The 3 Things Challenge

700 hot rods, a hundred or so motorbikes and a few outlaw motorcycle gang members always make car and bike shows interesting. Car shows are a great location to practice your photography skills, either it be people photography or still life. You have ample time to compose your shot and think about the background, Depth of Field, focal points etc and the majority of people are more than happy for you take photos of their pride and joy.

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I always find that this is a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself to improve your photography skills and you could do something similar. The challenge was 3 things that would force me to stop and think, stop and look and force me to think about my crop in post processing.

  • Use a fixed prime lens

Using a fixed prime lens does one thing really well, it forces you to think! It forces you to really think about how you will compose your shot, forces you to consider what’s at the edges of your frame and probably the most important part of using a fixed prime lens is  you are forced to slow down and take your time.

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However not everyone has a fixed prime lens and if you don’t, don’t stress as most lenses have a little button on the side where you can lock the lens in to a set focal length. If you don’t have that option, there are numerous options you can use to prevent you from zooming in or out like placing some tape over the lens to prevent it from moving.

  • Have a theme

Look for a theme when shooting, it could be a color or a number or a letter, absolutely anything that takes your fancy. This will also make you look harder for your chosen theme and forces you to think how you will incorporate the theme into your image.  The theme I selected was red, not a complete red vintage hot rod as that would have been way to easy but find small amounts of red used in the details on cars or an oversize teddy.

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  • The Post Processing Crop

Its not always possible to be either close enough or far enough away to ensure that there are no unwanted distractions in the shot. Even though a prime lens was used there are distractions such as people in the background or its simply not possible to get close enough due to barriers. Unfortunately, you are forced to crop in post however I decided that the challenge would be to use one crop size only and in this case I chose 16×9. This forces you to about what you were trying to achieve when you hit the shutter, forces you to think about what story is being told through the images and it forces you to think about what you want to keep in or out of the finished image.

 

So that’s the challenge I set myself and maybe next time you are out with your camera, you can set yourself a challenge and drop me a link in the comments below so I can check them out.

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Oh, and I couldn’t help but photograph the overall winner of the day, a Red Chevrolet Belair, a beautiful car.

Happy shooting.

P.S I’m to scared to take photos of outlaw motorcycle gang members! They’re scary people.

Red Flames, White Lines

I’ve said it before, car shows are the place to go and get your photography groove on. You can spend hours wandering around the cars photographing all aspects of the chrome adorned hot rods and on some occasions the people who own them or have been hired to work on them.

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But every now and then you find something different, something that is worth that little bit of effort to photograph, making sure that you get it right and in this case it was this gentlemen with the steadiest hands I have ever seen painting the white edging around the flames.

As I started to post process the images I felt as though that overall there was to much red and I ended up going down the path of processing the image to black and white. DSC03031 1Now the problem I have is I don’t know which one should be the final product.

Which one do you prefer?

The Small Details Matter

The photographic opportunities at car shows to practice are endless. I haven’t met a car enthusiast yet that isn’t happy for you to take photos of their prized possessions.

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However the problem with car shows is that a lot of people crowd around cars, and I always seem to find that they get in the way whilst trying to take a photo or you’ll end up with a lot of people, who are as photographic as I am, in the shots. So to avoid having photos with people in them I try and photograph the smaller details or find a view point that is often over looked by everyone else.

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With these two shots (above and below) I wanted to process them in such a manner that they would have a 70’s or 80’s feel to the overall image. This is something that I was thinking about when I took the photos as well however I’m not sure that I have managed to achieve the look but I may let them sit for awhile and come back and have another look in a couple of weeks to see if I’m still happy with the result.

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Some times the smaller details are in the windows.

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There were quite a few people around this muscle car either taking photos with smart phones or DSLR cameras but I would say that most of them ended up with photos that had a lot of people in the way or in the background. I simply didn’t want that so I had to look harder to see what I could photograph. I spent a few extra minutes walking around the car I found that the GTR Badge with the thick black racing stripes which hopefully leads the viewers eye away from the badge towards the window making you see the other colours and more of the car.

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HOLDEN = Hope Our Luck Doesn’t End Now

Well that what I think of every time I see a Holden Badge.

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As young fella I had a Holden GTR Torana, It went like the wind and handled like it was on rails but every time I turned the engine over the police would turn up and book me for some thing, anything they could find which forced me off the road and ultimately to sell it. The police were happy about it, I wasn’t !

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Some of these hot rods or muscle cars have interesting signage on the doors and this sign is something that I wanted to photograph because of the originality of it and the likely innuendo that the sign writing implies.

The end result is a set of images that are all about cars showing the smaller details that are often over looked which in some cases the small details matter.

Happy Shooting