Posted on Jul.08, 2010, under Automobiles

(Nikon D700, 70-300mm at 112mm, ISO 250, Exposure 1/60 sec @f/11)

I like to take pictures of classic automobiles but dealing with lighting conditions that you can’t control, reflections of cars and people, etc. can make it difficult to get a nice final image. I like to focus on the details which make these cars so interesting and sometimes the reflections are really a distraction. In the image above, I actually liked the reflections. The picture shows a 1932 Packard Stationery Coupe on display at the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) show held at the Gilmore Car Musuem near Kalamazoo, Michigan. I took the shot primarily because I liked the way the reflections looked in the curve of the spare tire holder and other places on the car.

There is much debate among photographers about whether to get the image right ‘in camera’ or ‘fix it later’. My feeling has always been that for many images getting it right ‘in camera’ simply means getting the composition and exposure that will allow you to develop the image in later steps, whether that be in a wet darkroom or a digital darkroom. In the case of this image, I knew that I liked the reflections and when I saw the image I imagined more of a painting than a photograph. I had a good idea of the processing that I would use on this. In this case, I chose the Topaz Simplify filter. I looked at some of the presets including BuzSim, Painting – Oil and Painting – Watercolor and decided that the Watercolor came closest to what I had in mind. I tweaked some of the settings and saved the image. The original image was a bit washed out and I wanted a bit more color so I then applied a curves layer to give the image some more color and contrast. If you compare the completed image above to the raw image below, I think you will see the difference it made.

Watercolor - Raw

Someday, of course, I really should learn how to paint and create a real watercolor, but for now this will do.

As always, comments are welcome and encouraged.

Copyright © 2010 James W. Howe – All rights reserved.

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