again! I am leading a Hot Rod Photography Workshop in a couple weeks in Ocean City if you would like to join me check out the link on the side bar of this blog! Or Click Here for more info and registration.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fells Point, Baltimore....A different point of view: People!

Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 300mm f8-1/200 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop.
Saturday I led a morning workshop in Fells Point, in downtown Baltimore. Usually we can count on some interesting sky and harbor activity, but this time the wind was up the water was choppy and the harbor side reflections were not very good. There were no interesting clouds in the sky or boats in the water; there was however a street farmers market with lots of interesting people!
Much like travel photography when you are working in an urban area you have to make the most of what is present. One participant had an objective to work on his people skills so this was a perfect opportunity to shift gears a little and focus on what was most interesting to photograph on this morning. When capturing people portraits, using a telephoto lens allows the background to soften. Stepping back from your subject and selecting a telephoto at 200 or  more works perfectly. The soft overcast light we had off and on, is beautiful for natural portraits minimizing harsh shadows.
This beautiful young girl with paint on her face, was enterprising and talented! She had created a farmers market coloring story book with her own drawings and story lines. She was selling them for $3.00 each. When she told a dad at the market, with four children in tow, the price, he balked a bit, but when she said she had a 2 for $5.00 special he went for it! Now that's talent.
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f5.6-1/640 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop.
This woman was face painting and under a white translucent tent with back lighting. The tent softened the overhead daylight while the back light created a nice profile effect. While I loved the purple color, I also enjoyed this image in Black and White. Looking at this image with a critical eye, I might further process it in Photoshop, removing the curl of hair behind her gain a clean profile.
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f5.6-1/640 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop with Nik Silver Efex Pro2 plugin.

Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f5.6-1/640 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 (Pinhole Filter)

This gentleman was sitting in a chair just enjoying a cool morning with a cigar. while his daughter tended to her vendor tent.  He had a classic look so I chatted with him and he was very willing to pose for the group. There is a little trick to having people allow you to work with them and mostly it involves COMPLIMENTS!!! Tell them something great about them! Break the ice...let them know you are practicing and they would make a great subject then show them the LCD, and always ask for a contact info so you can send them a complimentary file. Getting a contact number or e-mail also means if you want to try and get a photo release you can, and its not on the spot. It gives them time to think about it and you have already given them a great shot of themselves!
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 200mm f8-1/200 sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop
Then there are the stealth shots, the ones that would only be good totally on the fly, with your subjects unaware they are being photographed.  I spotted this old woman with her coat, cane, cart and hat...walking through the market place. She was the kind of character I like to follow until the scene is what I want. Backgrounds in market spaces are hard to control and in order to make a good shot, backgrounds must be considered. In this shot I love how she was interacting with the produce and even though her great face is not visible, you get the idea and sense her being!
Captured Nikon D4 Lens 28-300 at 28mm f8-1/8000sec ISO 400 handheld.  Processed in Photoshop and
Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 
On the fly...this part of the harbor side always has runners going by and in the bright morning light makes for interesting back lit subjects. This is a great spot for helping students understand how to expose for this type of lighting situation. We set our exposure and focus point and wait for a runner to hit the right spot and fire away. 
Getting out and shooting with students is always great fun for me, helping them find subjects, work with the best light and make compositions that really create super shots!
My next field workshop will be in Annapolis...on Sunday September 29 from 7-11 sponsored by Capital Photography Center. Click here for more information and registration...only five spots left open!